What killed my baby chicks?

ChickenLittle5

Hatching
Mar 24, 2020
4
2
3
Hi all. I'm new here. My son recently got baby chicks to raise through 4H. The chicks were thriving, but last night something killed all of them. We had them in a plastic bin on a chair in our basement, so whatever killed them is in our house! My first thought was the dog got to them, but after seeing the evidence I don't think it was her. First, she is an inside dog and I haven't found any evidence outside the basement. Second, the bin was still on the chair and I think she would have knocked the bin down trying to get to them. She isn't tall enough to look inside but is definitely rambunctious enough to knock it over if she wanted to do so. Third, I think it would have been a game to her and we would have heard her barking. (She is a lab and I know she could easily kill the chicks, but I don't think it would be to eat them. I think it would be trying to play with them.) My second thought was RAT, but there aren't any rat droppings anywhere. What else feeds on baby chicks that might be inside my house? My son is very upset and wants more chicks, but I'm not getting any more until we know what got them, so it doesn't happen again. There were 6 carcasses on the floor around the brooder and the other 7 chicks are gone. Either something ate them whole or carried them off. (That is another reason I don't think it was my dog.) Am I CRAZY to think this wasn't my dog? We were careful not to let her follow the kids to the basement and in general, she doesn't try to hurt other animals although she loves to play with them and could hurt them because of her weight. She has been around 2 kittens and a duck (all grown now). She loves to play with all 3 but never tried to hurt them. What else might it be?
 

Annastin

Chirping
Feb 18, 2020
78
91
53
Hi all. I'm new here. My son recently got baby chicks to raise through 4H. The chicks were thriving, but last night something killed all of them. We had them in a plastic bin on a chair in our basement, so whatever killed them is in our house! My first thought was the dog got to them, but after seeing the evidence I don't think it was her. First, she is an inside dog and I haven't found any evidence outside the basement. Second, the bin was still on the chair and I think she would have knocked the bin down trying to get to them. She isn't tall enough to look inside but is definitely rambunctious enough to knock it over if she wanted to do so. Third, I think it would have been a game to her and we would have heard her barking. (She is a lab and I know she could easily kill the chicks, but I don't think it would be to eat them. I think it would be trying to play with them.) My second thought was RAT, but there aren't any rat droppings anywhere. What else feeds on baby chicks that might be inside my house? My son is very upset and wants more chicks, but I'm not getting any more until we know what got them, so it doesn't happen again. There were 6 carcasses on the floor around the brooder and the other 7 chicks are gone. Either something ate them whole or carried them off. (That is another reason I don't think it was my dog.) Am I CRAZY to think this wasn't my dog? We were careful not to let her follow the kids to the basement and in general, she doesn't try to hurt other animals although she loves to play with them and could hurt them because of her weight. She has been around 2 kittens and a duck (all grown now). She loves to play with all 3 but never tried to hurt them. What else might it be?
Do you know of any cats around that could have gotten them
 

Annastin

Chirping
Feb 18, 2020
78
91
53
No, the cats I mentioned stay at my mom‘s house. The carcasses left behind, do look like something a cat would leave.
See thats what I thought because a cat can easily take them without taking the box down. Are there any feral cats or cats around your nieborhood that could have gotten in?
 

Rooapalooza

Songster
Aug 7, 2019
339
1,335
192
Texas
Hi all. I'm new here. My son recently got baby chicks to raise through 4H. The chicks were thriving, but last night something killed all of them. We had them in a plastic bin on a chair in our basement, so whatever killed them is in our house! My first thought was the dog got to them, but after seeing the evidence I don't think it was her. First, she is an inside dog and I haven't found any evidence outside the basement. Second, the bin was still on the chair and I think she would have knocked the bin down trying to get to them. She isn't tall enough to look inside but is definitely rambunctious enough to knock it over if she wanted to do so. Third, I think it would have been a game to her and we would have heard her barking. (She is a lab and I know she could easily kill the chicks, but I don't think it would be to eat them. I think it would be trying to play with them.) My second thought was RAT, but there aren't any rat droppings anywhere. What else feeds on baby chicks that might be inside my house? My son is very upset and wants more chicks, but I'm not getting any more until we know what got them, so it doesn't happen again. There were 6 carcasses on the floor around the brooder and the other 7 chicks are gone. Either something ate them whole or carried them off. (That is another reason I don't think it was my dog.) Am I CRAZY to think this wasn't my dog? We were careful not to let her follow the kids to the basement and in general, she doesn't try to hurt other animals although she loves to play with them and could hurt them because of her weight. She has been around 2 kittens and a duck (all grown now). She loves to play with all 3 but never tried to hurt them. What else might it be?
Rats would be my guess. I think the best way to know would be to get more chicks, but this time put a solid grate over the tub with 1/2 or 1/4 in hardware cloth. Then set up a camera and see who comes around... they'll be back for sure. You could also set up a baby monitor so you can try to hear when something is down there messing with them.

Just make sure the hardware cloth is very secure!
 

Annastin

Chirping
Feb 18, 2020
78
91
53
Rats would be my guess. I think the best way to know would be to get more chicks, but this time put a solid grate over the tub with 1/2 or 1/4 in hardware cloth. Then set up a camera and see who comes around... they'll be back for sure. You could also set up a baby monitor so you can try to hear when something is down there messing with them.

Just make sure the hardware cloth is very secure!
I second that
 

twendt

Songster
Feb 23, 2019
625
1,974
186
SE Wisconsin
Were there visible injuries? Silly question, Did you have a warmer on them? Chicks need to be kept at 95°F. Hope you don't have Rats in your house 😱
 

ChickenLittle5

Hatching
Mar 24, 2020
4
2
3
Yes, there were gnarly injuries on the carcasses that remain. If you’re squeamish don’t read any further. Something gutted them and ate all the meat. Basically the feet, guts (strung out) and bones were left in the floor...but only for 6 of them. 7 disappeared without a trace.

We did have heat lamps on them. The chicks were thriving. My son would check on them at least 4 times a day...after breakfast, lunch, dinner & before bed. They were fine at 10:30 last night. I was up until 2AM and didn’t hear anything, but the floor is insulated so not sure baby chicks would be loud enough for me to hear.
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
6,923
13,411
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I wouldn't eliminate the dog as a possibility. Wouldn't eliminate rats either, though that would have to be a crazy amount of rats to do all of that. Is it possible that anything else could've gotten into the basement (i.e. you leave a window cracked open)?

Brooder should be covered at all times and the cover should be secure enough that it can't easily be knocked aside. Something like hardware cloth on a wood frame with weights should do it.

As a precaution I'd make sure to keep the dog out of the basement until the chicks are out of there.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom