WHAT KILLED OUR CHICKENS

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by riversinn, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. riversinn

    riversinn New Egg

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    LEFT TOWN FOR ONE NIGHT AND CAME HOME TO DISASTOR. OUT OF 13 CHICKENS THERE WERE THREE ALIVE, 2 MISSING AND 8 DEAD IN THE OUTDOOR RUN AREA. COULD NOT SEE ANY OBVIOUS SIGNS OF ATTACK BUT APPEARED TO BE NECK FEATHERS IN SEVERAL AREAS LIKE THEY HAD BEEN KILLED THERE. WE DO NOT HAVE WEASELS BUT THERE MAY BE RACOONS IN THE AREA WE LIVE ALTHOUGH I PERSONALLY HAVE NOT SEEN ANY IN 12 YEARS. WE HAVE HAD THE BIRDS SINCE MARCH AND MY DAUGHTER IS DEVISTATED.

    BEFORE WE GET ANY MORE I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW TO PREVENT THIS AGAIN BUT WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT IT WAS NOT SURE WHAT TO DO. THE RANGE AREA HAS A 4.5' FENCE AND COOP ATTACHED THAT WE DO NOT SHUT THE DOOR TO AT NIGHT SO IT IS POSSIBLE THEY WERE CHASED OUT BUT I DID NOT SEE ANY SIGNS OF BIRDS KILLED IN THE COOP SO IT APPEARED IT HAPPENED AFTER THEY CAME OUTSIDE.

    ANY SUGGESTIONS AND HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

    THANK YOU!:
     
  2. SterlingAcres

    SterlingAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 17, 2008
    Poconos, PA
    Firstly, sorry for your loss, but welcome to BYC.

    Without knowing what it was, I'd say turn your run into Fort Knox. Make sure there's at least a few solid corners the birds can run to without being able to be reached (by a raccoon).

    I'm sure someone else has better suggestions, they'll be along shortly.
    Good luck!
     
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

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    Hi and Welcome to BYC! Glad you found us. I just wanted to mention that using all caps when typing is like yelling on a forum so you might want to switch to lower case letters.

    You are right, it's almost impossible to know what killed you chickens with that little to go on. I am so sorry for you loss. I hope the missing ones show up, they could be hiding somewhere.

    I would certainly encourage you to lock up the chickens securely every night in the chicken house. Since most predators do come out at night you are most likely to lose your birds after dusk and before sun up. If the chickens are locked up during that time it really cuts down on predator losses.

    Without knowing what types of predators live in your area it would only be guessing as to what got them. Some possibilities ... raccoons, fox, dogs, coyotes and weasel. (I was positive we didn't have weasels here also... then my cat brought home a baby weasel!) We were shocked as we'd never before or since seen any signs that they live around here.)

    Good luck with getting things more predator proof. Post pictures of your set up if you want and people here will help you find the weak spots.
     
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    Welcome to BYC. I am very sorry you lost so many of your flock.

    Is your run top covered or open? Check your run fences for weak places.

    A run and hen house need to built like Fort Knox to keep predators out. Dug in wire and covered tops. Chickens closed up safe and secure at night.

    Any number of things could have gotten in - possums, raccoons, skunks, miks, etc. Once they learn where a free chicken dinner is they won't stop until there is no chicken left for them to eat.

    I understand you are upset but typing is caps is like screaming at us and it is hard to read. Please try not to type an entire post in all caps.
     
  5. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    Welcome. Yes, sorry for your loss. ShellieESterling is right on the money: Ft. Knox (chook). There is a LOT of information about predator proofing on this site. The search function is very good. Don't give up, lots of folks here have had similar experiences.
     
  6. dixygirl

    dixygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 14, 2008
    Hello Riversinn,
    Hearing about this slaughter and devastation just makes me want to cry. [​IMG]
    Maybe start by closing the door to the coop in the early evening. I have mine accustomed to me coming and saying "Good night" before 7pm. When I come they now just go on inside on their own and bunker up for the night. Then I latch the door securely.

    I also have my coop inside the run and the run has either a net roof or better fence roof also. That way if something breaks into the closed run, it still has to break into their closed coop too to get to them.

    Even with all that there could possibly still be an accident but at least it makes it more difficult for danger to reach them. Let us know how you tighten things up.

    Good luck

    Oh i forgot... Welcome [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  7. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    First off, sorry for your loss and I am glad you found BYC, lots of knowledge (usually omitting mine) in these pages. From my own experience you will find a lot of support.
    It is Sooo sad that your DD is so hurt. [​IMG]

    WE DO NOT HAVE WEASELS BUT THERE MAY BE RACOONS IN THE AREA WE LIVE ALTHOUGH I PERSONALLY HAVE NOT SEEN ANY IN 12 YEARS. WE HAVE HAD THE BIRDS SINCE MARCH AND MY DAUGHTER IS DEVISTATED.

    Where do you live that you do not have weasles? Just because you do not see an animal, does not mean they are not thriving in your area. Neck and head wounds are generally varmit, Rat, martin, mink ....so many preditors out there. Begin closing your girls in at night. Open doors without preditors mean flying bugs that suck blood can get in. Don't all area's have these things??? Now you have me nosey at where your from.​
     
  8. riversinn

    riversinn New Egg

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    Jul 30, 2008
    Okay... Sorry for the "all caps". Just was not paying attention I guess. I live in Wenatchee, Washington close to the Columbia river and basically in town. The coop and run is on the back side of my barn next to a fairly busy road. Although I did see some small patches of small feathers in areas of the run (maybe neck?) I did not find any obvious signs of attack on any of the eight remaining chickens. None were beheaded. Inside the coop I did not see anything at all.

    I am suspecting raccoons but surprised I did not see obvious injuries to the necks of the eight dead birds. Weird? I suppose there must have been more then one to kill 8 and haul of two more

    My daughter is doing better, thank you. She is trying to give extra attention to the three left (araucana and RI hens, bantee rooster). We set a live trap near their run in hope of catching the culprit(s) in it. In Washington, state law requires any captured raccoon in a live trap must be exterminated so if we catch em we can solve the problem.

    Thanks again for all the input!
     
  9. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Riversinn

    Sorry to hear about you loss and glad to hear your daughter is doing fine.

    You must lock those chickens up in a secure coop every night or the three you have will not last long.

    When you leave town even for one night arrangements should be made with someone to come over and lock up the coop.

    Even in city/suburban environments there are many things that will make a meal out of chickens.

    One of the disadvatages of owning poultry is that every day we have to be vigilant in protecting our flock. We have all learned the hard way that the one night we forget or the one night we are just too tired or lazy to go out and lock up the coop is the night the neighborhood racoon or possum will see the open sign at the local KFC.
     
  10. ncgnance

    ncgnance Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Certainly sounds like a weasel. Raccoon would carry them off, possum would eat the craw, dog would tear them up, owl would take the head off. And weasels can get in a very small space. No sign of a struggle with a weasel, either. Sorry for your loss, and welcome to BYC.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008

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