"What killed my chicken?"


Pottery producing maniac
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 1, 2010
Southern Virginia
So I am looking around on byc and it occurs to me that I totally forgot to try and catch the silly leghorn that got out while I was filling the waterer. Understand that I used to go put up the chickens every night safe in their coops. But I don't have to any more because I quit letting them out. Let me see, first it was the dogs that ripped through the chicken wire on the tractor and killed all but two chickens. Then we had an unknown predator that tore a hole in the wire and stole a hen from the coop. We had another dog attack while we were on vacation. The guy looking after the goats called and said there were dead.chickens everywhere. I lost a barred rock hen to a hawk a month or so ago. It was in the far back pasture, so I quit letting those chickens out. Then recently I lost two more chickens to a hawk, one was still screaming as I saw it carried off. Now I get my hat with the built in light and my 38 special and go out at 1 am to look for the chicken. Understand , the livestock guardian dog is asleep under my truck in the driveway, where you cannot see any of the livestock .:p I walk into the chicken pasture i have named chicken city, due to the complex of runs and coops there. I start looking for the chicken, and i find it, dead on the ground, missing its head.
I figure since it is missing the head, it was probably a raccoon. Because a fox would just take the whole chicken, right ? I have been trying to get this raccoon for some time because I think this is the one that killed several of my chickens by grabbing their body parts through small slots in the coop. At first I thought the chickens were killing each other, but that is another story. Anyway, here I am in my pjs, shining the light up in the trees to try and find the culprit . No eye shine. But I hear something calling in the woods. It doesn't sound like a bird. Maybe the fox I saw in my backyard recently:eek:? Off I go into the woods toward the area I call the outback. I recently moved some of the goats out there because it was way overgrown. I am walking along, trying to be quiet and listen. Finally I see eye shine, lots of pairs of eyes staring at me. Phew, it is only the goats. The lone buckling in the herd is inside the goat shed. Smart lad. No predators in sight, but I know they are out there. The coyotes start howling in the distance. I head back to the garage for my drill. I wire the dead chicken to the inside roof of the live trap and set it on the ground nearby where the animal killed it. I leave a little space between the coop and the cage and set a leg hold trap there. I am pretty mad at myself for forgetting the chicken was out. I mean it is my fault it was out there to get eaten. I am just so tired of everything but me eating chicken! So I go in the garage to put away the drill, and there is a snake! It is apparently waiting for a mouse to run down the little board the runs along the inside of the garage wall. I call it the mouse highway, and I often put mouse traps there . I say to the snake, go for it. And I turned off the light.
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Sounds like you have enough bad guys around to look into electric fence. Does a great job of controling enemies and friends (just ask my billy goat who met it for the first time, nose first, and did a backflip,
he never challenged it again) If you can set up a perimeter that cannot be gone around, most critter will need only one lesson. The big secret to EF is the ground post need moisture to be truly effective, ie next to a water tank that sweat or leaks slightly. This will keep things away before they can challenge you construction and fence wire.

Then all you need is a netted run or some folks do well with shiny items suspended over the run.
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You might also have coyotes. we have had chickens go missing and a day or so later find their bodies with no head or wings. Usually when that happens a fox or coyote has killed it and taken it back fairely close to its den so that the pups can come and eat the loose parts of the body( the head, wings and crawl). Go with electric fence and some more foottraps bated with raw chicken livers and gizards. Even if you dont get the fox or coyote you will catch any problem critters that you may have.
OMG You have had some bad luck with chickens!!!
Maybe you should start raising pet rocks or something nobody wants to eat.

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