When I went to feed my chickens yesterday evening I found a mess. Either a coon or a big mink had gotten in my hen house and killed some birds. I lost a RSL hen, my bantam hen, Chicken Little, my drop dead gorgeous bantam roo, Trey, and my sweet duck hen, Miss Quackers. I worked on the house trying to make it preditor proof and after dark I went down there with my flash light and my pistol but I didn't see anything. Hope all is well when I go feed this afternoon.
So sorry Cajun, earlier this summer I was loosing some of my laying hens (red sexlinks)
Or comets what ever you call them. They were all lost to raccoons I worked hard trying to make the coop preditor proof. It seemed that no matter what I did, they were outsmarting me. I tried jaw traps, only to find them snapped and 2 more chickens gone. They even were able to open the little door for just the chickens. then where I had left a very small window a jar, they scaled a slick fiberglass wall and got through that small window. I finally caught them with a heavy duty live trap baited with cat food. After catching the third coon, I haven't lost anymore chickens.
I've kept the trap set though and caught several possoms, woodchucks and one skunk since then. eeewe.
I stood back quit a ways with the 22 to take care of it and was fortunate that it didn't spray at all.
I caught a couple cats too but just turned them loose, I did catch one of them twice but think they learned not to be temped by the bait when it is in the trap.
Also I found it helpful to place a cement block on top of the trap, so the coons couldn't tip the trap over and possibly with the help of its mate, get out. All in all I lost 16 chickens to the coons. That has been several months ago but those remaining 11 chickens go up as high as possible in the coop to roost at night.
Any way I just wanted to let you know that any cheap cat food works as bait for coons.
I think though that since they left some of yours lay after they killed them, it probably isn't raccoons.
When raccoons killed my chickens several years ago, they often ate only the head and neck - first feeding anyway. I have large hens and they didn't seem to be able to drag them very far. These raccoons were attacking in the day when the chickens were free-ranging. We assumed them to be rabid and shot them. We have had no further losses to raccoons.
I figure this is either a coon or a very big mink. The creek is just feet from the coop. I didn't have anything in my trap and I didn't lose any more birds. I would feel better if I could kill whatever it is.
Sometimes in the past we have had to catch our chickens when they go in to roost at night and haul them a few at a time in an old laundry basket to a portable pen in the garage (or shed, depending on which one has more room at the time). Then put them back out in the pen again each morning. This keeps them safe at night until we catch the predator (or it goes away). It is a hassle but it limits our losses.
It helps to have a good dog (which we do now) that enjoys chasing/killing varmits. She is just a mutt, but she is serious about keeping everything from cats to racoons and oppossums to other dogs out of our yard. Needless to say we love that dog!
I know what you mean about the worth of a good dog. I have a great dog at my house and when my chickens were here I never lost a bird to a predator. But now my coop is down the road next to a friend's barn where I keep my horse and I can't keep a dog there. More's the pity. I wouldn't be having this problem then. I still have not caught anything in my trap but I haven't lost a bird the last 2 nights. No eggs to pick up either but they are starting to get their feathers back so it won't be long now.
Well at least you haven't had any more losses. Hopefully whatever it is will end up in the trap if it comes back. Around here hawks are a problem and we aren't allowed to kill them so I set off firecrackers to scare them (since it sounds like gunshot.) But once they fly over and see chicks/chickens, it takes a while to get them to go away and stay away.
We had what we think was a mink get into our coop a couple of winters ago. It did a lot of damage; I walked in to find carnage all over the place. We had a new coop and we thought that leaving the louvered windows open a bit was okay, but the mink tore through the thin screening and killed quite a few chickens, just tearing their necks open. We substituted rat wire for the screening and have been fine, since. But last winter a possum got both of our geese. There's no way to protect them because they don't go inside the coop. We did trap and kill it, though.
I hope your chickens are okay now, and that you catch whatever did the deed! It doesn't bring them back but it's satisfying to know that the perpetrator has met its just reward!
Yes porkpal, one of my chickens that was attacked was still alive but it had terrible wound to the head and neck. it would walk around a little and just huddle for a while. I salvaged that one to the soup kettle. Then that same night the raccoons came back and took two more.
When I finally caught the coons I felt like I had won the battle but at a cost.
I guess just have to be thankful that your not loosing any more. It is possible that ( the varmint ) may have tried to go to someone else's chicken coop and met his water-loo, by dog or 22.
Anyway consider yourself fortunate that it or they, haven't been back. I know that when the raccoons found my coop they kept coming back, until I finally out smarted them.
I just used the cheapest dry cat food and that did it.
I would continue having the trap set for a while longer anyway.
One of my hens disappeared the other day too. It was right after dark and several were by the garage trying to hide, so something was back there.
I have a trap, I should set it.
Have been sick about a month with some kind of virus I guess. Coughing and running fevers. Understood for the first time how people get rid of their birds because they can't care for them. It was tough just trying to feed and water my animals, but I made it and am feeling better now. Thank God. Whew.
Still, I'd like to know what got one of my best hens. No feathers either, just gone. It was right before I locked them up for the night.
That thought came to me too, but I didn't take myself very seriously. We do have some kind of red fox here though. They are not native to this area but do live here in town. They are sometimes seen running around at night.
You are probably right. I will set this trap as soon as I feel a bit better. What should I put in it? Cat food for fox?
Fox are a bit more cautious, I would make sure the trap was clean, then mist the trap with apple cider and bait it with fish and a little honey. fox will also eat cat food, so you could try different things. but do your best to keep human scent away from the trap.
The best of luck to you!!!
Sorry for the loss of the choice chickens, from your flock.I just started raising RIR, and buff orphingtons.
I have one red, that I had to take out of the coop, because she beats up the rooster.I'm building a new coop, and will move the roo, and 3 hens, to raise babbies with.
If you use this new light weight chicken wire, a coon can tare through, and kill chivkens. The new coop, that I'm making, I will test it, by trapping a squirrel, and putting him in the pen, if he gets out, its back to the drawing board. New to the forum, Mike
This cat that hangs around my house, that I feed, attacked a squirrel the other day. I saw her all crouched down looking at something. I thought it was a bird, but then she ran and pounced on a squirrel. I ran over and made her turn it loose. Hope it wasn't hurt too bad. I like the squirrels around here. They are fun to watch.
I would think that the cat would think of "How do I turn this loose", if the squirrel is full grown.I once saw a hungry halk attack a full grown Tom, and they thrashed around on the ground, and I believe the halk had the same thought. (How do I turn this thing loose). Mike