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One by one, were mysteriously losing our hens. We lost one yesterday, one this weekend and 2 the weekend before. Since there is no evidence of anything taking them, the only thing we figure is that something like a Hawk or Vulture is taking them. But you'd figure our fat dopey dog would scare any birds away. It's so aggrevating. I keep telling dh he needs to build a pen with a roof around the coup- but I guess puttering around the garage and organizing his workbench is more important. If we keep going at this rate, we'll have zero chickens before they even start laying eggs.

****UPDATE*****

Part of the problem is that they are free range, they wander around the yard, fertilizing my lawn, garden, they eat all the bugs (haven't had any ticks since we've had them). Dh has bought the material needed to pen them in for whenever it stops raining. Sat, there were a couple of Hawks circling around over their coop area, so he went in and got the shotgun. Of course, when he went back out with it- they moved down by the road. They must have known their time was about up. But they didn't come back up by the house, so he didn't get them. DH is thinking maybe getting a few Ginneas next year will scare off the Hawks and the Turkey Vulture we have around here.
 

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Sorry to hear that Laura. I was going to say maybe you should get a dog, but then you say you already have one.
Maybe you can set up a camcorder if you have one and see if you can catch whatever is taking them and then you will know how to fight back.

Good luck!
 

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I think the cam corder is a great idea, if you don't have one, does a friend have one you can borrow? It must be really frustrating. Hope you figure it out soon!
 

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Chicken hawks are not very scared of dogs. But if it's a hawk you should have seen it circling. I have lots of chickens get gone without a trace and I had them in a pen with a top.
 

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Gremlins :toothy:
 

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I have to agree with you it's probably a hawk or maybe an owl. DH had trouble with those when he had his chickens.
 

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There are two things it CAN'T be--a vulture and a Barn Owl! Vultures are carrion eaters. They ONLY eat dead stuff. Barn owls are smaller than GROWN chickens and swallow their prey WHOLE (like a snake does). You WANT barn owls around--they eat the vermin that gets into your chicken food and other stuff stored in your barn. How do I know this? My dad used to be one of the foremost authorities on birds of prey in the U.S.!

There are several things it can be, but, if you're not seeing any animal evidence, I suggest the two-legged skunk (aka a low down dirty THIEF!).

Skunks will steal chicks, but racoons, foxes and coyotes will get a chicken. You would be surprised at how many DOGS (not necessarily yours!) will get them too. LARGE owls, such as a Great Horned, will take a chicken now and then if given the opportunity as will large hawks. You may also have bobcats sneaking in for them too, if you're in a very rural area. One last thought--if you own pigs, some WILL eat a chicken! Hope this helps.
 

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I'm sorry Laura, I know how you feel. We started losing a few of ours at a time and then suddenly something killed the whole flock, not a very pretty site to see, and then a day later we actually saw a large fox in the pen so we assume it was the fox that did it. Check your fence and make sure nothing can wiggle under it to make sure it's not a fox. We also had a golden eagle swoop down one day into the pen but he missed the hens and I only saw him that one time. Good luck, I hope you don't lose any more chickens. It can be a real battle because so many vermin seem to like chickens and unless you actually see the varmit it's almost impossible to figure out what's doing it.
 
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