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Why are my Roosters/cockerals disappearing??? (UPDATE page 2)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jengro65, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. jengro65

    jengro65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've lost 4 male birds in less then 2 weeks. The last 2 (16 week old boys) happened the last 2 nights in a row!
    My birds free range all day but are locked up in a safe coop all night and I don't let them out until 7:30-8am.
    I go out after work to give treats and spend time with them and see that everyone is accounted for. I go back in the house and come back out at dusk to tuck everyone in and thats when i notice the bird count is off (I have/had 40+ chickens).
    The morning is when I figure out who is missing:(
    I live in in southern WV and my neighbor recently killed a bobcat and coyote. We have plenty of racoons around too.
    What could it be? The birds vanish with no signs of struggle or loud squawking heard.
    Why is it only roosters so far? I only have 1 left and 38 hens.
    Has anyone ever used those solar night lights/eyes and do they work??
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  2. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Overrun With Chickens

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    sounds like an owl as for only roos, my roos sound the alram while everyone else runs, than they run

    try putting them up before dusk
     
  3. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, it sounds like an Owl. The rooster only thing confuses me, because the owls around here only take pullets. You can set up some deer cams to monitor your coop at night and see what is doing it. You can get two refurbished Primos Truth 35 cameras off of Natchezss.com for $100 (half price).

    If it is an owl, there is not whole lot you can do about it unfortunately, because even though you have the God given and constitutional right to protect your livestock, the federal government says you cannot when it comes to an Owl. Well, you can go through a lengthy process to get a federal permit to trap or kill it, but you will not have any birds left by the time the government approves it. The best thing to do is just make sure your coop is air tight and nothing can get in at night. I have tried everything else, motion detector lights, blaring radios, etc. Owls eventually get use to all of these.
     
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    I suggest that you lock them up a little earlier.

    I am not so sure about the owl, because most of them can not carry off a chicken. They pull feathers and eat part of the bird on the ground.

    It's possible that it is a very large Great Horned Owl, since they can carry a small chicken for a short distance. The very largest GHO is only 5 pounds and usually they are closer to 3 pounds. So they can't carry a chicken very far, and it would have to be a light weight chicken.

    Nearly every predator hunts at dusk and there are many of them who can carry a chicken off. So, until you figure out who is taking your birds, get them penned a little earlier.
     
  5. jengro65

    jengro65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sure the last 2 boys only weighed a couple of pounds because they were so young. The first 2 Roo's to go were large. One was a 2 yr old Black sex link and the other was a HUGE partridge rock.
    I will do my darnest to get them in before dusk. If I can't, I plan to stand guard until everyone gets settled.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree with Oregon Blues. There are a whole lot of predators that can carry off a whole chicken without a trace. Member of the canine family, dog, fox, or coyote, are at the top of my list but not all predators act like they are supposed to. Despite common mythology, practically any predator might hunt during daylight hours.

    Something else jumps out at me since it appears to be only roosters. Is it a human? It may only be coincidence, but humans are the only predator I can think of that might concern themselves with the sex of the prey. If a human takes one, they should not leave a trace.
     
  7. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you finding a lot of feathers? I had a great horned owl kill ten of my pullets and carry their bodies off to I know not where, but before he did, he surgically cut the wings off. If the predator is taking large birds whole without leaving a lot of mess, then you may have a much bigger predator.
     
  8. jengro65

    jengro65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No feathers or body parts that I can see.
     
  9. jengro65

    jengro65 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a good idea but I doubt it in my case. I live in the country and most of my neighbors are family members and the young non- family couple that lives close get free eggs every week from me for their tolerance to crowing (which has dramatically decreased) and the occasional hen scratching in their yard.
     
  10. Jungleexplorer

    Jungleexplorer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Humm.... Animal that can carry off a large chicken without leaving any trace. That is a tough one. I would get those deer cams I mentioned and put them up, they are only $50 and they are some of the best rated budget deer cams on the market.. Around here, where I live, the sheriff recommends that all rural people put up cameras to monitor their land do to all the stealing going on for scrap metal. If it is made of metal and it is not welded down around here (any even if it is) it will be stolen. Or you can spend a lot of time waiting for it yourself. Another option, if you have a wifi network and your coop is close to your house, is an IP camera. You can buy cheap models with pan and tilt functions for under $50 and then you can sit in your house and watch your flock. Some of them have motion sensor that will record any movement and night vision. But like I said, you have to have good wifi network and your coop must be close to your router (200 feet or less).
     

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