What predator is killing my chicks and chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MisfitMarie, Aug 28, 2016.

  1. MisfitMarie

    MisfitMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 20, 2014
    Portland, OR
    I went outside today to find the legs of my bantam d'Uccle rooster sticking out from under the back deck. It was hard to pull the body back out onto the grass to investigate, and it was clear that something had attempted to pull him under the deck.

    Upon further inspection, his neck has been lacerated/broken and the entire chest cavity has been eaten out.

    I'm at my wit's end... after losing an entire clutch of chicks and now a rooster in a matter of days.

    These attacks are taking place in broad daylight, and whatever is hunting seems to be getting smarter. I would go out every morning and feed and water... and all baby chicks would be present. I would go back outside mid-day and one chick would be missing... then, a few days later, two chicks would go mysteriously missing. Strangely, roughly five days later, the last three chicks went missing... always in the middle of the day.

    I've searched everywhere for feathers, bodies, etc... signs of anything, to no avail. And then today, my little bantam was found under the deck. He was alive last night, the wounds look very fresh.

    Due to the attacks happening in the middle of the day, I thought I was dealing with hawks. Now, I'm not so sure.

    All chickens are now confined to the run (I have a fenced backyard in a super urban area that still luckily allows roosters).

    I am leaving on a trip today and will be gone for five days... hoping I don't come back to further losses.

    Any idea on what daylight killer I am hunting down now? Again,neck was clearly broken and lacerated... entire chest region was eaten out, but nothing else. Everything else was in tact.

    Please help! Trying to think of some last-minute steps before leaving. I have enough time to hang the feeder & water inside the coop and reinforce a little bit. Run is entirely made of chicken wire.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
  2. Millworker26

    Millworker26 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 25, 2016
    SE PA
    Really sorry to hear about this. Do you have a maximum security pen you can put the birds in until you figure things out?
  3. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 2, 2016
    Mobile, AL
    Sounds like a raccoon by the way it drug one under the porch to eat it. They will hunt during day, especially in urban areas.
    Could also be a house cat.

    Have you set a trap yet? If not, get one ASAP.
    Bait it with dry catfood and marshmallows.
  4. Howard E

    Howard E Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2016
    Sounds to me like you have done all you can do given the time frame and circumstances. Keeping them locked up will help, but chicken wire is not much more than a bluff to a determined predator. Hoping for the best for you.

    Do you have a trail camera? If not, you have time to order one and have it arrive by the time you get back. It need not be expensive. I have seen perfectly good ones on Ebay for under $30. A trail camera will go a long ways towards finding out what it is and then dealing with it.

    Daytime and one bird at a time is a good clue. Perhaps an adult raccoon, but a fox or coyote might do that too. Seasons change and so do predator behaviors. You could be dealing with a weaned youngster by now. Whatever it is doesn't know it is doing harm......it just knows your place is easy pickins and tasty to boot.

    Ultimate solution for you (and almost everyone else) is a tight coop / run at ground zero to thwart any and all attempts and electric fence at the perimeter to discourage them from getting that close to try. Right now, what is stopping them? My guess is nothing. If so, and you are a hungry varmint in search of an easy meal, why not? As far as they know, you set the table just for them.
  5. caw555

    caw555 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 21, 2016
    New Zealand
    Probably is a falcon because I have a falcon and I've seen it come down on a cat and break its neck and the breast is the easiest place for a falcon to get at.[​IMG][​IMG]
  6. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 26, 2015
    Predatory birds would not drag prey under a deck. If the initial wound is under a wing, it's probably a weasel. After that, maybe housecat or coon. Maybe a bobcat?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
    1 person likes this.

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