What type of predator could have caused this? :(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by shbouton, Oct 19, 2019.

  1. shbouton

    shbouton Chirping

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    Good afternoon all,

    It is with great, great sadness that I write this post. I lost 8 of my 13 pet banties to a predator a couple of days/nights ago and I am still boohooing. Something got into what we thought were coops that were basically impenetrable. We had lost chickens to hawks before because we were free ranging and to the heat (we live in Florida) but have never lost a chicken to anything other than that.

    We started chicken keeping about 5 years ago and other than the hawk attacks and one raccoon encounter (we had forgotten to take the food out of the pen at night so it wasn't actually after the chickens) we have had absolutely no attempts on either of our coops even though we are surrounded by woods. When we stopped free ranging so that we could protect our flocks from hawk attacks during the day, we researched coops and from the very beginning didn't make the mistakes that folks usually make starting out and have therefore been able to keep our girls safe at night from day one. Frankly, we built the bigger coop with better siding than what is currently on our house! Until now...

    Attached are some pictures of what happened... It appears to have happened somewhere between 2 and 5 am. There were a couple of dead chickens in the coop, several outside of the coop but in the pen and several scattered outside of the pen. And one that had been attacked walking around stunned and with a severe bite mark on her back. I'm trying to save her. The funny thing is, none of them had any signs of obvious trauma, although I was so distraught I never looked under their feathers before I buried them, except for the one that survived and one that was half eaten, abdomen/breast area only, the furthest one away from the coop in the yard.

    Now here is the caveat, when my dog alerted from inside the house, I opened the door to let him out and there was a husky standing in the yard accompanied by about a 40 - 50 pound black and white lab mix (my yard is surrounded by picket and farm fence but they were somehow able to open the gate to come into my yard). They were not in either pen when I escorted them out of my yard and walked back around with a flashlight, everything looked in order so here is my hypothesis. It was a fox or a coyote and the commotion drew the dogs to our yard so at this point I am holding them harmless as I just cannot believe that a dog would go in and out of that hole, the big one certainly would not have fit and the smaller one would have had to perform some kind of circus act to balance on the fence and literally chew through what was hardware cloth bolted to the coop and go in and out with chickens.

    Oh and I forgot to mention that whatever it was did get into by big coop run area, he just lifted the chicken wire and walked in and proceeded to start biting apart the hardware cloth on the door along with the wood slat across the middle of the door. I don't have pictures of the damage to the big coop but I did attach picture of the coop itself. Thankfully it did not get to the big girls in that coop.

    Also, until today, we have had a severe drought for a couple of months and it looks like whatever it was must have been starving.

    So my guess is fox/coyote... Certainly it wasn't a dog right? Oh and we found a clump of semi coarse white hair (pic attached) on the chicken wire but no scat or tracks...

    I am just so devastated and don't know what else we could have done. :( I've lost 15 chickens, including the 8 a couple a days ago, over the 5 years, all to predators and each time has been heartbreaking since I make them pets but this is especially so since we thought we had them fully protected.

    All thoughts/comments are appreciated!
    Chicken Coop.jpg Chicken Coop II.jpg Big Coop.jpg Big Coop II.jpg Hair or Fur.jpg
     
  2. ValerieJ

    ValerieJ Crossing the Road

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    Do you have raccoons in your area?
     
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  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    Every one has raccoons. Especially Florida. That is their native range.
     
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  4. FathertoFeathers

    FathertoFeathers Songster

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    I hate to say it but it looks like the dogs are the culprit. I have seen dogs pull off the hardwire cloth to get to the chickens. Im very sorry for your loss.
     
  5. shbouton

    shbouton Chirping

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Yes
     
  6. shbouton

    shbouton Chirping

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Truth
     
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  7. penny1960

    penny1960 Yippy Do Da, Yipptye Ay!

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    Have to agree most likely dog but larger or momma coon
     
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  8. shbouton

    shbouton Chirping

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    Mar 22, 2015
    Thank you so much. :hugs
     
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  9. shbouton

    shbouton Chirping

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    Mar 22, 2015
    :(
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

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    I believe it was the dogs. A raccoon wouldn't need a hole that big to get inside.
    When the dogs broke in, the chickens flew the coop. The dogs didn't have to go in and out with a chicken each time. Dogs love to chase those flappy feathered toys.
    After raccoons and mink, dogs have been my worst predator. A neighbor's huskies have attacked multiple times and killed lots of my birds. That looks like husky fur.
    I went out one day and a husky was lunging at the hardware cloth covered window but it was 1/2" hardware cloth well secured he couldn't break through. If I hadn't secured it like I did, he would have done the same kind of damage you had and he would have been inside killing.
    What makes you want to blame a fox or coyote rather than a dog?
    That doesn't look like any hardware cloth I've used. It looks more like chicken wire.
    If it happened here, those dogs would be at animal control right now or shot. If animal control doesn't get involved, there is no paper trail and if it happens again, they'll get another 'get out of jail free' card. I've sent 7 dogs to animal control causing the owner to bail them out of jail and get a 'dog at large' ticket.
     

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