would you mind weighing in on what got my birds??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by danaalex, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. danaalex

    danaalex Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 19, 2011
    Hi!
    i know i lost several to hawks, caught them in the act. i know ONE roosters was lost to an opossum. but, i've lost many more and sometimes several at one time and there is NO SIGN of the bird, or the predator!! i've been left a handful of feathers, and that's about it!

    these attacks are happening usually during the day and when i've left. they never occur when i'm home. and they never occur inside the pen or coop. it's always when they are free ranging in the fenced in backyard. super bowl sunday i lost 8! i was gone for 8 hours and so i haven't a clue what got them :-(

    after super bowl sunday i kept them locked up. last week the roosters flew out and that day the BIGGEST rooster i have ( who was huge) got taken. he left a ton of feathers.

    this past sunday ( in the 1.5 hrs we were gone), two more went missing :-(

    so, they're back to being locked up. what does this sound like it is? i have had hawks in the yard for a long time now. but, they haven't been back since they got the last of the chicks :-(

    needless to say, my bird's days of free ranging is over :-( and now i have to build some sort of enclosed run instead of just letting them hang in out in their pen. :-(

    thank you!
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Red fox or coyote. Former, when catching more than one or already with full tummy will cache / bury what it catches near by, usually in direction it comes from. Last fall a red fox caught a few juveniles and buried them about 150 yards from where birds where caught. Same fox also buried neighbors birds, a lot more and bigger, caught in same location. My dog then pilaged caches bringing up birds that were largely intact even after several weeks. Even after dog found caches, fox still kept putting stuff (rabbits,voles) in same area. Expand your search radius to a hundred yards from where you see your birds go. Fox will not go far if it has a lot to carry.
     
  3. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well it is hard to speculate not knowing where you live but where as there is no signs of them it has to be a rather large creature capable of that. Sounds like the work of a fox or coyote or possible but less likely a dog. Most varmint types won't normally take off with it as they prefer to dine where they are as do birds of prey. Back to the fact of location it could be member of the cat family as cougar,lynx or bobcat. I would invest in a trail/game/wildlife camera to see who is around when you are not.That way you are better equipped to rid the creature or creatures. Check your perimeter for tracks and entrance points. Ask neighbors if they have seen any wildlife patrolling the area. Good luck and keep us posted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  4. danaalex

    danaalex Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 19, 2011
    thanks!
    i was guessing fox, but like i said, i haven't seen a THING. we are in a town, but my yard backs up to a huge yard and a mildly wooded area with a stream. my guess that is were they would be buried if anywhere near by. there have been random deer that have run by too.

    i never would imagine that a fox would be smart enough to know when i'm not home!!! my kitchen is the room that leads to the back yard. there are windows and doors, and i spend most of my day in there. i can hear everything that goes outside standing in my kitchen and i can see everything too!!! and i know none of them have disappeared while we were home, inside the house!

    thanks, again!
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    In my experience, most predators do not seem to take into consideration when you are home or not. Those like canids, especially Mr. and Mrs. Red Fox, seem to have established routes that address locations where prey is most likely to be caught with minimal effort / risk (presently your yard is included) and where scent marking of territories boundories needs updating. Mine at least are pretty regular in their rounds. Even in suburban settings they gotta do their thing in respect making a living and many make very little effort to hide their activities from the human population. We humans just seem to ignore them. A bobcat could be snoozing in under your bedroom window, red fox could be scratching its ear in your driveway and coyote will sometimes come up and exhange sniffs with dogs on sidewalks while dog is being giving daily exercise on leash.

    You could also be home and not notice commotion. Until my dog was in place, fox could come in a catch a juvenile on side of yard while birds of another flock not even 150 feet away would not even react.
     
  6. danaalex

    danaalex Out Of The Brooder

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    when the hawks have perched in my yard the chickens have flipped out. it's how i found the hawks. all the commotion! they would hide under the coop, or in the tall weed/grass. up by the house under the porch, etc. and just go on and on and on!!

    so, i guess i just figured that they would react the same way to a fox.

    sigh........

    thanks for the help!!!
     
  7. ShortAnda

    ShortAnda Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 13, 2012
    I would get a game camera. You can get a fairly nice and inexpensive one at Walmart. Or get a humane trap to catch whatever it is or... call your local animal control and they can probably set up a trap and move the animal to a better place.
     
  8. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like a fox. Last Easter we were all outside for about 2 hours, with the hens free ranging and puttering around. We went inside to eat and came out maybe an hour later, and the hen had been snatched. I found a fluff of feathers and I just KNEW (having witnessed it a month before, when he killed 3 of my hens and was in hot pursuit of the other ones when I chased him off the lawn). I have no doubt they are smart enough to watch for the best opportunity- that's what predators do!! I will, however, put my hens and roos in their run in another month or so, because last spring I lost a total of four (all of my EES that laid blue eggs!). I'm thinking it's when the foxes have had babies and are hungry!
     
  9. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you own a dog that is put outside when you leave home and comes inside with you while you are home?
     
  10. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i own two dogs that are put outside when we leave home & are in when we are home. what is the significance of that?
     

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