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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Our new additions are 20 Black Jersey Giants, 10 Black Tailed White Japanese, 5 black silkies, 3 White Crested Black Polish, and 10 Silver Sebrights. At 3.5 weeks old, the Giants grew too big to continue living happily in the livingroom brooder so we moved the BTWJ's, Silkies and BJG's out to the medium-sized brooder outdoors. It's fairly well sealed and no predators bigger than 1" would be able to get in.

SIX(!!) of the Japanese are GONE!!! This occurred over about a week's time. All of the black chickens are there and fine, including the silkies. There are no injuries on them. There are no feathers or carcasses.

What predator will seek out white chickens vs black chickens? What predator leaves no trace they have been there? I would think any creature small enough to get into the brooder would go after the easiest prey, which would be the silkies or slower JG's. The only critters I could think of would be a snake or rat, but there are no tracks or traces of either.

I've moved everyone out to the big coop, but have no faith they are safer there.

Any ideas? Advice? Help!!!

Peggi
 

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Sorry to hear that. I wonder if the white birds were just easier to grab. Racoon will stick their arms in thru the 1" holes and pull chicks right thru.
 

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Peggi said:
Our new additions are 20 Black Jersey Giants, 10 Black Tailed White Japanese, 5 black silkies, 3 White Crested Black Polish, and 10 Silver Sebrights. At 3.5 weeks old, the Giants grew too big to continue living happily in the livingroom brooder so we moved the BTWJ's, Silkies and BJG's out to the medium-sized brooder outdoors. It's fairly well sealed and no predators bigger than 1" would be able to get in.

SIX(!!) of the Japanese are GONE!!! This occurred over about a week's time. All of the black chickens are there and fine, including the silkies. There are no injuries on them. There are no feathers or carcasses.

What predator will seek out white chickens vs black chickens? What predator leaves no trace they have been there? I would think any creature small enough to get into the brooder would go after the easiest prey, which would be the silkies or slower JG's. The only critters I could think of would be a snake or rat, but there are no tracks or traces of either.

I've moved everyone out to the big coop, but have no faith they are safer there.

Any ideas? Advice? Help!!!

Peggi
I would say get a game camera. That way you will know what did it and what time it did it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wonder if the white birds were just easier to grab. Racoon will stick their arms in thru the 1" holes and pull chicks right thru.
There have not been raccoon in the area for a decade or more. We've had skunks, but none in the last year or so. Doesn't mean they're not here, we just haven't seen (or smelled) them. We live in SE New Mexico. Very dry climate. Not **** friendly.
 

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I have just a basic surveillance camera. Only thing is, mine doesn't record. Trail cams will catch everything and anything but be prepared to sort through many, many pictures. No they're not hard to set up. Mine is just plug in to power source, aim it, and plug the wireless unit inside to power source and the yellow & red wire to the yellow & red spot on the front or back of tv.
 

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If there are no bodies, no feathers and no blood anywhere, I am thinking your predator may be the two footed, five fingered kind. Do you think they were stolen? White chickens would be easier to see in the dark and easier to grab by a human.
 

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We have a trail can we got at Dicks Sporting Goods and it was maybe $100. Very easy set up, put batteries in , put computer card in, strap it to a tree and let it go.
 

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Could it possibly be a weasel/ mink. They can get in very very small holes.. As for white vs black, predators aren't racist, either the white birds are easier to catch, or some human has stolen your birds.
 

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About the trail cam: for $100 - $150 you get a decent model. Hunters use them to snap photos at a certain spot over time to see what critters are there. The images should have date and time and even moon phase (some models). Be sure that the SD memory card is included or that you have a spare. The model I bought did not include one, so 1) my price comparisons were skewed and 2) It wouldn't work until I made another trip to town to buy the card.

Sorry about your missing birds - that is a puzzle.
 

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I agree with the human predator idea. No signs, no feathers, only Japanese gone. I think your predator stands on 2 legs, and has opposing thumbs on the front appendages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks to everyone for responding. I HATE to think a two-legged predator would be involved. This evening I saw a fox, but it's too big to get into a 1" hole and the coop is pretty stout. We don't have weasels or mink around here in the desert of SE New Mexico. No skunks lately. It has to be snake, rat or two-legged rat snake. No signs of snakes out yet -- still too cold at night. Could be a rat.

*sigh*
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
We got electric fence yesterday. Next investment is the camera. I didn't realize the extent we were going to go to in order to keep them safe! I keep telling my husband, "This is the hard part, raising them and getting their coop and environment safe. After everyone is established, it WILL be much easier." I hope that's true!
 

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I think that it was a human. I don't thinly that an animal would care what it grabbed, not would it grab six of the same breed. It looks to me as if you have a chicken poacher. So sorry:(
 
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