What's Killing my Chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by virginiaman, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. virginiaman

    virginiaman New Egg

    Nov 18, 2013
    Hi all - I'm new to this site but I need your help. In the last week I have found two of my chickens killed and eaten. I have an area for the birds that is enclosed by 6' 2'x4' welded wire fencing. Inside that is another "coop/feeding/etc" area that is completely enclosed (sides AND top) with the same 2x4 wire. I have the all the fence buried 6" into the ground.

    Now, my issue needing help. The two dead birds are killed when they are in the larger area; seems like at dusk/evening. When I do lock the up in the smaller/completely enclosed area they seem to be safe.

    The dead birds are laid on their backs with the breast and all insides completely gone. Head is attached but all feathers and flesh from the neck is gone.

    There is no evidence of any digging nor any openings in the enclosure. Both birds seem to be killed and eaten in the same three foot area.

    The major change that has happened is that new neighbors in the next farm have moved in with cats; though they assure me that they are domesticated house cats that do not bother their geese.

    I have - today - set up a trap in the larger enclosed area and am quarantining the remaining birds (4) inside the fully enclosed area.

    Any "insight" would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so very much.
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2013
    waverly ohio
    copied from another site - link at the bottom. hope it helps.

    Playing Detective In many instances predators leave clues to their identity when they have visited a poultry house. From these clues the poultry producer may be able to identify the culprit and take the necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence.Dogs. A dog usually kills chickens for the sport. Several dead birds with much mauling of the carcasses is usually evidence of a dog. Dogs usually visit the chicken pen during daylight hours rather than at night.Mink-Weasel. Birds usually show signs of attack on the sides of the head if a mink or weasel has visited the poultry house. With these predators, several birds will probably be killed and piled neatly together. The back of the head and neck are frequently the only parts of the carcass consumed.Raccoon. If a predator visits only once each 5 to 7 days and eats the head and the crop of the dead birds, a raccoon is probably responsible. Sometimes more than one bird will be killed at each visit.Opossum. The opossum generally attacks only one bird at each visit. Usually, the bird’s abdomen has been eaten. Eggs may also be the object of the opossum’s raid on the chicken house.Owl. The only likely culprit here is the great horned owl, which does sometimes attack poultry. One or two birds are usually killed, with the talons being used to pierce the brain. The owl will usually eat only the head and neck. Feathers found on a fence-post near the chicken house or pen may provide an additional clue.Fox-Coyote.The old sayings about the sly fox were not by accident. The fox and the coyote are very smart and difficult to catch in the act of raiding the flock. Since birds are frequently carried away with little evidence left behind, the only way of determining losses may be a head count. Visits from these predators will usually be very early in the morning. Keeping birds in a secure pen or poultry house until late morning is good insurance against losses from a fox or coyote.Skunks. Skunks do not usually attack adult birds. They may kill a few chicks and eat the abdomen. Eggs may also be the targets. If skunks have been in the poultry house the odor is usually a clue.Humans. Unfortunately, there can be problems from people as well as animals. If birds are missing with very little evidence, particulary from a predator proof pen or house, the possibility of humans being involved should not be over-looked.Preventing Repeat VisitsDetermining the identity of the predator is essential in preventing repeat visits. Once identification has been made, appropriate steps can be taken. Eliminating the point of entry is the first deterrent and eliminating the source of the problem by trapping or other means is the second. Trapping should be done properly to minimize the chances of catching an innocent animal. Seeking advice from a wildlife specialist is desirable if individuals have no experience with trapping.Again, prevention is the best solution to the predator problem.

    Read more:http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/608855/#ixzz2kvtGe8BJ

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