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Tragedy in the hen house

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    You may have read my other post about hatching out some Welsummer eggs. After the hot weather we ended up with only two hatched out, and after much searching I finally found a local breeder with something other than silkies or generic cross bred layers. So we went to get some more to add to the numbers.

    We brought home six 5 week old pullets and one cockeral a bit older. We had them in a tractor on the vege garden. The vege patch is fenced securely to keep the possums out.

    Only two days after we got them home a fox? struck and killed one pullet and fatally injured the cockeral. I had named him Will, as in Will Welsummer, and it was a nasty discovery.

    The fox struck in daylight. It hadn’t dug under the wire, but seems as though it waited until they were close to the side and then pounced and dragged them through the wire. It was most gruesome. All I found was a head and leg of the pullet. The cockeral was bigger and perhaps couldn’t be pulled through the wire so it was still inside the coop.

    Its our first foray into having chooks and quite a sad start 🙁

    We have moved them into what was the kids cubby where they are totally secure. Our golden retriever had barked a couple of times through the afternoon and I thought he was barking at the chickens, but must have been barking at the fox.

    Our dog also chased a goanna up a tree around the same time. I know goannas take eggs, but do they also take birds? i thought fox since the body was nowhere to be seen. Whatever it was scratched at the dirt outside the cubby where the pullets were last night.


    It’s a horrible thing to find. :hug::hug:


    So sorry nlac. :hug::hug::hug:z for you.

    Foxes can drag chookens through fences. I don’t know what goannas can do.

    Foxes are very, very clever.



    I’m so, so sorry to hear this and can’t imagine how gruesome that would have been. You poor thing 🙁

    I almost came home to tagedy myself, yesterday afternoon. I had gone out for just over an hour and pulled up on my bike when my neighbour ran out and frantically told me that our dogs were in the chook area (the pen and house are in a corner of the garden, which is also fenced off to keep the dogs away from the pen and scaring the chooks). I had to ask the neighbour to mind my 2 year old whilst I went down to make the discovery. Thankfully, the pen is Fort Choox and the dogs had had no success. Turns out one of the dogs had chewed through the rope that keeps the gate closed. A quick trip to Bunnings to get some thick chain sorted that out. Hopefully!

    I’m surprised your dog didn’t mince the fox – I’m pretty sure mine would at least try have a nice meal if a fox got into our yard (not that they have access to the chook area, so it wouldn’t be much help).

    I hope you can source some new chooks soon.



    Hi nlac, we have been having trouble with disappearing chooks.

    A goanna ripped/pushed/chewed? a perfectly round hole through newly erected brand new chicken wire several months ago. There were two holes there.

    Hasnt got back in once repaired it, but the last few weeks both neighbour and I have been loosing chooks. Not a fox this time.

    The fox will have a killing spree, then take one, leaving the dead so its got something to come back for. They do venture out broad daylight when they have cubs to feed though.

    Definitely a dog has been involved as has taken at least one of mine. Silly dogs owner told the neighbhour one of his dogs came home with a chook in its mouth!! My chook!!

    But both of us have seen the goanna frequently before loosing more animals, during the afternoon too.

    I let mine out when here, but a few days ago lost two while they were freeranging in afternoon. It must hide closeby in long grass.

    It took the head off a 4wk old baby chick in a movable pen outside.

    Goannas have been caught in the neighbours chook pen stealing the eggs, also right outside their front door.

    We have two goannas, one a 5ft and one a 3ft.

    So I would guess that the goannas are having a chicken licken, fat fluffy time of it. !!

    I caught it trying to scratch its way into a raised quail cage. It cant get them. The maggies/minor birds were screeching warnings.

    So I reckon its a good chance that its a goanna!!:@


    That’s so sad. I’m sorry for your loss. 🙁


    Thanks for the nice comments all.

    Interesting info about the goanna happyvalleyherbals.


    Oh that must have been so horrible for you to find.

    I’m so sorry you lost your chickens.



    🙁 :hug:


    So sorry about the chookies-I remember years ago coming home to find my flock of Welsummers and Barnvelders decimated by a neighbours Jack Russell-horrible. Also had a bad experience with a Quoll killing a flock of baby ducks, we nearly caught him at it as there was still a couple alive, the corpses ranged from stiff, cold and nearly totally eaten to still warm with their heads bitten off-very gruesome. Years ago we lived near a battery hen farm and sometimes the foxes would get in bite the chickens feet off where they protruded thru the wire bottomed cages….poor things.


    I know how you feel – we lost 3 out of our 4 turkeys a couple of nights ago, two of which where left in the paddock with only their heads removed and who were found by our children. It had attacked the neighbours chooks / ducks earlieri the week, and we thought we had secured the pen (placed chicken wire over the ringlock fencing and had dug part of it underground with bricks on top. It still managed to dig under it.

    Apart from baiting (which is not an option for us), I dont really know what else to do. The remaining turkey in now living with the chooks who are closer to the house and have a much higher and secure fence, but I know you really cannot keep turkeys and chooks together due to risk of disease.


    Hi nlac, I have seen first hand what goannas will do and I have no doubt that it was the goanna that was responsible for the killings.

    I have seen a goanna sit out side a pen and wait until the bird pokes it’s head through the wire, it’s as though they memorize their victims or the birds are inquisitive enough to have a closer look or peck and as soon as the bird sticks it’s head through :rip: small chickens are defenceless and naive without a hen to teach them the dangers, it sounds like you are on top of things now, we know when something is near the chooks during daylight hours by the the commotion the native birds make, they even show us exactly where they are.

    Sorry for your loss, it’s never easy but it’s all part of the journey.


    I had no idea goannas would do this! There were plants around near the pen so i can see how it could have hid and waited til they were near the wire…

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