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I'm Losing Chickens

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Posted October 22, 2013 - 09:04 AM

Ugh, since last Monday, I've lost 2 chickens and my guinea hen. Not exactly sure what's going on, but I am thinking either hawk or big ole owl.

Last Monday, I came home to a dead on inside the pen, but half eaten. Then 2 days later, find a small pile of guinea feathers outside the pen, she is missing.

This morning as I came out the door to leave for work, I could hear guinea and my rooster going crazy and a hen squalling. I ran down to barn and by the time I got down there, everything was quiet, some of the hens were huddled in the corners outside like they were hiding, the rest inside. There was a big piles of feathers in the middle of the pen and I could only hear only a slight rustle off in the distance. 

If it was a smaller ground animal, I would figure there would be some holes under fence or such. Even it it was a climber, I would've seen it as I got there right there after the commotion.

I saw an owl sitting in the field a week or two ago, it was the size a large turkey, it is huge and I know there is a pair out there. Not to mention there is a pair of very large hawks, as big or bigger than my rooster, that hang around too.

I have some of the 3' green plastic deer netting I will stretch across the top of pen, hopefully that wil prevent future losses.


I think I have a opposum eating any late laid eggs over night, I am finding shells in the morning, but all yolks are gone. Caught one in there last week eating chicken feed when I got there before the lights came on.


Had a fox last year stealing chickens when I let them out to roam, now this.

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#2 olcowhand ONLINE  


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Posted October 22, 2013 - 09:08 AM

Don't rule out Possum!  As slow as they seem to be, they can move fast when they need to.  Back when I had chickens, it seemed mysterious how mine were dying.  Finally caught the possum, and he paid the price!

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#3 Texas Deere and Horse OFFLINE  

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Posted October 22, 2013 - 09:10 AM

Sounds Like an adventure for the WildMan.


In all seriousness, I hope catch and get rid of the problem, once they start killing the chickens, they won't stop.

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Posted October 22, 2013 - 09:19 AM

I thought of the opposum, but it appears this last chicken was attacked and taken away right before I got there. Opposum would have had to drag it up and over fence an I would have heard/seen it when I got there.

hopefully i will figure it out soon.


Funny, my mom called me Saturday said the dog had killed an animal, it was lying by barn door. Then she said next time she looked it was gone so he was wrestling with an opposum, but didn't kill it cause well, it played dead haha

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#5 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted October 22, 2013 - 09:34 AM

I like to park a car and sit in it with a clear shot from a .22 to end problems. I have only shot woodchucks, squirrels and rats. I could not shoot an owl or a hawk they are rare and need to be preserved. I hope the fencing works but I'd bet on the opossum. Good Luck, Rick
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Posted October 22, 2013 - 09:56 AM

Hope you catch the culprit. We have problems with Coyote's. untitled turtleman.png Call the Turtleman!

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#7 hamman OFFLINE  


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Posted October 22, 2013 - 10:13 AM

Maybe get yourself a Game Camera or borrow one for a few days. It should help you identify what is getting your chickens. Good Luck. Roger.

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#8 skyrydr2 OFFLINE  



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Posted October 22, 2013 - 10:40 AM

 If it's a Hawk or owl, nice fine chicken wire over the top of the yard strung tight! They will screen themselves ! Or a stake out with a 3-1/2" magnum 12 GA. and goose shot!! That has great effect on would be predators :thumbs:  :shoot2:

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#9 JDBrian OFFLINE  


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Posted October 22, 2013 - 10:47 AM

Just like in those old disney cartoons it's a Chicken Hawk!

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#10 LilysDad OFFLINE  


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Posted October 22, 2013 - 01:09 PM

Boy! . . .   I say, Boy!

                                                  Foghorn Leghorn

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#11 oldedeeres OFFLINE  

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Posted October 22, 2013 - 01:50 PM

Is your fence chicken wire, or something with larger squares? Up here we deal with mink, which can get through a 2"x3" opening in a fence mesh. We have re-fenced the hen pen with cement re-enforcement wire since we learned this, and lined it with stucco wire as well. Expensive initially, yes, but so is losing stock, and once built it lasts virtually forever. All pens are 6' high, ( Oldedeere #2 is only 5'3" so that is ample, lol) and have chicken wire over the top. Yes, we have bounced a few hawks off them--- highly amusing! Owls tend to be nocturnal, so they shouldn't be the problem, and it takes a heck of a big hawk to take off with a fully grown hen, especially from a confined space like a hen pen. Do you have racoons? They are a problem up here as well, and can climb fences in a flash and cart off a hen easily. A fox will also climb a fence and take off with a hen, and a skunk will kill hens and dig in too, but they don't climb worth a darn. Hate to use the word rat, but they climb, dig, sneak through a space hardly big enough for a whisper and kill like little maniacs too. Can you bait a live trap with a chicken head and see what comes? Let us know what happens, O.K.?
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#12 SupplySergeant OFFLINE  


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Posted October 22, 2013 - 02:47 PM

Owls tend to be nocturnal, so they shouldn't be the problem, and it takes a heck of a big hawk to take off with a fully grown hen, especially from a confined space like a hen pen. 

If the coop doesn't have a night door, some hens like to sleep outside, especially if the coop is crowded or needs better ventilation. The redtail hawks here in Kentucky (and Ohio, for that matter) can easily get big enough to handle a hen, at least to take it out of the coop. I used to raise excess roosters in an open pen, quit when the local raptor population was eating more than me!


That said, possums and raccoons are still real possibilities, they are incredibly inventive when it comes to chicken dinner.


Good luck, Tahoe!  

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#13 ckjakline OFFLINE  



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Posted October 22, 2013 - 04:03 PM

I wouldn't rule out a raccoon.My uncle called me one night around 11 and said something took his kittens and had them in the tree.He said it sounded like they were being killed.He only lived a mile away so I grabbed the gun and flashlight then left.A raccoon had 6 kittens up in the big walnut tree in front of his house.They were already dead and he had his last feast.I never would've thought they'd go after kittens.Good luck w your problem critter.

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#14 EricFromPa OFFLINE  



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Posted October 22, 2013 - 04:55 PM

I had a couple rabbits eaten here this spring and 1 last fall.I got the darn critter responsible but I had to call the game warden to come and pick it up.He said that it was a Fisher.It looked like a Big Mink but had a shorter tail,Alot more very long teeth and was almost 4 feet long from nose to tail.




Pretty scary looking critter the 1st time you see one.Especially when they are known to attack people when threatened or rabid.

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Posted October 22, 2013 - 05:05 PM

Sounds like you need to spend some quality stake-out time with a fine shooting 22 or 12ga. :firejumper:

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