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Who ate the chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by alexroussos, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. alexroussos

    alexroussos Just Hatched

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    I discovered the remains of two chickens yesterday. Here are the facts (and some photos, sorry they're a bit grisly).
    - 2 chickens (out of 6) were killed on the same night (I discovered them 2 days later so it could've been one each night, but mother-in-law later said she hear "animal fighting sounds" on one night so I'm assuming it all took place then)

    - The chickens sleep up in the rafters of the coop so I believe whatever attacked them was able to climb and get them out of the rafters
    - Only wings and feet were left in the yard, no heads, neck or chest. Something picked the wings/feet clean on site and then ran off with the remainder of the carcass. Bones were broken in half (see photos)
    - I found several paw prints on one of the windows (see photos). The windows tilt inwards at about a 45 degree angle forming a sort of ramp once you climb the cedar shakes on the exterior. I can only see 4 toes on any of the prints and no claw marks. They are small, maybe 1" across. The way the toes are almost in line with one another to me suggests something cat-like, whereas dogs and foxes tend to have the outer toes set back more (based on a little googling, not any actual expertise).
    - I live in Bedford NY. We're abutting a wildlife preserve so it wouldn't surprise me if there were a lot of wild animals in there but I haven't heard of there being any large cats.

    After typing this out, I'm starting to lean less towards raccoon/opossum and more toward a cat... What do you guys think?

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  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.
    My guess would be mink, but it's only a guess. Google pictures of mink tracks.
     
  3. alexroussos

    alexroussos Just Hatched

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    Hmm that does look mink-like. There's a pond about a quarter mile away so they could come up from down there.

    On the other hand, it sounds like mink typically kill most or all the birds without eating them, whereas only two were killed and they were meticulously picked clean. Or maybe the other chickens did that,ew.
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to Byc! [​IMG]

    Sorry for your loss! That was not a domestic cat. It would have had to been a pretty big cat to attack a full grown barred rock. Like a mountain lion or bob cat.Pretty sure the other chickens didn't do that either.

    I know weasels are pretty nasty too. Skunk are predators but I don't know their M.O. And moles, I don't know how well those climb.

    Breaking bones, sounds pretty strong. Kill style also not indicative of dogs.... Just trying to help rule stuff out.

    So, are you setting a trap and adding hardware cloth to your windows?

    Good luck!
     
  5. carlf

    carlf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not a coon. I think some kind of mustelid, given your location, could be a fisher. They have been really expanding their range.
    Too big to be a mink or weasel.
     
  6. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought the same thing. Haven't met any yet but they're supposed to be expanding into our area now. Just what we (DON'T) need. [​IMG]
     
  7. alexroussos

    alexroussos Just Hatched

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    Yes I'm going to cover the windows with hardware cloth tonight. I'd also like to trap whatever it is since it seems like it might eventually find a way in even with the windows covered. Any trap recommendations? I'm not familiar with much other than the small havahart I've used to catch chipmunks in the garden
     
  8. alexroussos

    alexroussos Just Hatched

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    Interesting -- I was wondering how the coop could have been there for 50+ years with uncovered windows. A new predator expanding into the area would explain that. I'll talk to the wildlife sanctuary next door and see if they've seen any fishers and what they make of the tracks
     
  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Some one recommended DON'T use have a heart, I will see if I can find a link to one of the threads. Not the same predator maybe, but still good recommendations. Are you prepared to dispense of the of the trapped predator properly, which does not include relocation? And make sure the hardware cloth is secured properly or not with staples to be more specific.
     
  10. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps


    I've been reccomending not to use Havahart brand cage trap, or even that style of cage trap. If you already have the Havahart trap, then by all means use it. But if you need to buy a new trap, then get a better designed cage trap.

    Here is the reason: I had a big killer raccoon push out of a Havahart cage trap. Once that happened, every animal after that was able to push out of the trap...I had to throw that trap away. I finally caught that raccoon, but he was very trap shy after being caught and it took along time to solve that problem. When I finally htrapped im, he weighed in at ~50 lbs, and Barely fit into a cage trap. That animal taught me to catch them the first time, and use the best quality trap that you can find.

    True it was only one animal...but it was a very destructive animal before it was finally caught. I spent way more time dealing with the critter than I needed to, had I used a better trap to begin with, the issue would have been resolved much sooner.

    This design right here Is the trap that I use now...I have never caught a raccoon that could push out of this design....even that big bruiser raccoon could not push out of this trap.

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    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016

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