What would do this kind of damage? UPDATE POST #65!

Coop de Grille

12 Years
Apr 24, 2010
South Carolina
I have something stalking my chickens. My dog has been freaking out the last three nights at 2 am. She barks and stares at something by my chicken coop. I'm surrounded by woods so it could be anything. I have a security camera out by my babies so I can see them but I haven't been able to see anything due to the darkness. BUT, I can hear something walking around on the audio. I'm getting a game cam for xmas, but I don't have it yet.

Today I came home from work and noticed this damage to the hardware cloth on the front of the coop, right where my baby pen is located. My first thought was a dog, but there is no attempt at digging. I have a skirt of hardware cloth that goes out 2 ft on the ground, but no dig marks.

This section in the front with the dog house is my brooding area. The ripped hardware cloth is in the front, to the right of where that chair is in the picture. My babies are in that front 5x10 area. I did not see any damage to the other runs.

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I'd move the chair away first. You don't want to give a critter an easy way to jump in. I'd say it's a small critter by the shape of the bent wire so you're probably talking about something like a skunk, possum or dog. Foxes and raccoons will usually dig a bit. Raccoons can climb real good. They're very persistent once they smell and locate food. They'll come back and try again. You could try several things to tighten up your pen - heavy timbers or landscaping timbers around the bottom and stapled to the wire. Cement blocks would be too heavy for a critter to move. Reinforce the wire around that portion of the pen with a smaller and heavier grade hardware cloth. More posts. Things like that. The more your dog patrols around the area, the better. Sometimes the dog smell will help deter predators. Step just outside the door at night and make a lot of noise! A humane trap is the best way to go but you may have to relocate what you catch. There's tips somewhere in this thread on what to bait a trap with. Hope it doesn't get your chickens, whatever it is!
That last picture is from when we were still building the runs, the chair is long gone lol..I also do have heavy cement blocks on top of the hardware cloth that is on the ground, you can see it in the pics. I'm going to see if I can get one of those traps this weekend, I don't want anything getting inside and eating my babies.

I also noticed on the back side of the run, in two places, the hardware cloth is pulled off and the cable ties that held them to the pen (dog pen fencing) are snapped. So, what ever is around, it's not giving up.
I placed motion detectors around the coop. I am using the Chamberlain driveway alarm system. You can have up to 8 detectors with the one base unit and it has different number of rings for each detector, so I even have my driveways covered for vehicles. For the predators, keep them low to the ground. They work great, when a unwelcome guest comes, it wakes me up and Mr. Mossburg goes to work, and then I have roast coon the next day (in the bon fire) I don't consume them.
I broke down and bought a game cam today. My dogs have been going nuts in the middle of night. When I let the one out she goes immediately by my coop. I couldn't wait til xmas so I got the cams (2 of them, but one is DOA!) and will check the SD card tomorrow AM to see if anything is on there.
The game cam I bought yesterday is a piece of junk. I'm returning it for a better one with the features I really want. Price was right on this one, but it's too slow at capturing anything.
There was a thread on here about recommendations for game cams. I can't remember exactly where I read about the different cams but I got the Bushnell 8 and it's a piece of junk! Seems a lot of people were using one of the Moultrie's. Maybe if you did a search you could find the thread ...I believe I saw it here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/438535/post-your-game-cam-pics-here/1390#post_9950610
That will take you to the last post or so but I'm quite sure that BYC members have talked about their game cams throughout. I hope I'm not too late!

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