View Full Version : Chickens murdered by mysterious varming?
Oct. 14, 2009, 11:21 PM
I have my chickens living in my aluminum Featherlite stock trailer. There are some small cracks where the doors close in the back, but it is pretty solid. Something has grabbed one of the chickens THRU the crack, ripped its head off, and come back later for the rest of its body. Same varmint killed another one that was feeling sick and in the chicken ICU in the barn - a metal dog kennell with abt 2x4 inch openings. Killed and dragged through the little holes. Same thing has been breaking into cat food and horse feed bags in the tack room -tipping over paint etc - driving me nuts and not doing much for chicken morale. Any ideas? We're in VA and have plenty of wildlife - foxes, beavers - but I'm thinking raccoon - any ideas? Need to get rid of it, but I've never seen it.... Most happen at night, but chicken corpse, minus head, disappeared during the afternoon. (Finder of corpse was not amused at idea of burial, and had gone for reinforcements....)
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:07 AM
Could be raccoon, could also be owl or weasel. Put chicken wire over any openings. Something knows you have dinner waiting for them and it will happen until they're all gone unless you put chicken wire up asap.
Oct. 15, 2009, 12:09 AM
Weasels can fit through tiny openings and take larger prey. Raccoons are pretty big animals. Skunks love eggs, not sure about the chickens.
Oct. 15, 2009, 08:04 AM
That's typical for a coon shopping for chicken dinner. Try sprinkling some flour on the ground around the coop and see what paw prints are there the next day.
(that was a tip I learned on Coth!)
Oct. 15, 2009, 08:56 AM
My mom had a weasel terrorizing the chicken house last fall - it wiped out all the chickens in 2 nights. They can get in the tiniest holes. Ripped heads off and rarely took the body. Nasty little buggers....
Oct. 15, 2009, 08:58 AM
Might also be a nasty opposum. That was what murdered my chickens. Caught him red handed. And, like Ron White said about what Texas would do if you killed someone in their state, I killed him back. Sorry about your babies. I love chickens, but they are simply helpless when it comes to defending themselves. I won't ever have anymore.
Oct. 15, 2009, 09:00 AM
All of the above. They can get into the smallest places.
Oct. 15, 2009, 10:00 AM
Do discourage visitors the barn I work at weekends keeps a radio on. The chickens stay loose in the barn and the critters have stopped dinning on them.
Oct. 15, 2009, 10:44 AM
Coon, fisher or stoat. (ermine/weasel) Most likely candidates.
Do sprinkle flour to determine by footprints. You can then check the prints against several online photos of those prints...although all three tend to be pretty similar and size of print and distance between them will determine which it is.
Get a trap, or borrow a trap and bait with chicken gizzards or livers that you can pick up at any grocery store. Don't bait with cold food...let them warm up and then bait the trap. Warm food smells a lot more than stuff out of the fridge.
Oct. 15, 2009, 11:24 AM
Skunks grab the head first and are bold enough to walk around during daylight. Possums eat them butt first. I've even heard of skunks grabbing one through the larger size chicken wire and pulling them mostly out with the head gone. To kill a skunk without a release of stink requires a very accurate head shot to the base of the skull. I wouldn't try trapping a skunk!!
Oct. 15, 2009, 01:11 PM
I'm sorry about your chickens. That's awful.
You can do flour and trapping all you like, but unless you make your chicken coop completely and totally secure, your chickens will never be safe from future predators looking for an easy meal. I hear hardware cloth works a lot better than chicken wire.