Euskal Oiloa Chicken Forum

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#1 2011-09-26 01:40:01

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

For Pete's Sake!!

I am so angry right now. My dogs have just taken after something. I heard Gracie, my 6 month old Great Pyr and my 3 year old Great Pyr, Tempest do "the angry growl" and take off like shots. I heard Gracie squeal but heard her keep going- she may have caught herself on the Neighbor's barbed wire. Anyway she came back shortly and Tempest, about 4 minutes later. I don't know if this is relevant to what has happened or not. I did a check of everyone like I always do if the alarm goes up. First I'll give a little background. All summer, my young EOs have grown up with Sparkle and Sequin in the back yard. It is fenced with 6 foot high chain link and Tempest sleeps with them at night. 4 days ago, I found Baby Victoria (again named by my daughter) on her back dead. Her head was missing and her neck skin had been ripped up over top of her head. She was wide open but her heart, liver, everything was untouched. I thought it had just happened because she was not in rigour mortis (stiff), but that can happen if the brain stem is gone. All of the other birds were calm and acting normally. I have been seeing a peregrine falcon around, but it was nowhere to be seen.  I decided to move all of the EOs into the little coop with a 6 foot high chicken wire on the inside, stucco wire on the outside for the run. They don't get let out until about 8:30, after the dogs have had ample time to patrol. Back to what just happened.  So I started checking everyone and there in the middle of the run (I'm sorry PG), is the oldest EO pullet I got from PG. Same thing almost. Dead on her back. Missing her beak and brain, 2 toes broken but not ripped open. Again no rigour mortis. What is going on??? And why only my EO pullets?  Both times no fence damage. Both very healthy pullets. Both not consumed. Everyone else, fine Help?.

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2011-09-26 01:40:01

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#2 2011-09-26 01:43:07

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Oh I should have added, the first one, her wings were perfectly ripped off and right beside her

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#3 2011-09-26 01:51:14

JaerhonChanteclerEuskies
Member
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 154

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

How much of the bird was missing I am thinkin weasle and it is taking EO's because theya re bold and not scared of it. They only like to eat the breasts and head.


Mainly raising Norwegian  Jaerhorn’s, Partridge  Chantecler’s, White Chantecler’s,  Euskal Oiloas, Ameraucana’s, Wheaten Maran’s, Barred Rock Cochin’s, White Silkie’s , Saxony Ducks, Rouen Clair ducks, Australian Spotted Ducks Lavender Guinea Fowl, Welsh Mountain Sheep, Cashmere Goats and Texas Longhorn Cattle.

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#4 2011-09-26 01:52:25

Island Girl
Member
From: Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Isla
Registered: 2011-07-06
Posts: 1403

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Yikes! That is awful Susan, as soon as I hear that a head is missing I think weasel/mink family. I am sure that other predators will do the same but I only have experience here on the Island with Ergots (mink family) and that is what they did to my 2 beautiful Hamburg pullets. Decapitated them and tried to remove them from the coop through a small hole. They were drained of blood too. Very creepy ... did your birds have any blood left in them? The rest of the birds in my coop were unharmed and only the 2 Hamburgs were killed. They were lighter colored than everyone else and definitely more flighty. Maybe that attracted the predator :huh:  I hope others on this site will have some more input for you.

XOX Monika

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#5 2011-09-26 01:57:30

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Weasel and flying predators were my first thought. JCE, do you guys have a weasel trap?  I have smelled skunk around here, but that run is so secure and not breached- the fencing goes two feet underground!  What about a raccoon. Both I'm sure happened in daylight, or they would have been in their coops.

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#6 2011-09-26 02:20:53

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

:sad: oh no Susan! This is my worst nightmare playing out. So close to winter, a whole season of raising chicks and then...

I hope you figure it out before you loose too many!!!


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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#7 2011-09-26 03:05:37

skeffling lavender farm
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From: Wiarton, ON, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-17
Posts: 2720
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Re: For Pete's Sake!!

I am so sorry Susan.  :sad: What about raccoons? Do you have them?  They will take heads too, and can climb and are very very strong.

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#8 2011-09-26 03:41:34

Island Girl
Member
From: Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Isla
Registered: 2011-07-06
Posts: 1403

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Just a thought, in case you don't want to spend the xtra $ on a trap that may not work. Our local feed store offers various traps/cages for rent, maybe there is someone locally on your end in case you need to try a few different ones. I hope this is over quickly for you.

XOX Monika

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#9 2011-09-26 04:03:06

JaerhonChanteclerEuskies
Member
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 154

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

A weasel is part of the skunk and when we caught one I was surprised by how much they smell like skunk. When we took it to a place where it could just eat mice the car we took it in smelled really bad afterwards. It could also be a raccoon they will occasionally take them during the day but if you smell a skunk smell I would guess weasel. You need a live mouse trap or something like it. I think we got ours a Lee Valley.


Mainly raising Norwegian  Jaerhorn’s, Partridge  Chantecler’s, White Chantecler’s,  Euskal Oiloas, Ameraucana’s, Wheaten Maran’s, Barred Rock Cochin’s, White Silkie’s , Saxony Ducks, Rouen Clair ducks, Australian Spotted Ducks Lavender Guinea Fowl, Welsh Mountain Sheep, Cashmere Goats and Texas Longhorn Cattle.

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#10 2011-09-26 12:37:59

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Ok so maybe weasel, skunk, raccoon, (falcon?). Why is it happening in the day? Why in a fenced area that the dogs aren't in? Why only one bird? Why not the free ranging ones? Why in 2 different pens, but the same flock? I need to figure this out so I can stop it quickly.

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#11 2011-09-26 13:02:49

Young Heritage
Member
From: Gainesville, Georgia
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 157

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Harder to catch something that can run anywhere like a free ranging chicken. In a run or coop they can be cornered. I would not think raccoon if it is during the day. Falcon or hawk would be my guess. I would not enter the coop with a dog in it either if I am looking for a meal. Do your EOs stand out from the rest of your birds in color?


FBCM and Euskal Oiloa

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#12 2011-09-26 13:52:56

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

True about cornering something in a small space, but the backyard is almost an acre. Basically free range. Not arguing here- I just need you guys to keep throwing out ideas cause I'm stumped. Thank you for your help

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#13 2011-09-26 19:16:11

Flat Rock Farm
Member
From: Branchton, Ontario Canada
Registered: 2011-07-03
Posts: 3359

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

skeffling lavender farm wrote:

I am so sorry Susan.  :sad: What about raccoons? Do you have them?  They will take heads too, and can climb and are very very strong.

I agree with Claire, I just had this happen this summer and it was a raccoon, got into the smallest hole which surprised me but he left a tuft of hair behind so I knew what it was.  They did the exact same thing as you described to my birds, just took heads off and some had the chest cavity taken, nothing else.  I would put everyone in lock down and start setting some lives traps, as once they get a taste they will keep coming back, it got five of mine before I twigged as to where it was getting into the barn.
Sorry for your loss, I hope you or your dogs catch whatever it is.
Paula

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#14 2011-09-26 19:37:16

Young Heritage
Member
From: Gainesville, Georgia
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 157

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

I would assume your runs are open on top with the size you mentioned. I would still lean toward a bird of prey. I have lost many to hawks and they will take the whole bird or just the parts you said were missing depending on the size of the predator and the size of the prey. If they cannot take off with it they will take the parts they want. Generally the head, and internals. They will only carry off the whole bird if it is smaller or close to the same size as the predator.  I am not saying it doesn't happen but I have never seen a coon feeding in the day time and I have been hunting them most of my life. I may have missed it but when do the attacks seem to happen?


FBCM and Euskal Oiloa

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#15 2011-09-26 19:59:19

3riverschick
Member
From: Ligonier, in Pennsylvania, USA
Registered: 2011-08-11
Posts: 64
Website

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Hi,
Pulled these notes off a 16 post thread "predators who eat head only" on the Marans Chicken Club yahoo list.

little weasels ;  skunk ; cat
  -------------------------------
I have had fox, mink, raccoons and owls eat heads.
-----------------------------------
See this link under weasel/mink:
http://icwdm.org/inspection/livestock.asp
--------------------
Chicken Predators: Your Chicken's Worst Nightmare
http://www.raising-chickens.org/chicken-predators.html
---------
Wildlife Damage Inspection Decision Tree
http://icwdm.org/Inspection/DamageID.aspx
---------------------------
Hope you catch it soon!

Last edited by 3riverschick (2011-09-26 20:28:46)


Karen Tewart
"The present is best served when we remember the past."

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#16 2011-09-26 20:35:03

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Thanks everyone. Well JCE's Mom brought me 2 traps today (thanks JCE's Mom!) so once I figure them out, I'll set them. I'm definitely thinking weasel or falcon but we'll see. I can't imagine a raccoon going unnoticed by the dogs. And yes it was in the daytime both times and no my runs aren't covered though there are lots of trees. Wish me luck! I'll keep you posted.

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#17 2011-09-26 23:10:48

Flat Rock Farm
Member
From: Branchton, Ontario Canada
Registered: 2011-07-03
Posts: 3359

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Happy hunting Susan, hope you get whatever it is :thumbs:

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#18 2011-09-27 00:30:24

gubi
Member
From: Walton
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 1344
Website

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

good luck with your hunt!  I lost a bunch of chicks to a skunk this spring, he just ate the heads on most of them.  I used the dead chicks in the trap to trap the skunk.  He was able to get into a chain link dog kennel to get to the chicks!


Herd of Brown Swiss, a few sheep, red cuckoo basque, Silverspangled Appenzeller Spitzhauben, ameraucanas(EE), Welsummer, broodie silkies and a few more heritage hens

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#19 2011-09-29 04:54:10

Island Girl
Member
From: Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Isla
Registered: 2011-07-06
Posts: 1403

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

I have been on the mainland for a few days, just got back this evening and have been checking over recent posts. Was wondering how the trapping is going Susan? Any luck catching the darn creature?


XOX Monika

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#20 2011-09-29 12:46:05

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Thanks Monika, but nothing yet. Good news- no birds killed either :)

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#21 2011-09-29 14:09:39

Amblecroft
Member
From: Millbrook, Ontario
Registered: 2011-08-03
Posts: 448
Website

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Susan, sorry to hear about your chickens but I had the exact same thing happen this year.  It only took TWO NIGHTS, and me trying to figure out what it was and what to do, and by then I didn't have a chicken left to worry about.  It had killed all 14 of them! 

It was a weasel and if you have any opening that is bigger than 1/2 " then it will come back, and come back and come back.  Please lock your chickens away safely tonight or you may not have anything left.  Even if, just like Noah's Ark, you just bring two of each variety into the house in a dog crate--at least you'd have something left at the end of it!

Maybe you need a little Pyrenean Sheepdog to go with your Great Pyrenees?  They are the "alarmists" :-))  Not that mine did any good :-(  They could smell it and were around the coop like vultures through the day, but not through the night. 

Please put the chickens away until you've caught it!!


Susan Buttivant at Amblecroft,
Chaparral Pyrenean Shepherds and Petits Bassets
http://www3.sympatico.ca/chaparral/amblecroft.html

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#22 2011-09-29 14:16:57

Amblecroft
Member
From: Millbrook, Ontario
Registered: 2011-08-03
Posts: 448
Website

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

I JUST WANTED TO IMPRESS UPON YOU AGAIN TO LOCK THEM AWAY WHERE THERE IS NO HOLE FOR THE WEASEL TO GET IN :banginghead:   :banginghead:  unless you've got spare chickens you don't mind losing!

I was devastated as this was the first time in 30 years I ever had a predator problem with the chicken.   My husband, an electrician, hooked up an electrocution device on the window of my coop to catch the bugger but he never did come back.  If the weasel could count I guess he knew there was nothing left to come back for.


Susan Buttivant at Amblecroft,
Chaparral Pyrenean Shepherds and Petits Bassets
http://www3.sympatico.ca/chaparral/amblecroft.html

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#23 2011-09-29 21:41:23

Susan
Administrator
From: Saskatoon, Sask, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-28
Posts: 2540

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

I hear you Amblecroft and thank you. I do have them in 2 coops and they are locked in at night. There is one hole in one coop that a mouse made.  I will  cover it right now with hardware mesh. I wondered why I wasn't sleeping.... Thing is both attacks were during the day. But yes, they were 3 days apart. I guess today/tonight should be telling.

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#24 2011-09-30 04:11:35

Skylinepoultry
Member
From: Old Fort, Tennessee
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 222
Website

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Thats Horrible!!!  I've been lucky so far with predators not attacking anything yet. We've only been here since last November so its still early.

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#25 2011-09-30 11:25:19

poplar girl
Administrator
From: Athabasca, AB, Canada
Registered: 2011-06-30
Posts: 3159

Re: For Pete's Sake!!

Oh I hope you get the culprit really soon! Loosing chickens is a horrible thing. I will be almost happy to see winter come so that I can lock everyone up safe.


Raising red cuckoo (marraduna) Euskal Oiloak and self blue (lavender) & black Belgian Bearded d'Uccles.

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