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Author Topic: Predator Problems!!!  (Read 1479 times)

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Offline BottleFed

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Predator Problems!!!
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2010, 07:01:46 AM »
I have had poultry (chickens and ducks) in an outdoor enclosure, 40x120, for a couple of months now and haven't had any problems with predation until late last night/early this morning. 4 twelve week old roosters perished, two were found approx 15' from the door and the other two were approx 20' and 30' from the building. All were in cleared areas, not in the tall grass. Only one was missing it's head. I couldn't tell for sure if the rest were killed in the neck area or not as the rest of the flock had gotten to them and picked them. The one only had feathers missing on his thigh and ribs but the rest were opened up. There is a fifth that survived and he is in a nursery pen. He has some puncture wounds on his breast. 

Does this sound like a predator anyone is familiar with? I have not dealt with predators for a few years so I don't recall the signs each leaves. We do have coons, fox, possum, weasel/mink, and skunk in the area. Whatever it was it didn't take any of the Muskovy ducklings that are in the same pen which I find odd since they would be easy picking.

The pen is 6' high woven wire with no top. There was a spot in the gate (the weakest point) where the wire appeared to have been pushed up to get out of the pen. 

I've been leaving the door open 24/7 for the past 1 1/2 months but I'll be closing it every night now!

Could this have been a dog?? 

Any ideas or sites to check would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!!

REPLY:
I am sorry to hear about your bad night.  I sure hate when that happens.  I don't think any member of the dog family was to blame as dogs always start at the rear.  I'd rule out skunks and possums as well due to the age and number of birds killed. 

From the number killed, age and the fact that they were not completely eaten my guess is raccoons.  They are serial killers, leave much of what they kill behind, and bite the necks of the birds.  They are also big enough to do the damage you experienced.   These guys are very crafty but also dependable as clock work when it comes to returning night after night.  When I had 2000 egg layers I had a problem one night (barn was closed) got up at 1 am, no coon.  Got up at 3 am coon had come and gone.  Next night I got up at 1 am and at a little after two a mother and her young were about to begin work.  I had my 22 with me and 3 evenings later we had some free-range roast raccoon!  It was delicious.

BTW, here is a book that might help you in the future:

May Safely Graze by Eugene L. Fytche. Excellent Advice on Protecting Livestock from Predators. Includes fencing; guard donkeys, llamas and dogs; hunting, trapping; and other enclosures. Several charts are included which address the effectiveness of the various systems.

Herman Beck-Chenoweth