What killed my chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by nrouin, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. nrouin

    nrouin New Egg

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    Nov 25, 2013
    Hi,
    We have lost 3 of our birds in a week. Our first rooster (Silkie)was rescued as he was being dragged by opossums. However, he died soon after. Soon after, we captured 4 opossums and one cat. Today I found my rooster ( Polish)dead in the coop, bloody but head intact. Does not look like he was eaten either. However, the second polish hen completely disappeared. I put both inside the coop last night but lost both today. Please note the following about the coop. Any information provided will helpful.
    1. The coop is built 3-4 feet above the ground.
    2. The coop plus the run is enclosed with deer resistant wire from the top so birds cannot attack.
    3. From the sides it is enclosed with chicken wire plus hardware cloth.
    4. The way to enter the coop to get to the chickens is by opening the chicken gate/latches or by walking into the coop via a door. One can call it a walk in coop.

    I am assuming it was a opposum or a raccoon but are the strong enough to carry their prey. Our hen's feathers were found behind the fence of our house about 8-10 feet away. So, the predator would have had to drag the hen down the coop, then completely out of the coop and then over the fence. We made sure there was no way for the hens to be dragged between the fence and outside.

    No paw prints/tracks as it has been raining here in Austin, Tx for a few days and all evidence has been washed away.

    We have not caught anything in the cage since yesterday.

    Thanks for all your help.
    Nas
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Both are easily strong enough to carry a bird off that size. Raccoons are probably the strongest animals pound for pound
    They can squeeze through incredibly small holes and once in are ferocious.
     
  3. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Was the coop door found open? Is the coop totally protected with hardware cloth? Was there damage to the structure?

    Raccoons can open single function latches with ease. Wire mesh with openings much larger than 1/2" hardware cloth can allow small predators on the order of martins and weasels inside.

    After you captured and destroyed the opossums, did you continue to keep the trap operating for some time afterward to clean up the population?

    Chris
     

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