What is taking my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ClydesdaleSocks, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. ClydesdaleSocks

    ClydesdaleSocks In the Brooder

    Dec 17, 2013
    South Carolina
    We have lost 5 chickens in the last 2 weeks. :( We free range our chickens during the day and lock them up in the coop at night. The first two were out of our 15 week old pullet flock. They kept going into the woods and we lost 2. All we found were the feathers in the woods - a big circle of feathers, no blood, no body parts, only feathers. They were eaten in the middle of the day. The next two were out of the same flock - we were out of town, the farm sitter said 2 didn't come up. Then on Saturday came the biggest insult - one of our full grown Buff's got snatched at the coop (in the middle of an open yard, next to the barn) and eaten in the middle of the pasture...in the middle of the day. Again, all I found was the pile of feathers in the middle of the pasture - no blood, bones, or guts. I haven't seen anything and haven't caught anything on the game camera. I'm right now in the process of putting 2x4 wire around a 1.5 acre piece of our "backyard" and putting electrified smooth wire around the bottom of it. The chickens are currently (very unhappily) locked in their respective coops until the chicken yard goes up.

    So...what's been eating them? It blows my mind that they're getting eaten in the middle of the day. Is the chicken yard even going to help? If I still lose chickens once the fence goes up, I'll probably get a mini-donkey to put in there with the chickens. My full size donkey is too bonded with the horses to be moved apart from her herd.
  2. ChickenPox

    ChickenPox Songster

    Feb 2, 2011
    Middle GA
    Probably a dog.
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Probably fox or coyote. A fox can jump a very high fence too. A large hawk can carry off a chicken.


    Dog is a good possibility too.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2014
  4. nikolaj21

    nikolaj21 Hatching

    Aug 28, 2014
    Dog coyote fox pretty much any predator animal I would recommend setting up traps u will catch it sooner or later could be a very large snake
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I doubt a snake would leave a big circle of feathers.
  6. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Songster

    Jul 4, 2014
    My guess would be fox. They will stake out a site and wait for the right moment to attack. I lost several ducks and chickens to them and the only evidence they left were rings of feathers. The day I finally saw what it was was when I heard the commotion from the only hen I had left and found the fox standing at the edge of my pond looking at me and my poor solitary hen swimming with the ducks. I staked that little imp out two weeks before I finally got it. They're tricky and they don't care what time of day or night it is. .. especially when they have young to feed or food supplies are running low when is cold.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2014

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