What's eating my chickens?!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Peony7, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. Peony7

    Peony7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Help. Not really sure how but something is getting into my pretty secure chicken run for the last two nights and completely eating ONE chicken each night. To the bone. No other chicken is hurt or even seems flustered. We've had racoons before but they destroy many birds and don't seem to be as thorough eaters of the carcass. Preceding these incidents we lost two birds (one a night) when each of them had their heads mangled. We have a neighbor with a family of opossum living under his shed so I figured that was from them reaching through the hurricane fence. Maybe it's the opossum getting in someplace?
    So we did a big reinforcement of the run, it's totally enclosed with netting over the top and no place more than 6" unsecured, 1/2" wire running around most of it, hurricane fence along the back (another neighbors yard). We went all around the run and can't find any entry points, footprints or anything. Someone suggested rats, but I can't believe they would eat the carcass so completely and how would they kill the 8lb. meat bird in the first place? Have no idea what else it could be, other than the opossum, and if so, how do I keep them out? Not sure what to do at this point. Just really frustrated and sad.
    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. April Petroski

    April Petroski Out Of The Brooder

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    Do you have a live trap you can set outside the run with some either wet cat or dog food or kitchen meat scraps?
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Overrun With Chickens

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    Excellent Idea that you beat me to it... No hard feelings [​IMG]

    And [​IMG]
     
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  4. Peony7

    Peony7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did have a live trap out for 3 nights, it was baited with salmon that we use for crab bait. No bites at all. I can try again with cat food.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  5. April Petroski

    April Petroski Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks!
     
  6. April Petroski

    April Petroski Out Of The Brooder

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    Another thing to try too if at all possible, rake the area around your coop so you can see tracks. Are you moving the trap to a different location every night?
     
  7. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you find ANY remains at all or is the entire chicken gone? If that is the case, could you have a human predator?
    If something is carrying the chicken away, it would have to be fairly large. If it is being eaten on site I would think you would see something left and some feathers scattered about.
     
  8. CGilbert

    CGilbert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Game camera's seem to work great for people

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Peony7

    Peony7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, not sure how to capture other's comments.
    I'll try raking, it's pretty wet out so not sure how clear anything might be but good idea.
    No, I didn't move the trap, and I put it back out tonight with cat food in the same place. It's the only place I can put it without it getting bothered by our dog and I already caught the cat!
    The carcasses were in the run, just the bones and of course, lots of feathers. One was torn apart, with a leg 10' away. No feathers in the coop which makes me think it was caught after they got up in the morning and were in the run. Logically I should close them up at night, I usually don't so they can get up early in the summer without me, but tonight I will.
    I've seen rats out in the tree above the coop. But it seems like they would only be interested in the feed and scraps on the ground? Think a rat or three could do that kind of eating? I'll take a photo if it happens again, man, I hope not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  10. RoosterRiot

    RoosterRiot Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG]

    I lost 8 young birds to a small bobcat over a few weeks. Kills were during the day. Usually there would be a couple piles of feathers that led to a picked clean carcass just past the edge of the woods. One time the carcass was left in the run.
     

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