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So, three times in the last three weeks something has gotten into my chicken coop and killed a chicken. A chicken, just one each time. Dead in the coop, head missing and ass end eaten out. Each time, same way. I've gone over the coop to try and make sure the loose spots were tacked down, seams closed, etc. The first time I found a hole under the backside, dug under the buried chicken wire. Plugged that up with rock and pallets good for more than a week. Then the other day, another one killed, same way. That's when I found a couple of loose seams and one top edge kinda open. stapled and nailed and tacked down everything I could, and today another dead one. They have been fine in this same coop for over a year. How and why now, and what kind of varmint kills just one at a time and takes off the head and only eats from the backside?
 

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Possum.
 

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Not mink. You'd find a bunch of dead chickens, not just one a night. Mom has a mink invasion every year and it's never just one dead bird.

Set some live traps around baited with liver or tuna. Weasels are too small to catch in your typical live trap but I'm pretty sure you don't have a weasel. It would take a whole pack of weasels to eat 3 chickens in 3 days.

I've heard some raptors kill and eat chickens that way too.
 

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We think we can rule out raptors as it only happens at night. The coop is tight, I can't see how a **** or a possum could get in. My thought was weasel because not much of the bird is eaten, mostly the whole carcass is there just missing the head and the ass. I have also heard the thing about mink being blood thirsty little bastards that will just kill indiscriminately without eating anything.
 

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You must not have heard of owls. They hunt at night and while they prefer to grab and run, they too can eat the head and innnards.

It really doesn't take much for a raccoon or opossum to get into a seemingly closed pen. They both are energetic climbers and can get those fat bodies through incredibly tight spaces. Either can fit through a spot as small as 3 or 4 inch holes. For several weeks I watched a raccoon shimmy through a 2 inch by 4 inch gap in the eaves of a vacant house.

Look closely at your pen "roof". If you are lucky you might find a spot where some fur or feathers are stuck to a bit of the roofing material. Wildlife netting will keep raptors out but raccoons and opossums will tear right through.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Didn't realize that owls are considered raptors, I thought of Eagles, Hawks, or Osprey. I'll check the wire on top of the cage, see if there is any openings or evidence of entry. Thank you for the input, Thanks to all ya'll for your input, and, GunMonkey...I might be looking to you for a recipe or two!!
 

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My guess is ****.
Not likely it is a mink. They kill a lot of birds in one night, usually.
Just had a person here yesterday buying a couple of ducks because a mink got in and
killed 5 of his 6 ducks. The one still alive is hurt but going to make it.
My friend had a mink in her chicken coop. Only taking out one bird a night. Which
was really strange. She saw it hauling out the dead birds more than once. She finally
caught it though. Mink kill for sport and multiple birds.

Whatever you got is persistent and hungry. You need to go over your building with a
fine tooth comb. Have you got openings where the roof meets the walls ? I had a
**** make her own hole through the wall of my main coop a few years ago. I now
have extra boards on that wall. Intention is to put wire there this year. Like 1 by 1 inch,
about 2 ft , on the lower part of the wall.
 

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It sure sounds like a **** to me. We had a lot of problems with them a few years ago. Whatever it is it is not done yet. We caught them with fish cat food for bait we ended up catching seven of them before we were done. Good luck and I am sorry for your chickens. I know it is so frustrating.
 

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If you're not going to sit out there put up a trail camera...

Also when it's not suppose to rain dust around with flour or cornmeal to see if you can get any footprints. Do you not have a dog in the near vicinity?
 

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If you're not going to sit out there put up a trail camera...

Also when it's not suppose to rain dust around with flour or cornmeal to see if you can get any footprints. Do you not have a dog in the near vicinity?
don`t think it`s a **** they kinda kill everything that moves - i say weasel or mink
 

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It sounds like a skunk to me. A friend of mine used to raise turkeys commercially. He said that they had problems with skunks eating the anus out of their hens while they were in the nest boxes. I don't know of any other animal that targets the anus.

I would fortify the pen by securing all of the wire and then putting an electric fence wire around the bottom about 6" off the ground and a foot out from the mesh. I would also run a hot wire around the top about 3" above the mesh.
 
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