What's getting my birds?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by watchdogps, Feb 1, 2012.

  1. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did read the predator ID article and didnt quite find a match. In the last week or so, I have lost a duck, a rooster and at least one hen to something. All I found are feathers, and they are in a circle, or a ring to be exact. Mostly small feathers, not big wing feathers. Out in the open grass. Any ideas? The birds are free range, so it could be anything.
     
  2. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Overrun With Chickens

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    It kind of reminds me of a bobcat, it happened with mine, feathers in a pile though, no blood. Some more information would help solve the case. Game Cams are a way to find what the predator is. Hope this helped [​IMG]
     
  3. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No bobcats around here (central Ohio). Hawks, maybe dogs but the only one I've seen besides mine is the 17 yr old border collie from across the street and he hasnt seemed interested in the birds, just in stealing their table scraps. No neighbors for 1/2 mile in any direction, and surrounded by mowed down corn and soybean fields. Light treeline around the perimeter of the property, but no wooded areas to speak of.
     
  4. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Overrun With Chickens

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    Hm, sorry but I don't have a clue! Dogs can change you know, but 17? I really don't know. [​IMG]
     
  5. chigger bait

    chigger bait Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a hawk.

    The circle is the point of impact where they are pinned to the ground and then carried off in flight.

    They hit dove on the ground at our bird feeders and this is the same thing I find with them.

    If it were a mammal getting your birds, then there would be a trail of feathers from where they carried them off
     
  6. FarmTillURdead

    FarmTillURdead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would say a bird of pray. Look up. Are the feathers where something sat up in a tree and ate? Large birds such as hawks and owls can eat bones and all. We have found only legs left from falcons. We lost 42 (small) chickens one year to birds of prey. We hardly ever saw them. Crows eventually tattled on them and we witnessed a falcon trying to fly off with a chicken nearly the size of itself.
    We can't shoot hawks in Kansas but shooting at them does detour them. They are very smart. We had one that would see me go for the gun... and wait 'till I came back with it to leave.
    The circle comes from the meal they have quick. Picking out the downy breast feathers to eat a hunk of meat fast to lighten the load before flying up in a tree somewhere else to finish wings and tails.

    Things that help - Walmart Mylar pin-wheels. Walmart has pinwheels out in spring. Get the silver and red metallic ones. The flashing messes with the bird. It can't figure depth perception on the flash and thinks it might get hit. The red also mimics predator eyes. Mount them to fence posts with zip ties or stick them in the ground. (your chickens won't care - they aren't predators.)

    Multiple roosters/gobblers - Birds of prey are territorial and make calls to claim their space. Enough birds crowing/gobbling in your fields make it sound over populated and less chance at being sneaky.

    Larger Animals - We did dogs and goats but lost mutiple birds training dogs not to play with them. Goats, donkeys, llamas -... ect. Things that are chicken safe and big will detour them.
    I do run turkeys with my chickens and have for years. I only had 1 bird that ever got the blackhead. I treated him with wormer and he was fine.

    We NEVER leave birds out after twilight. You can NOT owl proof a pasture. They swoop down on our vehicles when we come in late nights. Our birds are put up a half hour before sunset. They are fed once in the evening. They come in for it unless they are overfed. We use a border collie to round up the occasional straggler. Some chickens seem to be a bit sentimental about watching the sun set... but I have work to do.
    Scare crows will not help. Not even if they are animated. (Don't ask).
    That's my experience on the subject - Hope it helps!
     
  7. watchdogps

    watchdogps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, I was suspecting hawks. The circle of feathers as impact, or I was thinking maybe the bird sat and ate a bit before taking off with the rest of the kill. I guessed bird because thats the only thing I could think would make a circle and not mess it up by dragging through it. Must have been an ambitious hawk though with my duck. The ducks are 5 mos old runner/muscovy crosses, not small guys.
    Not sure I can do much to protect them right now. They do go in the barn at night, but this probably happened during the day. I do have at least one ASD who alerts to hawks, but this happened an acre away from the dog yard. The area the chickens have is not fenced, and there isnt money to add fencing right now...
     
  8. FarmTillURdead

    FarmTillURdead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your Anatolian is ~beatuiful~!
    Try the pinwheels. They are cheap. This bird will be back. It knows where to get a sure meal.
    Some farmers around here talk of using small animals leg traps on top of a post; draped with a store bought chicken piece over the trigger. They run about 8 bucks. It isn't humane - but neither was the way your animals died.
    Check your local laws on trapping birds.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hawks will have a difficult time lugging off a standard size fowl, rather my hawks will come back over multiple days to finish a hard won carcass.


    Central Ohio almost certainly has bobcats. I would not discount red fox making snatch and grab if it can get bird down and get out before LGD has time to respond.
     
  10. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It does sound like a hawk kill to me as well...the one thing that is bothering me about a hawk doing the deed is the fact that there was nothing at all left behind...even the very large hawk that killed my speckled sussex could not carry the body off...and I am doubtful that he would have been able to eat the entire carcass in one sitting, and how may days passed between kills? My second thought was fox...they are not necissarily nocturnal. They are opportunistic, and are active when their prey is around, and when it is, they eat it ravenously. I would be VERY careful about the suggestion above however...It is not local laws on bird trapping you need to worry about. The majority of all birds are FEDERALLY protected. Doing this could get you in a LOT of trouble with the game wardens and worse.

    I lost my speckled sussex to a hawk. I interupted him. I moved the carcass quite far from where she was killed (did not have time to burry it, had to go to work), and the hawk came back, found her, and started plucking feathers. I interupted him again. He could not have moved her at her size, so he left her behind again, but I will say they DO come back (I didn't know that!). I also lost my entire flock what I believe were foxes, though I am not 100% on them...they carried the bodies quite far from the coop (in this case, across the street and four houses down), and out in the open, plucked all the feathers, leaving nothing else behind.

    This, like so many other kills described here does not sound like a bobcat kill. There are bobcats basically covering the US, but I am not sure why people always jump to the conclusion that it is the work of a bobcat. This kill pattern does not match.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012

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