Chicken Predators?

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Postby plebayo » April 2nd, 2011, 8:37 pm

This is very off topic but I'm a bit perplexed and sad.

A couple of years ago I got a chicken off of craigslist. Someone had gotten it from a person as a chick, the person was feeding is cockatiel food and taking care of it all wrong. This lady took the bird [Peeps] and treated her like a pet. She decided she was old enough to find a home and be a real chicken, I saw her ad and took the chicken to my parents to live with my remaining 2 chickens. Peeps was super friendly and she LOVED shredded cheese.

For the last year we've had a hard time keeping her in the coop area. The chickens have a shed they get locked in at night and during the day have a big yard to roam with trees and grass and places to dig. Peeps even with her wings clipped would climb out of the fence.

We had an old kiddie pool out in their yard [I had a duck for a while...] and it was turned upside down. My dad went out looking for Peeps a few days ago and found two piles of feathers near this pool, lifted the pool and found a nest of 9 eggs.

Well, I finally came out to their house today and on further investigation found Peeps, or what was left of her. Whatever killed her drug her to a corner of their yard, about 10ft away, all that was left was her wings, and then a few feet from that her feet and neck. I realize it has been a few days, so maybe whatever did it has come back?

Any ideas on what might do this? It wasn't the dogs as they can't get into the pen... I was thinking a Hawk but do you think if it was it would have carried her away? She was a smaller hen, maybe only about 3-4lbs. I find it hard to believe a cat would have been able to kill her - but I guess if it was a big tom. The other hens are fine, one of them is about a 4lber, the other is probably 6-8lbs.

Anyone have experience with things killing their chickens? I'm just kind of worried about the other hens, we lock them up at night, and this could have happened overnight when Peeps wasn't going inside.

I know it's a chicken, but she was a really cool hen - would have been a good candidate for clicker training, I'm just sad to see her gone.
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Postby cheekymunkee » April 2nd, 2011, 9:13 pm

Coyotes, dogs, big cats. Anything like that around your parents home?
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Postby BigDogBuford » April 2nd, 2011, 9:18 pm

Raccoons and foxes, too. Oh and weasels, too.
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Postby plebayo » April 2nd, 2011, 9:46 pm

They live in the city, there are coyotes nearby [like within a mile] but the entire chicken yard is closed by a gate - the dogs can't even get in, and my parents yard is entirely enclosed by a chain link fence.

I was thinking raccoon maybe as well... one website said they do have a tendency to behead things...

I've never seen an weasels around but this came to mind as well.

It's just such a bummer, I hope whatever it is doesn't come back for the other two!
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Postby ParisStreetPitCrew » April 2nd, 2011, 10:22 pm

Sorry to hear about Peeps. :(
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Postby TheRedQueen » April 2nd, 2011, 11:30 pm

Foxes are big chicken predators...I have a client with a bunch of chickens and ducks, and they've heavily fortified their pens...because the foxes dig in, wiggle through, etc...to get to the chickens.

Sorry to hear about Peeps...chickens are cool.
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Postby Malli » April 3rd, 2011, 2:58 am

sorry to hear :(

Mink are cunning predators as well, do you have a stream, river, or lake nearby?
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Postby iluvk9 » April 3rd, 2011, 7:00 am

Good-bye Peeps. :(
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Postby mnp13 » April 3rd, 2011, 9:51 pm

The first thing I thought of was a raccoon. I was taking care of someone's chickens and came up to feed them one day and there was a horrific mess in the pen. They were in the coop in the barn, but something had gotten in and killed one through the coop fencing. I called the owner in a total panic, and she said that it had happened before. Every so often a raccoon would manage to get in the barn even with the doors closed and locked, and it would grab a chicken by reaching through with a hand. The mess was beyond what I could deal with as an 8th grader, so she told me to leave it and called a neighbor to take care of it for me.

Sorry for your loss. Was she breaking out of the pen to go lay eggs in private??
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Postby plebayo » April 4th, 2011, 3:31 am

mnp13 wrote:The first thing I thought of was a raccoon. I was taking care of someone's chickens and came up to feed them one day and there was a horrific mess in the pen. They were in the coop in the barn, but something had gotten in and killed one through the coop fencing. I called the owner in a total panic, and she said that it had happened before. Every so often a raccoon would manage to get in the barn even with the doors closed and locked, and it would grab a chicken by reaching through with a hand. The mess was beyond what I could deal with as an 8th grader, so she told me to leave it and called a neighbor to take care of it for me.

Sorry for your loss. Was she breaking out of the pen to go lay eggs in private??


Interesting... I'm definitely leaning more towards raccoon now, especially since everything I've been reading say that skunks and opossums mostly go for the eggs. We have had skunk in our area... I haven't seen a raccoon in a long time but since I don't live there they could be out there.

She was getting out and laying her eggs elsewhere, by the time we would find her "nest" there would usually be several eggs. She's the only chicken we have had who refused to stay in the coop, she was a mix, and pretty athletic and even with clipped wings would actually climb the coop fence. About a month or two ago LiLo actually caught her in the yard and was going to kill her, I caught her in the act of carrying Peeps through the yard and since then Peeps stayed in more but would still get out every once in a while. The thing about our chicken yard is they have tons of space, they have dirt to dust bathe in and a decent sized green space - she just did not want to stay in.
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