What killed my chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Robbie, Sep 28, 2007.

  1. Robbie

    Robbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    17
    0
    75
    Sep 28, 2007
    Last May I became a chicken owner when I successfully hatched two silkie chicks with my third grade class. In July I increased my flock to six with the addition of four mail ordered silkie chicks. While I was raising the chicks indoors and after I moved my wonderful pets outside to their new home I constantly read information on this site. I read everything I could on preditor proofing and I thought I had made my pen as sound as Fort Knox. This morning my nine year-old came running to me as I was about to leave for school. Something had gotten into the pen during the night and had eaten the head off of one of the younger chickens. He was devistated. There were no holes dug under the fence (wire is underneath). The chicken was found underneath the chicken coop. What preditor could have done this? I really need your help. You guys all know what I'm talking about. These pets are like family.
     
  2. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    6,026
    16
    263
    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    I've seen that happen around here, to a friend of mine's chickens. He kept saying it was probably a mink, but I'm doubtful of that one.

    A quick search of the 'net and it shows birds of prey and raccoons to be the culprit of missing heads.

    All they need is for the chicken to poke it's head through the wire mesh of it's coop.
     
  3. Rooster01

    Rooster01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    274
    0
    139
    Feb 25, 2007
    Southern WV
    Probably a raccoon. I've had them just eat the heads off several hens and kill the rest.
     
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Raccoon...
    Their MO is to take heads.
    I lost my EE Tom from a raccoon attack.
    Raccoons can climb really well especially when there's a PO'd heartbroken chicken momma chasing them up the tree.
    Sorry for your loss.
     
  5. Lilychick

    Lilychick Out Of The Brooder

    92
    0
    29
    Sep 25, 2007
    MA
    This happened to us back in June. Everyone around here said Racoon. I think this one stuck his little head out of the hole in the cage he was in. The other two were fine. I'm so sorry your son had to find it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2007
  6. Robbie

    Robbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    17
    0
    75
    Sep 28, 2007
    Thanks for all your replies. The only thing that puzzles me about the racoon is that I put chicken wire around the bottom 2 ft. of the pen just as many on this site suggested so that their little heads couldn't fit through. I really don't think that we have mink here in West Tennessee and wouldn't one leave a lingering odor like a skunk? Tonight I will put all the chickens safely in my garage and put flour around the perimeter of the pen and an open can of tuna inside the pen as I read about once before on this site. Again, thanks for the help. When going to war it's best to know who the enemy is!
     
  7. TxChiknRanchers

    TxChiknRanchers Chillin' With My Peeps

    990
    4
    151
    Aug 18, 2007
    Southeast Texas
    Quote:Sorry, but chicks heads will stick through 1"chicken wire. mine do it all the time. You have to go to 1/2 " hardwarecloth to stop the head through the wire thing.
     
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    7,008
    22
    261
    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Coons and possums can climb right over your fence. and if there is a tree with overhanging branches near your pen they will climb it and drop in off the branch.
     
  9. Robbie

    Robbie Chillin' With My Peeps

    17
    0
    75
    Sep 28, 2007
    My pen is one of those dog pens from Tractor Supply Company and my dad built me a wooden roof on top of it. I don't see anything coming in from the top. I guess I messed up thinking that the chicken wire was small enough. Silkies are so small anyway . . .
     
  10. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    That's how we learn sometimes...chicken wire is good for keeping chickens in, but nothing else out.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by