Whats killing my girls?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by christa7032, Sep 16, 2009.

  1. christa7032

    christa7032 In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    Hi Everyone,
    I posted a few days ago about losing a few of my chickens and the last one I thought got into something she shouldn't have. However, after going out to see the new bloody masacre this morning I am changing my opinion. So my question is, what would kill my chicken during the night then leave them alone without eating them? I have no idea how it is getting in but I am going to go add more wire today and start locking my girls up at night in a large dog crate (since there are only 2 left it will be big enough) but the type of animal that is getting in will determine what I need to do to protect my girls (if it is something big I can add more wire and make it a little more secure but if it is small I will need a whole new coop). Please help! I am in Southern California if that helps.
  2. WIfarmerboy

    WIfarmerboy In the Brooder

    Apr 15, 2009
    West Central WI
    first off i'm sorry for your lose and second i do know that foxes with kill

    chickens then only carry one off to eat it. i also know that a fox can fit into

    a really small hole comparied to it's size. i hope this helps a little. i'm sure

    that someone with a little more experiance living in CA will chime in [​IMG] im

    not sure if foxes are a problem or not in S. California. im from WI so i

    know that they can be a problem here .
  3. rhodiegal

    rhodiegal Songster

    Feb 18, 2007
    North Georgia
    Dogs will kill for fun without eating. Raccoons can make a bloody mess - kind of like they chewed on them here and there and changed their mind.

    A warning about dog crates. Before we had our Great Pyr, I had a injured rooster in a dog crate. A raccoon was able to pull parts of his body through the holes in the grate and - well, I will not explain the rest, but it was disgusting.
  4. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I grew up in Orange County,CA and there were foxes there. From waht I have seen with foxes tho, they usually will kill and carry away to eat elsewhere.

    But since you mentioned they were killed but NOT eaten...I am thinking maybe coon? I have seen many times where they are teaching the babies to hunt and gather food....they find a good spot and they practice without eating.

    I remember when i was little a coon getting into my grandads coop and just going to town... only ate one but killed about 20+.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Foxes will kill a lot of them, but only carry one off to eat. They sort of get carried away with the whole thing when the hens panic and just kill as many as possible. They usually only eat the one though.

    Raccoons will gnaw on several if there’s time, including eating what they can pull out of a crate or cage or fenced area they can reach through… they’ll gnaw the heads off too, extra crunchy! Usually there’s just one –gone- in the morning though.

    Possums will eat the guts out and leave lots of meat behind.

    Mink or weasels will also gnaw heads off, must be some delicacy, they do the same thing with fish, hmph. Occasionally, they also kill them by biting them on the neck then lapping blood only. Picky eaters!

    Dogs usually 'play' with them killing a lot of them, a lot like a fox does, but not often eating any birds, they treat them like flappy toys since they're usually well fed.

    Coyotes will kill several, eat fast, maybe carrying one away if possible.

    Cats, actually rarely kill chickens, but some can/will if they have a really strong prey drive. Then they find out there's more chicken than they care to actually even attempt to eat. Feral ones will eat them though. I’ve seen cats reallllly consider trying for a chicken but finally decide it’s not worth it.

    Large rats will bite them from underneath in the vent area often, and especially if they sleep on the floor or in the nests. They can't usually kill a bird, but if one is weak or sick enough, they can. If there is a rat colony in your coop, they'll MAKE them sick and weak by constantly harassing them and injuring them.

    Not sure about snakes, I think they usually go after eggs or small chicks, Not sure about in places like Fla where there is the possibility of 'pet' snakes that have been released in neighborhoods. (Idiots)

    Hawks or Owls? Look for an explosion of feathers in the yard, or on the coop roof or under trees if they roost in trees at night. Some can carry hens away, most can't and will tear them up in place.

    Did I forget anything? Pile on everyone, these are the one’s I’m most familiar with… None of these are RULES, I’m sure there are exceptions, but they’re the most common in my experience, though not really with snakes! (as far as I know, we do have some around here)
  6. christa7032

    christa7032 In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    Wow PortageGirl! Thanks for all the info. I think the only thing that it could be is a skunk but it still doesn't really fit. The first girl had scratches all over her chest and she died the next day from shock. The second and third were both found in the same spot in the cage laying in the exact same position with their heads closest to the fence and their bodies toward the middle. The first of these two had no blood anywhere but I was too upset to really look closely at her and the second sprayed blood everywhere. After reading the info on the predators it seems like it would be a skunk but I have no idea how it would have gotten in. However, it could also have been a hawk or racoon reaching through and killing them but not being able to reach them once they died. My friend lost a few to a hawk that would hold on to the side of the chicken wire fence and reach through with one claw and kill them. My husband and I are going to try to beef up the coop this week and I will have to lock the girls up at night in a smaller pen. I am just confused because I really don't see how anything could have gotten in. Also, I really don't see how the one who died today could have been grabbed through the fence because she was so shy that she would run and hide every time anything came near. The two that are left are the ones who would have run up to the predator to see if they were bringing them any food and would have been grabbed in the process.
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Sounds raccoonish to me, though I suppose skunk is possible, I forgot to list that one, but I don't have much experience with them going after chickens. We have plenty around here, but I guess I always thought they were more interested in eggs if anything. hmmmm....
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2009
  8. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Songster

    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    Owls will also take only the head.
  9. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville

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