Predator chicken dinner mysterygreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
After reading the newsletter and the story on the misterious missing chicks i need to tell you about my missing hens. We have a coop inside our barn. There are walls on three sides with the front covered with one inch chicken wire that goes up to the ceiling. There is a door in front that is six feet tall with about an eight inch gap above to the ceiling. Now we (had) eight two year old rhode island red laying hens in there that were doing great. Then they started to disappear. After some detective work we found blood on the top of the door and a few feathers on the chicken wire. I then followed the feather trail out side and found the remains about 100 yards from the barn in the pasture. So some how this critter had climbed up the chicken wire over the door through the eight inch gap into the chicken pen grabbing a chicken go back up the wire over the door and out. And did this twice in one night. now comes the question for all my homestead friends. What is your vote for which animal did this fast and dirty deed? WE live in northern Utah and have Skunks, raccoons, mink, foxes, cats, dogs, and occasional badger, haven't seen any rats for many years, and a curious three year old pure boy. can't wait to here your answers. sm4farm
-- sm4farm (email@example.com), June 15, 2000
Without having a description of the remains, it will be hard to guess who-dun-it. How much of the carcass was left? Was the head gone, was it bitten at the back of the neck, or the throat ripped. Was it chewed and plucked on the outside or opened with the innards gone?
A fox, weasel or a cat could make the jump easy, and probably a raccon, too, but the all have their own style of killing and dining.
-- Laura (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 16, 2000.
what is the biggest hole the critter could have got thru?
-- STAN (email@example.com), June 16, 2000.
Possums,, possums will do that. Nasty beaties,, and hard to find during the day time. They can get into any little space you might have in your hen house. Nasty things wiped out most of my German Saxony ducks, and most of my golden polish chickens. Hate to say this, but the best thing you can do to make sure what kind of creature it is, is stay up all night, perferably with a shot gun. Possums are really hard to kill. Shovels and such don`t work and you would only break the shovel. Also if you have a safe area to bait,, found that Mole Patrol poison works best with possums. Live traps don`t work here at all. The hudge Norway Rats we have here,, don`t bother the full grown chickens,, though they will eat their food, steal and egg or two.
-- Bergere (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 16, 2000.
sm4farm: My vote, since I grew up in Northern Utah, is a cat. You know how soundly chickens sleep at night, I have picked up sleeping hens and moved them, and they never even woke up, Can't be possums, Bergere, don't grow 'em there, unless it is a new species they have transplanted since I left! Coons are USUALLY too heavy to climb the chicken wire that high, but could be a possibility, too. Probably have to either quietly stay in one corner of the barn and hope they won't sense you in there, and watch, or place a video camera with a remote on it! Good luck,and let us know! Jan
-- Jan in Colorado (Janice12@aol.com), June 16, 2000.
I'm in Northern Utah too. Where are you? I have problems with raccoons but they are way too big for that trick. Skunks were a very large problem last year. An extra large skunk population for some reason. Not as many this year. I've seen some beautiful foxes but could they climb that? Cats are my biggest problem and they could accomplish that feat very easily. I lost some of my hens this last winter to cats.
-- Cheryl Cox (email@example.com), June 16, 2000.
I will bet dollars to dirty socks that you are dealing with a Rackety-coon! Clever, strong, incredible climbers, and the ability squeeze through a small space. The fact that the carcass was a distance away nails it! And I'll bet there were few if any feathers at the site of the crime. Night-time also points that way. I have a couple of 'coon trapping ideas if you'd like them! GL!
-- Brad (Homefixer@SacoRiver.net), June 16, 2000.
I think Brad is probably right -- weasels (in my limited experience!) eat their dinner right where they killed it. But you'd better think about closing up that hole above your door! And, consider the strength of the chicken wire- racoons are quite capable of ripping a hole in chicken wire, if they find they can't get in the easy way anymore. If it is cats, closing the hole ought to solve the problem, as they can't go throught the wire.
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 16, 2000.
Could only be a possum or racoon unless you have accidentally discovered some form of carnivorous monkey ;). Nothing else meets all the criteria you describe. Look for little dirty hand prints on the coop and in moist areas around the area. I battled and entire summer against a giant possum (in an area where possums "dont live") who kept eating my Saxony ducks.
-- William in WI (email@example.com), June 19, 2000.
Wow, Jan you don`t have possums!! Goodness you are really lucky!!
Will let you have all the possums you want!!
-- Bergere (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 20, 2000.
Bergere: Can you teach possums to do chores? If so, I'll take you up on the offer! Don't have many trees here, either, so will that be a problem, or will they all go home to you? :) Thanks for the offer, but I think we have enough "pests" here to take up the possumless- slack! Jan
-- Jan in Colorado (Janice12@aol.com), June 20, 2000.
just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the answers. It seems that after further investigation that we were raided by a raccoon. Then the cats finished off what was left. Last fall we lost a lot of corn to this pesty critters. We have the wholes all plugged up again. We will move some 3 month old pullets in soon. They have about out grown there cage now. So thanks again to all of you for all the comments and good advice that I read here every day. smiles, sm4farm
-- sm4farm (email@example.com), June 20, 2000.