What the heck is killing my birds?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by docmarkc, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. docmarkc

    docmarkc Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    I was free ranging my 20 chickens with two roosters. One day I realized I was missing 8 of them! I assumed coyotes and I started closing them up at night in the coop. Then I found new soccer ball sized holes in the chicken wire and more missing birds.

    I replaced the bottom 3 feet with small-mesh plastic chicken fabric and no more holes, but I started finding dead birds in the coop yard about every three days.

    Last night I lost my last hen and now I have one rather confused looking rooster. I simply see no way for anything to get in to the coop yard at this point. It seems sealed up and any penetration would be visible somehow. What is getting to them?

    Here is a photo of the last body... You can see that the skin is eaten on the head and neck, but the rest of the body is intact

    Anyone have any ideas? I bought 20 new chicks that are almost ready to come out of the little boxes and go into the coop, but that would be pointless as I would just be feeding the preditor for a few weeks. I also am including a video from last week when I found a small tunnel UNDER a brick.

    I suppose I should mention that I live in Kitsap County in Western Washington...

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  2. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds like it could be a weasel do some research on what chickens look like when a weasel gets them. I would try to trap it. I have a hole in my coop too that looks a lot like yours but no dead chickens yet. I tried trapping out side the coop and just caught a cat. Tonight I'm going to set the trap right in the run in front of the hole and see if I get him.
    You should lock your remaining chickens inside the coop if you have a dirt floor I would cover it in hard ware wire. Good luck I hope you get him.
     
  3. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

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    Weasels will kill during the day and night. :(
     
  4. docmarkc

    docmarkc Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    My coop is inside a llama pasture with 11 llamas roaming around. I'm not sure where to place a trap or what kind of trap to use. A leg trap would get tripped by a llama, and wouldn't a live animal trap be ignored by such a creature?
     
  5. docmarkc

    docmarkc Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    I'm thinking of constructing some weasel boxes with rat traps in them... Maybe I can actually put them in the coop and the chicken (Just the one now!) won't set it off.
     
  6. AAJ

    AAJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know much about weasels, but it also could be a snake.
     
  7. AAJ

    AAJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 21, 2011
    Maybe an oppossum.
     
  8. Suzierd

    Suzierd Overrun With Chickens

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    Weasels can be caught in live traps with fresh meat as bait. Can you set the trap inside the run near his hole and lock the rooster up in the coop. Hopefully you catch him tonight.
     
  9. docmarkc

    docmarkc Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 15, 2012
    I doubt a snake would eat the skin off of a chicken's head and leave the rest of it intact.
     
  10. docmarkc

    docmarkc Out Of The Brooder

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    Well I just happen to have a live trap that I have set up several times with chicken liver as bait. Mostly it has been ignored, but a few times bait has disappeared. What I just did was to stuff the latest dead chicken into the trap and locked the rooster in the hen house. There is no way the dead bird can be dragged out without setting off the trap, so cross my fingers.
     

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