What is wrong with my coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by TPMemnoch, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. TPMemnoch

    TPMemnoch New Egg

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Ok, something is killing my chickens!
    We converted a 12'x12' horse stall to a coop, until we could build one. The stall is 3/4" plywood on the inside and outside - 2 layers. 4 layers of chicken wire over the doors, reinforced with wood strips. Around the outside, we have rocks piled 6" high and outwards from the walls to 2ft. Big rocks. Tin roofing with wire from the roof to the ground and buried 2" down.
    There are no holes in wire, nothing pulled down and no dug holes. I started with 12 - now I have 3. It was taking one at a time, until last night. It killed 6 - only ate one, tore 3 into pieces and the other two are just dead. I need help! What is wrong with my coop?
    It is in the horse pasture, next to the dog pen. The dogs are not barking and the horses are not reacting. We live in the suburbs and have never seen a raccoon, or anything like that. Any ideas on predator and reinforcing coop? TIA
     
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Quote:I have no idea. But CHICKEN WIRE only keeps chickens in, not predators out. Cover it with 1/2" or 1/4" hardware cloth if you want to keep predators from reaching into hen house.
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:What about above -- are there openings in the eaves? Are there places where something could go over top of the stall fronts or partitions? Across on rafters or trusses? Raccoons are EXCELLENT climbers.

    If the top of the pen is truly totally secure, I would expect it's a weasel, weasellin' in thru some gap you don't think is big enough. Weasels are pretty small, and VERY small-diameter.

    You might try borrowing/buying/renting two live-traps -- one raccoon sized, one weasel sized. Bait both with catfood or tuna, or bait the raccoon one with watermelon or marshmallows (which work wonders for raccoons). OUTside of the stall of course [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member

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    upstate SC
    Is there a way that something could pull or push open the stall door and squeeze through?
    I made 3 stalls into coops and though they are not up to my standards of predator proof this is one area I am trying to work on. I figure if I can pull or push it open a small amount then so can a possum or weasel.
    Go around top, middle and bottom of everything and push or pull. That is all I can suggest without photos to see your set up.
    Hope you get it fixed soon. Good luck!
     
  5. TPMemnoch

    TPMemnoch New Egg

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Thanks everyone!
    I think it has to be a weasel. Nothing big enough for a raccoon to get into. Eaves are covered, etc. Doors stout enough that the horses can't push them in or open a little bit.
    The only thing we can think of is that a weasel could slip up under one layer, go up to the next layer, etc.. The layers are not exactly even, so that might be it. I'm just sad over my chickens. One Americauna was so beautiful - looked sorta like an eagle.
    I had 4 of each king - Comets, Americauna and Barred Rock - now I only have one of each. It seems to be an equal opportunity scavenger!
     
  6. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most stalls have deep bedding. So i am thinking there may be a way they are tunneling up in there from outside.
    good luck
     
  7. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Quote:What about above -- are there openings in the eaves? Are there places where something could go over top of the stall fronts or partitions? Across on rafters or trusses? Raccoons are EXCELLENT climbers.

    If the top of the pen is truly totally secure, I would expect it's a weasel, weasellin' in thru some gap you don't think is big enough. Weasels are pretty small, and VERY small-diameter.

    You might try borrowing/buying/renting two live-traps -- one raccoon sized, one weasel sized. Bait both with catfood or tuna, or bait the raccoon one with watermelon or marshmallows (which work wonders for raccoons). OUTside of the stall of course [​IMG]

    Good luck,

    Pat

    I second this guess. They really can smush themselves through very tiny spaces.
     
  8. Emzyyy

    Emzyyy Runs with Deer

    Jul 14, 2008
    Derby Kansas
    could be a cat.
     
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm sorry about your losses. I think lesser weasels can get through a one inch gap. They are the smallest weasels. What size wire are you using?
     
  10. Rainman

    Rainman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Woodinville WA.
    Quote:I don't think so. Weasels don't kill like that, tearing the birds apart. A weasel would go for the head and neck and just drink the blood. They will kill all the birds to store them for later.

    You have a raccoon getting in somehow. Also weasel are less likely to be in suburbs. Racoons love living in the burbs where there is garbage, dog food and cat food left out.

    Set traps.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2008

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