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Carcass processing help


At twilight this evening something killed half my flock.
No marks, bodies left behind.
Don't know what killed them if anyone can shed some light.

I gathered up the bodies but I haven't the energy to process tonight.
Whatever killed them for fun can starve!

I'll respect their lives by not letting anything go to waste.

But I'm gutted tonight pardon the pun.

I've never dispatched before but that job has been bloody done for me.

I've no problem processing.

Only question I have is:
Can I do this in the morning or does processing have to be done within a set time of death, example a hour??

Any advice appreciated.

Cork Wyandotte
Saturday, March 19th, 2022

Looks like you have mink problem. Check the legs and thighs for vampiric like marks. Mink drink the blood and leave the carcasses. You will have to try and catch and kill it. It will stay nearby now that a new food source has been located. It is probably going to come back when it gets dark and kill more and keep coming back until the food source runs out then you will have nothing left.
I suggest wait close by your hens quietly and when latches on to one have a spade or something something ready to deal a deathly blow.
A mink trap won't work when there is fresh blood.
Here is a link to a mink problem I had.
As for processing I wouldn't for the fear of what might be left behind after sinking it's teeth in.

Sunday, March 20th, 2022

I might have been wrong about a mink trap being useless. If you can get a mink trap put in near the chicken coop and bait with one of the carcasses.

Sunday, March 20th, 2022

A video made in Ireland on mink trapping.

Sunday, March 20th, 2022

Birds can be processed several days after death/ dispatch. Birds should be hung in the meantime.

It could have been a mink, pine marten, or even stoat. Pine marten are turning out to be more of a problem than mink, these days, with ever growing numbers. Try and find, and block up any entry holes in the pen, and place a trap, or traps, tight to the mesh, on the outside of the pen. Bait with heads from the dead birds.

Sunday, March 20th, 2022

Thanks all,

I did not know that.

I cooked one straight away and froze the others. While gutting I noticed numberous pin holes and a cut on each birds neck.

We do have pine martin here, I see them running around even in daylight sometimes, but I'm beginning to think it was fox as my brother saw found missing bird alive and screaming at back of house and fox was on her. I don't know how she survived.

Cork Wyandotte
Monday, March 21st, 2022

Sorry for the stupid questions but are Indian Game the same as Cornish Cross, just named different coz breed is from a different country/place?
I kept certain breeds over the years but never these.

Am I correct in thinking a male is about 9lbs and has a broad chest giving a good quantity of breast meat for the table?

Are these available in large fowl in Ireland?

Cork Wyandotte
Monday, March 21st, 2022

I think it's unlikely to be a fox in your case given the pin holes and cuts on back of neck. I am sorry you have lost your birds. It's heartbreaking. I too have had 2 attacks in the last 6 weeks but half of mine were taken away and those left were mangled so definitely a fox.

Joseph lawler
Monday, March 21st, 2022

I see a small vixen on the camera's at night coming through regularly, lately with a big male, as it's nearly that time of year. It could be both pine martin and fox. Only reason I thought this attack was fox is coz they'll be looking for food for cubs soon and my brother saw vixen on the missing bird at back of the house only 30 mins after the attack.
Yes, it's gutting to loose birds, we've had more than one attack over the years. Had 35 attacked in one night 7 years ago during a storm, only left with 2 roosters, and 3 bodies that weren't taken. I'm learning from each one though. None went to waste, all used or in freezer.
All the eggs in one hen she had 4 ready to go inside. Weren't supposed to be processed this soon.

Cork Wyandotte
Monday, March 21st, 2022

The Indian game is also known as the Cornish Indian game. Cornish cross is Indian game cross.
I do really hope you can resolve your problems predators.

Monday, March 21st, 2022

Broilers are produced by putting two similar strains of white Indian game x white Plymouth rock together. I thought this information might be useful.

Monday, March 21st, 2022

Cool, I did not know that.
Thank you.
So I need to find Indian Game.

I don't think I can solve the predator problem. Alot of different types kill chickens. We're just going to have to add more protection and outsmart them.

Cork Wyandotte
Monday, March 21st, 2022

I'm so sorry for your loss. It definitely sounds like the work of a mink.

For the carcasses, consider trying the "maggot bucket" method, there are lots of tutorials on YouTube. It sounds unpleasant, but it makes tons of maggots for your living poultry and you will save on feed. The carcass gets out I to a plastic bucket with small holes drilled along the sides, and the you put wood shavings or straw on top of the carcass to keep down the smell. Suspend the bucket above the ground by a tripod and within a few days, your living birds will have a feast. Maggots are a wealth of proteins and essential fatty acids. "The Ciiiiircle of Liiiiiife...."

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

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