For instance, they can consume an egg or chick as a whole, and the only sign of it happening is that it disappeared. We know we have squirrels and raccoons and possums. We lost a chicken. The truth is, you may not find much evidence with a coyote kill. Wild animals – like foxes, coyotes, and hawks – are natural predators that can kill your chickens. Turned out to be Raccoons caught in the act later, 2 raccoons . How To Protect Chickens From Weasels. Thanks in advance for your opinions. We heard a chicken scream and went running out. Now i can feel their bones. Opossums leave wet feathers behind in the nest where your adorable baby bird was nesting. What could it be ? Use smaller wire around your coop and for the roof covering. 2 nights later, I caught it coming back again and “relocated” it. The result of egg-eating differs from that of raccoon, which leaves a mess of shells as evidence. It completely eats the bird it kills. There is no body. Generally speaking, hibernation is from September or October and lasts approximately six to seven months. We have everything here, so refrain from telling me I am an idiot for letting them out. Did you ever determine what got to your chickens? I was thinking oppossum. I have had one chicken just to disappear, no feathers, bones, nothing. Any thoughts? Chicks that disappear could have been eaten by a snake or by a house cat, domestic or feral. They’ve done that around this area in the PNW. What is killing my chickens. We think it was also during the day. For as long as I can remember before that, my parents used to keep 40 or so hens at the bottom of our garden. by David The Good October 3, 2016 January 15, 2017. Their sharp claws come out during the hunt to make the kill. Had a friend of mine whose chicken was killed by a raccoon. Our 4 chicks are more like pets. Hugs. They love treats and love to wander around the garden in search of plants, bugs and juicy worms. Something keeps getting our eggs. One way to tell foxes apart from coyotes is that they swallow their food whole. One thing for sure is that cats are very messy eaters. We live on 3 acres, with the front acre being open to our house and a yard. Wondering what killed it? If you notice empty eggshells around the nest or near your house, it is a good chance a crow got to your eggs. We lost a chicken last night right after dark. The feet were still in tact but even the leg meat was gone. ii have been loosing chickens the last 6-8 weeks but have only found feathers 1 time. What Killed My Chickens? Lost 23 full-grown 8 – 10 lb birds to 3 dogs who scalled a 5 foot fence, killed them, then left a short trail of feathers. Now, I went out yesterday and found Fluff ripped apart, foot missing feathers everywhere. Seems like raccoons like to go back to the scene of the crime a few times. We have a dog and were hoping that she would be enough to scare them away, but nope. I already feel terrible. Took hen and 5 chicks from shed found one cactus away from site near fence. You can often determine this by what was left behind — something a chicken detective would call the proverbial “crime scene.”. It may seem obvious, but if you make this mistake, anything can happen to your flock. The only evidence that it had been killed was a giant pile of feathers on the back side of our woods. What can you do to stop them? They will sport kill, eating nothing. And you and your chickens will be less stressed too. Often owls will only eat the head and neck so you’ll find the chicken’s body nearby. After setting up our large ‘humane’ wild animal trap upon the very spot we found him (for the added scent to lure him in,) I securely tied a fresh piece of gizzard inside at the end of the cage with strong twine. A fox is opportunistic, he will visit your garden regularly (a little tip, if it snows, go out and have a look for paw prints to see if foxes are visiting and how close they get to your chickens – you might be surprised!) Coyote traps will catch coons, possums, etc. If you find bloodied bodies surrounded by scattered feathers, you were likely visited by one of them. Chickens will eat most things you feed them. Have a large metal trap caught something and it ate a large hole 8 inch by 6 inch Thur the wire what was that? A Guide to Poultry Predators. They leave bodies, feathers and their devastation behind. What took my girls? Their sense of smell and eyesight is keen for hunting at night or during the day. We had over 100 chickens killed in one night bodies scattered all over the yard feathers all over the coup and the yard. Just read your post of just finding feathers. When we found him, his entire stomach/guts had been eaten, just the gizzard was left behind, so, I cut it up into small slices and froze them to use for bait. What do you think it could be? Cats always leave pieces of their prey lying around. Your email address will not be published. Crows also attack your young chicks and tear them apart. You will know when they are nearby because a skunk will spray. Has taken out birds on 5 other properties in our area in the past three weeks. My silky rooster was killed. There are quite a few predators that would love to sink their teeth, claws, or talons into your chickens. He started chasing my chickens. Our favorite of course. Investigating every chicken and rooster were gone. I've been raising chickens since 2012 -- initially for their eggs and to keep our yard clear of bugs and now as pets. However there are some plants and foods that can cause illness or be fatal to your hungry hens. Raccoons are natural born climbers of trees. The two remaining are very traumatized. Other signs you may be dealing with a coyote (assuming you actually find the body or remains) are wounds on the shoulders, flank, or hindquarters. Even if you feed your cat regularly, they will still kill chickens, birds, and mice. Jays, crows, ’possums, raccoons, dogs, and occasionally skunks leave telltale shells. We did this and it was an absolute game changer for us. The wing feathers still on the body and it was picked clean! I recently had one of my backyard chickens fall ill and die. A flat-out missing chicken could have been carried off by a fox, coyote, dog, bobcat, hawk, or owl. Dogs kill for sport. On occasion though, you may find that all of your chickens are dead and one eaten. Take preventative measures Lost 14 in one night . They will kill fir sport sometimes feasting on one bird each or none at all. Just recently our beautiful, sweet 8 month old rooster was attacked and killed. Missing eggs could have been eaten by rats, skunks, snakes, opossums, raccoons, dogs, crows, or jays. Little did I know weasels killing chickens is all too common. We live in bear country, but till this year, never had problem with them feasting on our birds. Even though a crow can take off with your chicken to their nest or elsewhere, they still leave a little behind. They roam around on several acers and they eat grains every night but they wont plump back up. I am certain that if I eased up on his leash, he would have killed my chickens right in front of me. The following information is based on my, monthly “Eggucational” presentation on different problems and issues that can arise when keeping backyard chickens. This discussion is further down in the article, but first, let’s look at how to determine which animal killed your chickens. Many of you have had a similar problem. I I don’t see an owl taking 14 and going into the shed. I’ve also had domestic cats eat my chickens. Did you find out what it was? Adequate housing is defined as housing that allows them to exhibit their normal behaviours (roosting, nesting, scratching and living in groups) and care can be understood as making sure your chickens health is well looked after. We think at night, found later in the day and ALL the meat had been striped from the rib cage, head and guts were missing. Recent Posts. Most inexperienced people will think a fox has visited however this isn’t always the case. Weasels leave devastation and will kill until the they are tired or nothings left moving. Foxes are like coyotes when killing chickens. If you haven't looked at chicken coop designs, chicken predators are a major reason to make sure that your birds are safe and your coop is built solidly. This isn’t an absolute if the coyote hasn’t eaten in a while, but it’s the most common scenario. A chicken found dead in the yard, but without any missing parts, was likely attacked by a dog. Birds remain in their transport crates and are placed into a gas system where they … I can’t figure it out. Bites in breast or thigh, abdomen eaten; entire bird eaten on site, Deep marks on head and neck, or head and neck eaten, maybe feathers around fence post, Entire chicken eaten or missing, maybe scattered feathers, Chicks pulled into fence, wings and feet not eaten, Chicks killed, abdomen eaten (but not muscles and skin), maybe lingering odor, Head bitten off, claw marks on neck, back, and sides; body partially covered with litter, Backs bitten, heads missing, necks and breasts torn, breasts and entrails eaten; bird pulled into fence and partially eaten; carcass found away from housing, maybe scattered feathers, Birds mauled but not eaten; fence or building torn into; feet pulled through cage bottom and bitten off, Bodies neatly piled, killed by small bites on neck and body, back of head and neck eaten, Birds killed by small bites on neck and body, bruises on head and under wings, back of head and neck eaten, bodies neatly piled; faint skunklike odor, bobcat, cougar (aka catamount, mountain lion, panther, puma), fox, hawk, owl, Fence or building torn into, feathers scattered, Small birds missing, bits of coarse fur at coop opening, No clues or empty shells in and around nests, maybe faint lingering odor. You’ll need to thoroughly spray the bird down and make little slits around its feet and then start cutting down to its groin area. One of my hens was killed last month and I thought it was a neighbours dog as Id seen it in the garden before showing interest in the chickens (it was a terrier) and she had not been eaten- just biten on the neck. Black vultures will kill and eat livestock and pets. When a coyote gets access to your coop, it will generally kill and remove the carcass for safer eating elsewhere. Typically, they will bite the heads off the birds. By Gail Damerow – Keep a flock for long and sooner or later you’ll be asking yourself, “What killed my chicken?” Many marauders love our backyard chickens as much as we do, and each leaves a calling card that offers a clue as to which predator you’re dealing with. I try not to use chicken wire for my chickens as the gaps between the grids it very large, allowing the animals to reach in and attack my chickens, and instead, use other sorts of wires. Fix any holes that you see in your coop or pen that are greater than the size of a dime. These larger birds will bond with your chickens, defend them in the event of an attack, and deter predators because of their presence. A bitten bird, either dead or wounded, may have been attacked by a dog. However, what I really dislike about them is that they often kill chickens just for the fun of it. Sometimes chicken owners experience the loss of their chickens from wild animals and even their household pets. This way, you will have the means to prevent this from happening or guide a friend who is into raising chickens about preventing chickens from being killed this way. One broke a screen to get into my barn and killed 8 birds. What killed my chickens? Even the doors or sides of the coop will have been forcefully removed. I found the remains ,wings & backbone of two .then the rooster would run all of the hens out of the pen at dusk. I didn’t know this when I got my new puppy, but I soon learned fast. You bet. There were scrape marks on the ground where the soil had been gathered. They hunt by going directly for the chicken’s head or jugular to kill them. Hi. Cat, opossum I don’t know!?!?!? The next morning we saw that it had been sleeping next to the side of the wire and a raccoon had somehow reached its hands through the wire and ripped apart the chicken, taking only a small morsel of meat. We leave the door open so the hens can get to the nesting boxes; I don’t know how to protect them as we can’t be outside with them all day every day. All property owners are seasoned in chicken keeping (including protection of the flock). When my chickens were killed by a fox family in 2013, I couldn't find anywhere to write something in memory. My next encounter with a weasel occurred 10 years later and didn’t involve actually seeing one — dead or alive, but waking up to find half my chickens dead. Our chicken friends say raccoon, but will a raccoon really carry the chicken that far? The other chickens all seem well . Just a trail of feathers, then no trace. Not even a paw print. lost a rooster and a pregnant cat. If the head and neck are missing, and feathers are scattered near a fence post, the likely perpetrator was a great horned owl. Euthanising or killing a chicken is one of the less attractive aspects of keeping chickens and of course, a vet can do this for you but it is sometimes necessary for us to kill a chicken at home.. We have a duty of care for every chicken in our flock and must prevent unnecessary suffering. Head and insides eaten headless cactus intact not a feather found besides the one hen dropped possibly spooked by me and my horse. Weasels can slip into a coop through an opening as small as one inch, and a family pack can do significant damage to a flock in an amazingly short time. When they are done only a few big feathers remain and some larger bones that are picked clean and will look …old. After the loss of any member of your flock, you’ll need to answer the following questions to get a sense of what happened. after all the stories etc.. why is no one using elec wire around their coops and pens? So far, they seem to leave the chickens alone, but eggs both go missing entirely and are left empty shells. If it gets wet it becomes caustic and will burn your poor chickens' skin. So, if your chickens disappear from your pen or chicken coop, it may be a fox. No more dead birds. My daughter lost three last night. Don’t worry about noise because more is better when scaring predators off. My sister’s free-range chickens are locked up each night, but the other evening a weasel got into the coop and killed several chickens. The question is, who or what killed them? Having raised chickens for several decades, I’ve had my share of signs to evaluate — the feral cat that persisted in nabbing newly hatched chicks from under my mama hens, the fox that made off with two of my layers, the bobcat that carried away a turkey and came back for more. I lost all my 25 chickens last night .i have no idea what it is , no blood no feathers laying around all the bodies were there .some where in piles . I imagine must have been several that night. Amazon product data was last updated on 2020-11-24. Well my chickens have been dying recently and also one of our ducks … some had their head torn off and some the guts eaten out with a pretty good sized hole, and I don’t know what it could be. The other 9 are traumatized, but doing ok and did not get hurt. 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