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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Something is taking my 3 month old chicks out of the house, eating the meat off the neck and killing the chicks. I found 2 of the chicks, a buff orpington and a rhode island red. Both chicks were intact, except for the neck area which had been eaten.

In the past week around 9 chicks have come up missing.

Last night I set a live trap, this morning nothing was in it.

Today, May 5, 2016, my girlfriend and I went to Circle 3 feed in Jasper Texas where we bought 16 buff orpington chick and 6 Ideal 236 chicks.

Next was a trip to tractor supply in Jasper Texas where I bought a couple of more live traps.

This evening I am going to set out 2 live traps, 2 handhold barrel traps, and 2 trail cameras around the chicken house.

Will update and post pics later.

Update 5-9-2016

Over the past several days I have set live traps out baited with sardines, peanut butter, store bought chicken and blue berries. The predator will not mess with the traps.

Going to set a foothold trap under the wall of the chicken house tonight.

Update 5-9-2016 9:04 pm central time

Trail camera and trap are setup.
 

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People Are Not Good
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Something is taking my 3 month old chicks out of the house, eating the meat off the neck and killing the chicks. I found 2 of the chicks, a buff orpington and a rhode island red. Both chicks were intact, except for the neck area which had been eaten.

In the past week around 9 chicks have come up missing.

Last night I set a live trap, this morning nothing was in it.

Today, May 5, 2016, my girlfriend and I went to Circle 3 feed in Jasper Texas where we bought 16 buff orpington chick and 6 Ideal 236 chicks.

Next was a trip to tractor supply in Jasper Texas where I bought a couple of more live traps.

This evening I am going to set out 2 live traps, 2 handhold barrel traps, and 2 trail cameras around the chicken house.

Will update and post pics later.
How close are you to Mexico?
 

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Cave canem
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If this is happening at night then instead of trying to trap the predator you need to secure the hen house.

If you can't secure the hen house immediately then maybe you can secure the chicks (my chicks sleep in a cat carrier reinforced with hardware cloth over the vents as extra protection against snakes at night).
 

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Survivor
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If this is happening at night then instead of trying to trap the predator you need to secure the hen house.

Free night time chicken dinners will attract a long line of predators and you can't trap them all.
I agree, lock that chicken coop up tighter than a frogs behind. :)

I ended up building a vertical sliding door that I could open and close from outside the chicken yard which worked fine for smaller varmints. But didn't help a bit when the bear came along and ripped the main door off.:eek:
 

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Cave canem
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Also if 9 chicks are missing without a trace (no feathers or blood?), and 2 were dragged outside and only partially eaten it sounds like there may be two different types of predators at work.

If you can manage to secure the chicks (maybe lock them up in the garage/house for the night?) you could try dusting with flour and looking for little footprints or slither marks to identify likely culprits.
 

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Clues of type predator? Tracks, (rake out area around the coop, so you can see tracks.) Droppings? Claw marks on the chicks?--Owls? Other feathers than the chicks
My guess weasel...

Screen off with 1/4" hardware cloth, top and skirt under ground. A night recon seems in order--maybe working shifts--some sort of silent alarm? With an air rifle, or .22 depending on local regs.

What is the lighting situation around the hen house.

My guess is that you will have difficulty catching the critter in a trap. But hope you do soon.
 

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Rat. Weasel would kill everything, just for the fun of it.
Weasels/mink certainly would. You wouldn't have any birds left at all if it was one of those.

My guess would be a rat too.

As others have said, I'd focus on more completely securing the coop; if they can't get in, you don't need the traps; but if the opening stays there, you'll keep taking losses.
 

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In Memory
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Experience at our BOL taught me martins are notorious chicken killers.
Smart, sly sneaky SOB's.
Took me a week to live trap the feisty little critter.

 

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Something is taking my 3 month old chicks out of the house, eating the meat off the neck and killing the chicks. I found 2 of the chicks, a buff orpington and a rhode island red. Both chicks were intact, except for the neck area which had been eaten.

In the past week around 9 chicks have come up missing.
As other posters have said, it sounds like two different predators at work. One of them is most likely a rat or multiple rats.

Last year, half of my natural born/hen raised baby bantam chicks disappeared without a trace over a period of a week. After polishing off most of the chicks, the rats started occupying the chicken coops at night and in general making a mess, eating up the feed, eating eggs, tearing up the ground burrowing, etc. That's how I know it was rats. Been killing them by hand, with cats, and with a cement/flour/sugar mix in a bowl to entice them to eat it and go die in the woods afterwards.

Since I lost 7 hens these past two weeks, I bought some baby chicks from Tractor Supply last week, despite my stated original intentions in an earlier thread that I was not doing chicks this year. I will be keeping them in my house until they are fully feathered and big enough to not be a rat dinner. I use a stock tank and a large dog crate to keep the chicks contained.

If you have a cat or rat dog you trust, put it in the coop overnight with the chickens. One of my tomcats has been unintentionally locked in the coop a couple times with the bantams and he did not harm them. Half a day on one occasion and a day and a half on the other. I could tell the rats did not visit those occasions since there was no new burrowing nor excess feed or eggs missing.

I'm ripping off S610's cat carrier idea to use when the chicks feather out enough to go outside into the coop except I bought a medium size dog crate for this purpose.

Easier to lock up the chicks for defense than to catch the chick killing culprits!
 

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Gotta agee S610, can we see a pic of the coop you have? Outside perspective and all. everything I researched before building talked about security, 1/4" hardware cloth, no entrances without locks, etc.

I do hope you find what has been taking your chicks, and I am looking forward to seeing developments. Best of luck.
 

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Somewhere on a ranch...
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Kev, I used to live in deep East Texas and we had skunks doing that to our chickens. Never caught any of them in traps, but secured the coops better and that solved the problem. That and a Ruger 10/22!
 
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