OMG!! 6 chickens gone in a day!

Discussion in 'Poultry' started by sonya123, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. aart

    aart HOW do they DO that?

    Messages:
    2,357
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    Had 2 fox and a coyote(made 4 attempts in 2 consecutive days) attack in the middle of the afternoon this year.
    Run fencing held up against them all.
     
    CountryMom22 and sonya123 like this.
  2. sonya123

    sonya123 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2016
    Location:
    Virginia
    Update: we kept all the chickens left in the coop all day yesterday. They were not happy.
    Today we did what I was trying to avoid, we clipped their wings, so they can't fly over the fence. They are now in the fenced area ( not chicken wire, but real fence, it's about 4 feet high) . I put some strings of pink ribbons with aluminum foil strips attached over the top to hopefully scare off large birds. I also ordered a wildlife camera online but not here yet.
    The only thing I am 99% sure of that it was not a pack of dogs. Our dogs would have raised hell if there was a pack of dogs in the area or even 1 dog outside, or cat. They absolutely hate cats. It must have been something smaller they didn't notice. They will only notice and go after something like a raccoon if they are outside. Problem is we were not home when this happened and the dogs were in the house.
    We have decided to get some livestock guardian dogs next spring.
     

  3. hiddensprings

    hiddensprings Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    964
    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Unfortunately everything likes chicken! If they are free ranging in the forest, it could be anything. If "it" is getting them while they are in the coop, look to see if you have anywhere something can get in. A weasel, rat, etc can get through a very small opening. If they are in a penned in area that isn't covered on top, it can be any bird of prey (hawk, eagle, etc). Foxes can climb over a fence (ask me how I know this....) and raccoons, possums, etc like chicken too. My girls aren't allowed to free range. Just can't do it where I live. We are also surrounded by national forest and not only have coyotes but also wolves and bears. My coop and pen are built like Ft. Knox. Sorry for your loss. Its never fun to loose livestock.
     
    CountryMom22 likes this.
  4. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,643
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    VA
    I would put my money on a dog or dogs. Pet dogs will kill for sport and not eat what they kill. They typically bite the back, just below the neck.
     
  5. w1651

    w1651 Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    If it was a fox or dog then it left a track somewhere. If there are no tracks then look to the sky above.
     
  6. Dazlin

    Dazlin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,809
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    I would leave the chickens in for a couple days, and set traps outside the coop. If you keep them in, predators usually move on. Sorry for your losses...been there, and HATE IT!!
     
  7. debtoyou

    debtoyou Member

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2015
    We had a dog who decided to play with the chickens. She didn't take any chunks out of any of them. But killed 10 of them. So not so sure about it being a dog.
     
  8. Windswept Hill

    Windswept Hill Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
    Location:
    Delaware County, NY
    We lost 7 chickens to foxes in one night early this summer.

    I added the title of Chicken Coop Doorman to my resume and the next day the foxes were back just before sunset as I was going out to close them in for the night.

    I was not armed and when I tried to chase them away they were actually trying to get around me to get to the coop.
     
  9. CJ7_Slowbuild

    CJ7_Slowbuild Brian McNairn Supporter

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Hi,
    Sorry for your losses. I was wondering if you have any fishers in your area? They have been known to take bites out of just about any type of livestock you can name, at least in our area. In one of our “rural myths”, the government brought in the fishers to help control the over population of turkeys, that they supposedly re-introduced in the area several years ago.
     
  10. EFL-Tennessee

    EFL-Tennessee New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2017
    Put up a electric fence around your coop and use your fence you have up now as a ground. When anything tries to climb over the fence they will touch the "HOT" electric fence and the ground fence at the same time and they will get the shock of their lives. You can also use a Electric Fence Light that flashes brightly to let you know that your electric fence is working. John
     
    CountryMom22 and Sprkling like this.
  11. Sprkling

    Sprkling Member

    Messages:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2014
    Possums will tear through the belly, and leave the body.
    Racoons will tear the heads off.
    Dogs bite at their backs. If the chicken gets away you might find an injured chicken with wounds on the back or sides.
    I'm guessing dog-related animals like coyotes, wolves, foxes will do the same.
    Cats usually make off with the prey in their mouths, and you probably won't find the body, but you could see evidence of lost feathers from the attack.
    Hawks, Owls and Eagles will carry it off, usually, but if they miss might leave an injury to the back of the chicken. I saw some people here have witnessed hawks landing and eating the prey right there at the kill site. This seems likely if the predator is very hungry and there is very little other prey available.

    Personal experience with our dog: We had chickens in Oregon (in town, so we only had hens) for 3 years before we moved, and our dog never attacked our chickens. Not once. He would sometimes chase them, but he never ever hurt them in 3 years. We moved to Idaho a year ago to a larger property (2.6 acres). Our dog was so happy to have more room to run! He would run all over our property. After a month or two he started getting more bold about where he would run, and would go across the street to the neighbor's property. About three months after we moved here two of our chickens were attacked by a predator. One was severely injured and eventually died, the other recovered and was returned to the flock. Our dog got more confident about his surroundings and would go up into the pasture with the goats, and sometimes would not return when we called him, until he decided he was ready to come home. Then a couple weeks later they were attacked again, suspiciously on the inside of the orchard, and there was blood on the doorstep of their chicken house. Whatever it was had chased them right into their house! Then a day or two later I saw our own dog, who had never hurt any of our chickens before, out in the orchard chasing the chickens and clearly trying to catch them. One of the roosters (our rare Ayam Cemani) had blood on his back where he had been bitten. We locked the dog up in the house and stopped letting him out unsupervised. The attacks stopped. We would only take him out on a leash or a chain for supervised time outside and then bring him back in the house again. No more predator attacks on our chickens. The predator that had attacked our chickens and killed our little cream legbar was our own dog. Something about moving to Idaho erased all of his obedience training from before, and he decided he was the master of the land, and he found fun new animals to chase, and fun new treats to catch and eat, and he became a very bad dog. He chased the neighbor's cows a couple of times, and around here that will get him shot. So we had to control him, or get rid of him. We already had a fence totally surrounding the property, he would crawl under it to get out. So he had misbehaved himself into a very bad situation. We spent about $200 on an electric wire fence (the kind that can be buried underground) and a matching shock collar (it has 3 settings: bell, vibrate, and zap) and that was his last chance or he would have to be rehomed. It did work. We have been using the training collar to teach him not to chase the chickens, the goats or the alpacas, and he will still sometimes try to chase the alpaca, but mostly he leaves the animals alone. We have not had any more chicken losses. I was ready to get rid of him immediately when we figured out that he was the reason our chicken died, but my family loves him, so we gave him every possible chance. Hand training didn't work because he would obey when we were around, and as soon as he thought he could get away with it, he would sneak off and get in trouble. Too smart for his own good. But the shock collar keeps him in a confined area. We got enough wire that he still has most of an acre to run in. He has plenty of space. And the remote control works up to 1000 feet away (possibly up to a mile away but we haven't tested it that far) if he were to ever get outside the wire and need correction. The zap makes him instinctively stop what he's doing and run home. So it works, even for our stubborn Jack Russel Terrier. We almost never have to use the zap, the vibrate is enough to make him behave.


    So all that is to say, if you have moved recently, it still could be your own dogs, even if they never hurt your chickens before. It happened to us. And it's very hard to deal with, but it can be done.

    If it is in fact wild animals, given your location that seems possible, then perhaps a Maremma or a Great Pyranees that are bred specifically to be livestock guardians (and not herders or attack guard or hunting dogs) would be something to consider to guard your chickens from predators?
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 12:46 PM
  12. Cassie

    Cassie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    177
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Ozarks
    We are going through that now after almost two years of no problems. One hen disappeared. Then we came home to a hawk eating one of my daughter's favorite ones. Yesterday, a hawk was sitting on a garden post staring down at our rooster in the blackberry patch. In both cases, my husband got really close to them while yelling and waving his arms. I'd like to know what is up with such brave hawks. Why aren't they acting afraid of us?! Sorry I don't have any answers, just sharing to say I feel your pain. I hate losing chickens. :-(
     
  13. LariatLady

    LariatLady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    Location:
    NW GA
    We had a possum kill three guinea fowl in one night back in July. Ripped right through the side of the chicken tractor. It left half of a carcass of one of the guineas in the tractor and only a pile of feathers, in two different locations, of the other two. And we have motion sensor lights all over the place out back. After that, we put a t-post fence around the tractor with heavy gauge wire fencing, then we ran three rows of electric fence around it. Over the top, we put bird netting. We hung a game cam out there and also put up a motion alert that rings in the house whenever there is motion. Last week, the motion alert went off at 12:20am. I bolted out of bed and sure enough there was a possum sniffing around the guineas pen. He won't be coming around any more. Normally, the motion alert goes off a hundred times a day due to squirrels, but they are not a threat to the guineas... so I just keep jumping and running - unlocked and chambered, every time that thing rings. :) Good exercise!! ha ha!

    We also had a hawk try to get to the guineas and it kept getting shocked on the hot wire and getting knocked backward, but it kept coming back again.... FOUR TIMES!!! It got shocked four times but kept trying until we came outside, and then it flew off. Sure was a persistent bugger!

    Now keep in mind, we live along the outskirts of suburbia in a somewhat rural subdivision; NOT out in the wild. We only have three acres and all of our neighbors have anywhere from 2.5 - 5 acres. Yet we have had more predators here than I had when I lived on 100's of acres out in the middle of nowhere. Go figure. We were out of town for three weeks last month and a friend house sat for us. She had to chase off a raccoon around 2am who was out back sniffing around, very close to the guinea pen.

    I'm so sorry, Sonya, that you lost six chickens. It could have been anything. I know how you feel. It's difficult not to get attached to them and heart wrenching when they are killed. It's part of life. =(
     
  14. MO_cows

    MO_cows I calls em like I sees em

    Messages:
    12,478
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Location:
    W Mo
    Everything likes a chicken dinner! We successfully free ranged chickens for over 20 years. Had the most losses from drowning in the stock tank, followed by "dumped dog". But now we have a daytime-hunting coyote family in the area so the birds only get to roam when someone has time to stay outside and watch them. Hoping now that the crops are harvested and the surrounding fields are bare, we will have better luck picking off coyotes.

    Coyotes would most likely carry them off. You would find a few feathers, not carcasses or wounded birds. Foxes and bobcats, too. Sounds to me like a young hawk who is still a beginner hunter, or a raccoon.
     
  15. Springwood

    Springwood Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2017
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    I have had almost the same experience as you. had 6 chickens attacked in the middle of the day & it just left them dead laying there. We set up a live trap & caught a fox. I suggest calling your local DNR, they will advise what to do with your predator after you catch it, but they told me that if it's killing your animals, they prohibit relocating & we should kill it if we caught it. If you look up your local hunting/trapping laws most likely it's out of season, but DNR allows trapping & killing of nuisance predators that are decimating your farm animals. I also had hawks kill several chickens in one predation hunt and then just leave them, but since your chickens had a bite out of it, I'd lay dollars to donuts it's a fox.
     
  16. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,314
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    va
    Relocation is against the law in virginia. Fox trapping season comes in at midnight tonight. Year round on your own property, although you may need to release bobcats if you don't have a permit out of season. Still say hawk, hawks hit them in the back, might make several attempts, and it is the right time of year for hawk attacks. Fox coyotes and bobcats that have made it to this time of year do not wound chickens.
     
  17. GitaBooks

    GitaBooks Member

    Messages:
    14
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2015
    I am so sorry to hear that. I've had losses like that and they are always devastating. Opossum was the latest, two separate ones (I believe, as one was hit by a car) took 4 chicks over a couple week period. I think I lost like 15 to a coyote (they will keep going and going, like a fox but worse! They didn't even eat them, just killed them and spread them around the field to find later!)
    Hawk got one, but I refused to let it stay after that and set up a complicated purple web of ribbon over the chicken run.
    Raccoon I think got 7 one night. There was a skunk there, but when I set up a trap I got a coon so I think the skunk was just going for the eggs and stumbled upon the massacre.
    It never gets easier. Once a predator learns, they want to come back.

    I'd guess a Bobcat, Fox or Coyote, since it was day time. Hawks tend to eat one and leave it at that until hungry again, so I don't think it was a bird of prey.
    Since predators learn, you'll have to change things up. For my coon and opossum I trapped them. For skunks I just lock the chickens up early, as skunks are fairly shy and low-key (they go after chicks generally, and prefer eggs most of the time). I told you about the purple web of ribbon for the hawk. For the coyote I would spend two hours out with the chickens in the evening, patrolling. When the coyote returned I shouted at it and called it names and surprisingly enough it never came back! The dogs probably helped with that, but I like to think I hurt its feelings. : )
     
  18. barnbilder

    barnbilder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,314
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Location:
    va
    Free range is still possible.If coyotes eat your chickens, it is a management problem. My chickens eat coyotes. That is the way it is supposed to be. The odd possum that shows up will be content to eat the bodies laying around and leave your chickens alone, if you are doing your part.
     
  19. mustangglp

    mustangglp Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    432
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2015
    Location:
    California
    We have a lot of fox's I shot one last year that was about 5 feet from my Sheep in broad daylight. Last week my dogs killed one that didn't make it to the fence in time. Then yesterday one was chasing the Sheep or at least they thought it was we don't have lambs right now but will in a couple weeks. I wish my ram would just stomp the heck out it they can be hard to get a shot at and the way the Sheep act I wouldn't be surprised if it's laying in wait for one to be down lambing they do seem to flock up and protect the lambs.
     
  20. krackin

    krackin Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,069
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Location:
    Ossipee Pine Barrens, 5 miles from ME
    Fisher tend to store and eat their prey in trees. I've seen turkey feathers all around the bases of pitch pines and barely a spot of blood or bone. They are extremely elusive and solitary most of the year.