What pulls a silkie under or through chainlink at 1am

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by outlawfarmer, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. outlawfarmer

    outlawfarmer Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    New Hampshire
    Lost a few this week and one has a broken wing/leg. Now at 1am I awaken to it crowing. Go out and it's half way under kennel edge and dead. Leaves crackle as predator left when I came outside. What is it, coon?

  2. Kyanite

    Kyanite Loving Life!

    May 27, 2016
    SE Idaho
    I'd say almost certainly a raccoon. Hardware cloth will prevent them from reaching through to grab chickens.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Hardware cloth will help but not stop all losses by itself. Raccoon can chew threw it as well just takes more effort. Get birds to roost so they are not in contact with sides of pen or the bottom. Consider putting something like a milk crate in center of coop for them to roost on.

    Them make certain raccoon can not force its way in.
  4. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Kennel? Sounds like chain-link fence and the predator is getting inside the run and pulling the chicken beneath the bottom edge of the fence. A 2x4 mesh welded wire apron might help if that is the case.

    Got a picture of your run/pen?


  5. The only predator that I know that will pull a chicken through a fence is a raccoon....so yeah, I'd say your guess is spot on.

    Here's a nice trick...

    Even if a predator is trap shy and will not enter a trap....a lot of times they will still go right up to the mouth of the trap, they just won't go in.

    If I think this is happening, but the ground is hard or there is too much leaf litter to allow me to check for sign, then I'll dig a shallow depression in front of the cage trap, right at the mouth, maybe 13 or 14 inches across and fill it with play sand. Any critter that comes by will leave their prints in that play sand. You'll get perfect animal tracks, and it's easy to erase, just smooth it out each day.

    This will work around the coop and run as well, when you are trying to figure out how the heck are they getting in...or what the heck is killing my chickens. Play sand at key locations will give you all need to identify the perpetrator.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  6. Howard E

    Howard E Songster

    Feb 18, 2016
    I like Rock's sand trick as a low cost, highly accurate method of keeping track of things.

    Another is to use a trail camera to help keep track of things that go bump in the night. I've had one setup ever since I moved my chicks from the brooder to the chicken house. That is about 6 or 7 weeks now. In all that time, I"ve had maybe 5 documented (photographed) visits from predators and all of them have been a raccoon. Maybe the same one.


    These photos are time and date stamped, so they were not taken the same night.

    Key here is this coon has not found a way inside the coop, which is pretty much bomb proof, with heavy hardware cloth at the window and a heavy wire apron perimeter all the way around. So he has had no success and doesn't stick around much. I'm also the only one in the neighborhood with birds, so most likely this coon has never tasted chicken, so at this point only remains curious. I'm doing all I can to make sure he stays that way. I could probably trap and kill him, but another would simply move in to take his place. Our neighborhood is infested with them.

    Have often wondered how it is that a coon can reach through a fence to nab a chicken. I may have got my answer the other day when our small house dog was out in the yard with the birds. I expected them to move away from it, but the opposite happened. They appeared to be curious and walked right up to it. They may do the same thing with a coon......who shows up to the window and says, "psssst......hey buddy....come here". And they do it!!

    In my case, the birds were sitting on their roost a good 10 feet away from this window, so no reaching in to nab them off the roost was possible. Often wonder if the reach in attacks occur if the roost bar or place where the birds bed down for the night is right by a screened window? Close enough to reach in? Just saying.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by