What killed my hen?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JeaMar, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. JeaMar

    JeaMar New Egg

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    Oct 31, 2009
    I'm a newbie to this site, so please bare with me...

    About 4 years ago we moved to our current home on 2 1/2 acres and were given two bantam hens by friends. I think they are the Old English type. We never had chickens before, but we quickly fell in love with these two. They were cute and funny to watch and very social. Bought a prefab coop from a farm and feed store nearby and would let them out to peck around during the day, they would put themselves to bed at night and we would lock them in. Never a problem until this past spring when one of them died suddenly.

    We decided to get some Bantam chicks from farm and feed place. Not knowing what we had (hen or roosters) we think we ended up with 4 hens and one rooster. The rooster became very protective over the others and also was quite beautiful. At least two of new hens started laying in July and we typically got between 2 to 4 eggs every other day.

    Moved all of them into 10 x 10 chain link dog run and my husband built a new coop for them, complete with nesting boxes etc... Two hens, a white and a buff, would lay in the coop together and even in the same nesting box...They would lay eggs together and sit on them together.

    With the exception of the occasional black snake that would get in and raid eggs, we had no problems until this past week. I went out to feed and water them on Tuesday and our white hen had been killed and eaten right in the nesting coop. The only thing left of her was some feathers, her breast bone and her feet. There wasn't even blood in the coop...One egg had been smashed (or eaten) and one left intact. The other hens and our rooster didn't have a feather out of place, but were acting (understandably so) extremely nervous.

    Not knowing what we were dealing with and extremely upset over our loss we started searching the internet for clues and possible solutions to protect the rest of our little
    flock.

    We decided on an electric wire barrier to put around the enclosure and decided to set some live traps also. The hens and rooster wouldn't go back into the pen so we decided to leave them out for the night, as they were obviously "sitting ducks" in the enclosure until we could implement the barrier electric wire.

    On Thursday morning our rooster was nowhere to be found. We can only assume that whatever got our white hen was back and took him. Now we are REALLY MAD!!

    Set live traps last night, and this morning...nothing. Any ideas on what we might be dealing with? Oh, we also have a bunny in a hutch nearby the chicken pen and the first night it struck, her pen had been messed with also. (Wire bent, etc...)

    Any help will be appreciated, thanks!!
     
  2. twistedpickle

    twistedpickle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2009
    northfield
    Racoon or fox would be my guess, coons have thumbs and can move or even unlock latches. Bait a trap and shoot it, it will be back now that it has found food.
    good luck
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2009
  3. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    Unfortunately it could be numerous predators. Mink, skunk, fox, coon. Any kind of weasel can get into a chainlink fence. I hope you catch whatever it is and so sorry this happened to your birds.
     
  4. JeaMar

    JeaMar New Egg

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Just wanted to add an update to my post. We spent Saturday rigging the 10 x 10 run with electric wire barrier and did a pretty good job, I think...

    Borrowed 2 live traps from a neighbor and positioned them around the pen and baited them with bacon. First three nights, nothing...but last night trapped a pretty large possom.[​IMG]

    Since we really aren't sure what attacked our flock we are going to continue with the live traps for a least a few weeks to see what else we might get. It has been raining here for the past 3 days and they are predicting the rest of the week to be dry, so we may get more action with the traps as the predators get more active.

    Please advise if anyone can think of something else that may help. Thanks.
     

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