What is killing my chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Rechellef, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Rechellef

    Rechellef Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 28, 2011
    I have had a pretty good run without predators until just about a week ago. First, my favorite black silkie hen, Beauty went missing (she was so sweet and a good layer too). I figured, since there was no trace that it was a hawk or owl. Then a couple of nights later, a young black Ameracauna roo was taken (I found him decapitated with some meat and innard missing), and then a couple of nights after that, another Silkie hen just dissapeared. I discovered that something was burrowing under my coop which is a very small 3" space. Today, I found my Great Pyrenese digging under the coop and managed to find the feet and wings of my deceased birds. In addition, something is eating my ducks' eggs right before I get out there to milk my goats. I assume it is the same predator, but I am baffled as to what it could be. It completely leaves the larger poultry alone (Peking ducks, turkeys and non-banty hens), so I assume it's something on the small side and something that burrows. I am thinking a skunk or rat, but could a rat take a banty out? What should I do to eliminate this pesky predator? I have gone almost a full year without anyone getting eaten and now in one week, I have lost 3 birds. Since the space under the coop is so small I was thinking of leaving some poison under there since nothing on my farm can fit.
  2. Woodcox Acre

    Woodcox Acre Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 18, 2011
    A Mt. Valley in Utah
    Is there no way to lock your birds in at night? That would be my first thought. Do you have racoons in the area? It kinda sounds like a racoons actions. I sure hope you can get the cridder. Maybe you could try a live trap. We cought two racoons at different times in our trap. My neighbor had lost two of he hens to a large racoon a bit earlier, thats why we put our trap out. It would be so sad to loose yjour hens. Good luck with the problem [​IMG]
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    Put hardware cloth over the bottom edge of the coop letting it run outward to form an apron of a foot to 18". That will eliminate the digging under and protect the birds at night. Am I reading this correct that the sides of the coop do not go all the way to the ground?
  4. Gargoyle

    Gargoyle Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 13, 2011
    Fox Valley, IL
    My Coop
    I'm sorry about your losses. A weasel or raccoon could be doing that. I agree with the previous comments- hardware cloth around the edge of the coop (dig down into the ground and bury it if you can) and close the birds inside a house at night.
  5. Rechellef

    Rechellef Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 28, 2011
    Quote:The sides of the coop are completely enclosed and the coop has a cement board floor, but the birds that were killed were not in the coop and were not the type that roosted. Specifically, they would sleep on the floor of a stall in my goat shed. I have hens that roost in there that are not bothered and whatever it is is a digger and not a climber. The first night I forgot to close the exterior stall door. The second night, the critter borrowed UNDER the inner stall door (it has an interior door so I can house two goats with kids if I had to) and the last killing was because one unlucky hen didn't go into the coop. I now find myself scooping up two Silkie hens and one young Ameracauna pullet each night and placing them in the coop.

    If it were a coon, wouldn't they kill the ducks too (my ducks won't go inside the coop) and because they are climbers, wouldn't they have just climbed the stall door and not dug?
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi rechelief, and welcome to BYC. I am sorry to hear about your hens, I recently lost my bantam cochins to a(probable)weasel. If you don't shut your remaining birds up at night, you wil probable loose more now that the smorgasboard has been found.

    Hopefully you will not resort to poison, as you have many animals around that, no matter how careful you are, could be killed if they got hold of it. Also, predators such a weasels do not eat grain-type poisons.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Set a live trap where predator has been catching birds using a body as bait. Odds high you will catch critter.
  8. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I agree with setting a trap.I just got my 14th coon and 11th possum this week and I only baited with apples! I keep my trap set since I bought it back in July.
  9. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    South Central PA
    You'd probably smell skunk if you had one of those. I'm guess a weasel or something of that nature.
  10. Rileysixchix

    Rileysixchix Chillin' With My Peeps

    foxes can fit into suprisingly small spaces and kill for the kill. sometimes for food but often times to kill and that is probably why you would find the poor roo decapitated and not missing in his entirety. if you see any foot prints post a pic or if you smell skunk that could be a fox's urine or an actual skunk. keep us updated if anything happens and im terribly sorry for your losses [​IMG]

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