Who dun it?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Trimini, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. Trimini

    Trimini In the Brooder

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    Jul 26, 2016
    Chile
    I am not sure if "Managing your flock" is the right place for a mysterious case of the disappeared peep, but here I am. I live in central Chile on a small farmland at the junction of two wild rivers in a valley. My husband and I have a 750 square-foot walk-in aviary that we designed and built ourselves for our pet peacock. Soon after the introduction of the peacock, we also introduced chickens and a peahen. For two years we've had a perfectly peaceful coexistence of a pair of young peas, a rooster and four hens. This past summer (just a few months ago here in the southern hemisphere) we allowed some of our eternally broody hens to hatch some of their eggs. We didn't want too many chickens so we only allowed the hatching of four. Now we have additional two nearly fully grown hens, one two-month old hen, and and one month-and-a-half old peep.
    The aviary is secured from predators on all 6 sides. Inside there is a walk-in house as well, where there are nesting boxes and night roosts. I spend a lot of time with my birds. I know them well. All have personalities and habits. My boy pea is like a dog. He answers to voice commands and plays with me. I know when he is moody and when he is calm. Everything has been silky smooth recently.
    Yet, last night I had 11 birds, and this morning I have 10. The youngest peep has vanished without a trace.
    There is no body, no kill site, everyone else is behaving like nothing happened. There was no predator alarm in the night. No predators could have gotten in anywhere. There are no cracks, tears, holes, any entrances or exits anywhere that a peep or a predator could have used. He just vanished.
    The only two things I can think of is 1. snake - possibly, we have snakes but not very large ones. 2. the birds did it. Is it possible for chickens to ... eat ... one of their own? Or for the peacock for that matter to have just eaten a young chicken? I don't know what else to think. It's the perfect locked room mystery.
    Does anyone have any ideas?

    Attached are picks of my flock.

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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Waiting on a Fresh Garden Salad

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    Go back and look thoroughly. Young birds can jam themselves in spots or sometimes if they die they can get trampled or covered. Turn over the bedding, check every crack and crevice. It's got to be there somewhere either dead or alive if your set up is as you describe it.
     
  3. Trimini

    Trimini In the Brooder

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    Jul 26, 2016
    Chile
    I did all that. I know every crack and spot in that aviary, and I checked them all. He is not a tiny peep anymore. Not so tiny to get stuck in places. But I checked everywhere! Beside, he would have been screaming.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

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    looks like a very nice set up. Take a good look at the building, maybe under it? I too think the bird is there. Yesterday, I was missing a bird, swearing at the coons, and found her on a hidden nest.

    Often times we over look something as mentally we say it is too small. Last summer I did have a snake get in, but he only ate eggs.

    I do not think your birds would have attacked and eaten a little bird out of the blue. Sometimes right when chicks hatch, they others will get them, but not weeks later.

    Mrs K
     
  5. Trimini

    Trimini In the Brooder

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    Jul 26, 2016
    Chile
    Thank you.
    I just checked everything again. There is 100% no peep or remains of a peep anywhere.
    The little building inside is not elevated. The walls are built up from ground up and the floor is reinforced with chicken wire buried 6 inches deep against digging intruders. The only places where a peep can get stuck is behind the nesting boxes. I've removed everything and checked everything. Not a trace. :/
    We are beginning to suspect snakes. I agree that it is not likely that birds turned on him out of the blue. There is certainly enough space and food for everyone.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    Would have to be a pretty big snake to eat a 6 week old chick,
    and need a hole big enough to escape with said chick in it's belly.

    I think if (BIG if) the chickens did kill and eat the chick that there would be some remains about.

    Any chance at all it escaped while going in and out of the enclosure?
     
  7. Trimini

    Trimini In the Brooder

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    Jul 26, 2016
    Chile
    Interesting. You are right. Even if a snake got in, it would have to go out shaped like the chick. :D So, effectively I am looking for a hole that would fit the peep, alive or inside the snake. I think you may be correct that he somehow slithered out somewhere, being small and all. I have a man trap gate, so no one can escape as I enter to feed them and play with them. It's two sets of doors. One opens only when the other has been closed. However, the doors are the only vertical surfaces that are not buried in the ground. Somehow ... I don't know.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Gotcha, good system.

    What about under the gates?
    Is there a gap?
     

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