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Chicken massacre 2010 :(

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  • Chicken massacre 2010 :(

    I got to the barn today to a horrifying site.

    A few weeks ago I decided to add to the small group of hens I had at the barn I manage. We have a very large pen with fully enclosed (or so I thought) runs and a nice little set up in the coop (which in and of itself is very large). Overall I came home with 12 baby chicks. We lost a little guy the first day unfortunately, but she wasn't looking good when I got her.

    Over the past few weeks they have gotten huge and their little secure hutch inside the coop was getting a bit small for all 11 chicks. I decided to take the larger ones (5 total) out of the hutch and put them out with the 3 large hens I have. All was well. Daytime they were out with the grownups and at night locked up with the smaller ones.

    Well last night something got into the coop, despite it being closed. i don't know what it was. I highly doubt it was a fox as there really is NO space for a fox to get in, nor did they get ahold of any of the large hens. But all but 2 of my poor baby chicks were gone. I guess in the commotion of the break in they popped the hutch open (faulty latch I have been meaning to fix). And after that it was just a massacre... legs everywhere.... but oddly enough, no feathers. and only one body was left in the runs outside the pen. Poor Chevy was headless and had a leg ripped off. But there was no feathers or blood really. The only feathers I found were about 25 yards away from the pens.

    After searching around I found a larger black chick that was barely alive. But no actual wounds anywhere, just very hot and not looking good. As of now shes doing better but still on the edge.

    later in the day one of the guineas popped up in the woods trying to get back to the pen. I grabbed her so im back to 4 live ones right now. but Im devastated. All my poor kids

    I hope it was swift .. god speed little ones

    I have photos from 2 weeks ago when all were alive and well
    Last edited by fleur de duc; Jun. 16, 2010, 10:58 PM.
    True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
    ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
    ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~

  • #2
    I am so sorry, that must have been horrific to see.

    Godspeed to the little chicks!!


    • #3
      Oh, I am so very sorry, and I know what you mean about hoping the end wa quick.

      I have chickens and a few years ago raised a batch of 16 babies. I thought our coop was predator-proof, but came out one morning to find that something had killed all but two (who were terrified and never the same again) and eaten their heads but left the bodies. I was really traumatized by seeing over a dozen headless baby chickens laying there.

      Later I noticed a really small hole up above the door to the coop. We think that either a skunk or possibly a cat got in there. You have to lock them in two enclosures, almost, ie, a hen house inside a pen, both locked up at night.

      I'm really very sorry. I love my chickens and have had many live to be 10 years old!


      • #4
        Probably a coon. Maybe a possum.

        Even a properly fastened latch wouldn't have stopped it. A raccoon can open latches; they're really smart.

        It will be back to eat more, so whatever repairs you need to make do it quickly.
        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
        -Rudyard Kipling


        • #5
          Give the one survivor some sugar water too. If it's going to help, it will help quickly. I'm sorry for your loss.
          "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."


          • #6
            I have seen coons tear up a hole in the wall or roof to get to grain.

            As a little kid, we were raising five little ducklings,
            They were maybe 2 1/2 months old, when one day, checking on them in the evening in their little coop, a big RAT was in there, had killed one and was dragging the other around by a leg.
            The rat ran off and we took the ducklings into the house and kept them there until next morning, where we could add wire to the floor, where the rat had dug thru.

            The one she was dragging survived, but with a limp.
            I hope yours does ok.


            • #7
              I am so sorry. My friend who raises chickens recently lost 14 to coyotes, although one came back a couple of days later, so the total loss was 13. It's so sad and I hope they didn't suffer.


              • #8
                Oh, that's terrible! A raccoon, or a coyote? Poor chickies!
                I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


                • #9
                  Raccoon or weasel of some sort, would be my guess. Rarely would a possum do so much damage--coons are the ones who slaughter on genocidal scale as you've described. Cats don't kill chickens like that, IME. Coyotes would take and run.

                  Chickens are fragile creatures, easily "scared to death" by traumatic situations like this.
                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks everyone. We do have a small population of coyotes here but this is a very populated area. ITs actually in the middle of a development and surrounded on all sides by houses and people. Plus i know something that big couldn't have gotten in. We are thinking weasel too right now, but not 100% sure. The odd thing is that there really wasn't much left besides legs. and by legs I really mean just feet. Everything else was eaten or taken in exception of one body who was decapitated and had one leg ripped off.

                    I didn't think opossums or coons would eat it all or even take it all. Anything worth eating was gone except that one. And they weren't itty bitty anymore. Some were decent sized.

                    Also the large hens were unscathed. That makes me think it was something of a smaller variety.
                    True love is taking their pain away and making it yours
                    ~rest in peace momma (7/5/08)~
                    ~rest in peace thomas (6/2/11)~


                    • #11
                      SO sorry for your loss. Oh my. What beautiful babies!

                      If it was a coon, I did see one on the side of the road this morning, dead if that makes you or anybody feel better. Road kill. So maybe it was the one? It was a new dead. I ride my bike each morning on the same route. If the buzzards don't find it, it will bother me each day until it is gone. ICK.

                      I did come across yet another box turtle trying to cross the road. I got off my bike and pushed it with my foot to the edge, and past it so it would be safe.

                      One less coon to terrorize somebody's chickens, or ducks, or feed/hay room(mine). I am all for that. My most delightful moments are when I see dead possums. Can't see enough of them dead on the roads. My friends horse was just diagnosed with EPM.

                      I always at battle with the skunks, coons, and possums. They seem to love my barn. GRRRRRRR. Get out, and walk the striped line on the roads!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                        I have chickens and a few years ago raised a batch of 16 babies. I thought our coop was predator-proof, but came out one morning to find that something had killed all but two (who were terrified and never the same again) and eaten their heads but left the bodies. !
                        I bet you had a weasel get in. When I was researching them online I came across a source that said they eat the heads and drink the warm blood. Ick.

                        Poor littles chicks. Hope the new security system works.

                        BTW - I like the first picture. Very cute pair!


                        • #13
                          Probably a weasel. If you are in a polulated area... I know some friends who have been having problems with Ferrets. not wild, but people letting pet ferrets loose when they don't want them anymore Sad for the ferrets


                          • #14
                            Oh no. I'm so sorry. I will be completely honest and admit that this is why I can't have chickens even though I want them so badly. I'm just too afraid of all of the predator eating chick stories. Yes, even chicks and farm animals become my little babies. I'm that crazy animal person.


                            • #15
                              Poor chickies. I'm so sorry you had to experience that.

                              In the case of coons, is there any fool-proof way to keep them out? We want to build a small coop and get some chickens as soon as our barn is built. Unfortunately, with help from a nearby "wildlife rehabber" (more accurate: delusional animal rights whacko) that lives nearby, the coon population is absolutely booming. Hubby doesn't like to shoot them... although he'd have a hard time holding me back if they massacred my birds. What extra steps should/could be taken?
                              "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                              • #16
                                I suspect you'd need a fence of electrified netting surrounding the coop.



                                • #17
                                  The saddest part is that if you still have birds...whatever it is that got them...will indeed return. Hot wires work well. Is your coop covered? Could have also been an owl or hawk. Have you heard of how to "wire skirt' your pen? You run mesh wiring around the bottom about 18 inches long that 'skirts out and is lightly covered by dirt and rocks...so that when a predator comes up to the fence to dig..they are actually standing on the wire. when they dig - they dig into the wire and it hurts thier feet.


                                  • #18
                                    There's coffee in that nebula.


                                    • #19
                                      I'm so sorry. Coons will usually remove the head and drink the blood. Possums prefer the guts. Sometimes they'll drag one off. It is possible that one did the killing and something else "cleaned up". A wire skirt is a good idea, that and a .22. For the survivors, give a few drops of Poly-vi-sol without iron twice a day. It's an unfortunate thing about chickens, they die really easily. I believe it was George Carlin that said he would never have a pet, because it's like buying a tiny tragedy. Guess I'm a glutton for tears.
                                      "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                                      • #20
                                        Poor baby chicks! I read about someone down in one of the southern states that had problems with snakes getting into their chicken coops and eating the chicks. Ick!
                                        __________________________________________________ _
                                        Proud member of PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals!