There is a new predator backyard chicken keepers need to keep an eye out for. Chicken Thieves. Well, it's not really new it has been happening since people started keeping chickens. There have chicken thieves ever since people started keeping chickens but more and more backyard chicken keepers are keeping cameras on their chicken coops to see what predator may be lurking.
Signs that a chicken thief has been stealing your chickens are a bit different for different birds. Docile friendly chickens who like to be petted may disappear without a trace while flighty birds who do not like to be handle may lose quite a few feathers if someone tries to grab them. Typically, backyard flock owners who have missing chickens, scattered feathers on the ground or no feathers at all tend to think that some vicious predator like a raccoon, fox, weasel, or hawk may have took their poor chicken to a horrifying end. As a result, cameras are now becoming more and more popular around the hen house. People want to know exactly what (or who) is after their birds. I got an alert on my cell phone that something was moving around the coop. The chickens trigger the camera a lot as it is motion activated and I didn't want to put the pet filter on because the predator may be pet sized. I looked in the camera and watched in horror for a few seconds as a trusted neighbor stood outside my coop urinating toward my chickens. One of my Silkie roosters named "Mean Willie", who has no spurs and loves to attack anyone he considers a threat went into attack mode. Being attacked by this tiny fluff ball is rather amusing and doesn't really hurt unless you are bare legged like a larger breed rooster would, so I was shocked to see him snatch my chicken up and then started tucking him under his arm to hide the now docile rooster. By this time, I was on my way out the door and ran up to him. I asked him, "What do you think you are doing with my chicken" and he said, "He is my chicken now" and I insisted he give me the bird and he did then I asked him to leave my property. He gave me a sob story telling me his hen and chicks had been killed and all he had was a rooster left. He said he felt like I owed him two chickens because he worked for me two years ago and did a small amount of work for the two chickens, work I might add that he never finished. I had asked him when he was coming to get his chickens and he said he had no place to keep them. I told him to let me know when he did and I never heard another thing about the two chickens and that was almost two years ago. The chickens fell ill about a year and half later and died. I asked him if he wanted two different ones and he said, "No don't worry about it" and yet here he is almost two years later walking at a fast pace stealing my rooster. Wanting to do the right thing, (never mind about the year and half feed and care I put into taking care of his two chickens he never came back for) I offered to give him to Silkie chicks from my new hatch once they were big enough because I did not want any more trouble or have to worry about him coming back to steal more chickens. The moral of this story is that your chickens may be in danger from human predators who steal chickens. Some want to fight the birds, some want to harm or kill them, some just want them for sport and some steal chickens to sell them to other people
I know met someone whose husband killed some of her chickens every time he got mad at her he would go shoot at her chickens, another woman said she kept finding hens that wouldn't move around just sitting in one place, but she couldn't figure out what was wrong. She got a camera and then she found out because she caught her boyfriend stomping on one of her hens. The chicken thief is usually no stranger to your flock, has either been around them, knows his way around, doesn't like them, has a grudge against you and could be a neighbor, a relative, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, and even a trusted friend, as in my case. If you really want to know what is happening with your chickens get a camera. Keep in mind when placing cameras that they are out of reach or get spy cameras which can be hidden. It is not hard for someone to get behind a camera if they can see where they are. You need to post signs that say you have cameras where people can see them, so you will be able to use the videos to prosecute the chicken thieves. Keep your chickens in a locked coop at night and locked run during the day. If you think chickens do not get stolen by people watch the video below. Fawkner chicken thief caught in the act.
Featured Video: Fawkner Chicken thief caught in the act