what is wiping my flock out?! only comes at night...every night!

chicken fever

7 Years
Jan 30, 2012
dallas, tx
So my coop is sealed completely...I've quadruple checked and no holes! I've lost half my flock to this predator...it kills n the middle of night, eats the head and innerds, leaves the meat and feathers. Occasionally will find them dismembered but not often. It appears to be reaching up into the coop thru the wires grabbing and then trying to pull them out but can't. Most LF cochins gone and one of my beloved isbar hens! I'm ready to bring out the big guns and get this predator.Putting up a deer cam tonight and sitting watch too. What do yall think it is?
I think you would be better off to go to the store and purchase either hardware cloth 1/2" x 1/2" or smaller or the plastic garden fencing that looks sorta like chicken wire and put it over the wire you have now. It sounds like a coon and you need to have the holes in your fencing too small for it to get its "hands" through. Once you do that your problem goes away. You need to at least put the extra layer at the bottom 3' of the run and anywhere your roosts are close to the fencing. You can kill the coon, but that will only work until the next one comes, the fencing is a permanent fix if done right. The plastic fencing is cheap, but you have to attach it securely so they can't just rip it away. I've even used snow fence, anything that makes it impossible for them to reach through.
Raccoon most likely critter. Upgrade coop material as indicated. Additionally make so birds roost at 12 inches away from where predator might try to reach through. Also, if possible, sleep with window open near coop, and have flashlite handy to see and deal with predator. I also use a light rifle to shoot but have also used ball bat to at least give critter bad experience.
I've put them in the coop in crates in center of coop for tonight. We r in the process of building a 18' x12' coop with runs etc. I've heard that skunks eat the heads as well but I don't think it could have pulled them off their roost from 5' high. Thx guys for the advice! Putting a deer cam out tonight also to see what I'm dealing with!
try a steel leg trap.....burry it so that it sets level with the ground and sprinkle a light layer of pine needles or what ever. the key is placement good luck
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Sounds like a Weasel to me.

Had them, sometimes can kill 5 or 6 birds in a night

Weasels are very determined animals that can get through tiny cracks, I have seen them chew through plywood over several days to gain access to a coop. You need to build a special trap for catching them. A simple pine box with a hole at one end and vent holes at the other. You place a rat trap inside. Very effective when baited with the remains of chicken, or entrails.

There are plenty of designs to copy if you google trapping ermines, weasels

good luck,

Minks. A few years ago the same thing happened to our chickens. They rip off their heads and line up their corpses. My husband shot them but not before most of them were killed. He added a finer fence all around the bottom of the coop and so far we have had no more problems. As you can see, this critter(s) was caught during daylight. Don't pay attention to the date on the photo, it was in February - thumb area in MI.


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