Caught on Camera: Man steals chickens from backyard coop in New Orleans

Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 at 5:26 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A backyard chicken farmer woke up to find his chickens had fled the coop, but what he didn’t expect to find was a predator had taken them and it was all caught on camera.

The farmer, who wanted to remain anonymous, says he woke up Sunday morning to find his chicken coop was empty. All six of his hens were missing.

“The next morning when they weren’t there for feeding time, and the coop was open, you know we needed to figure out what happened,” he said.

Surveillance video in the coop captured a man plucking the hens out one by one.

“When you look at the tape, you kind of expect to see a raccoon or opossum or things like that, and instead what I found was a super predator,” he said.

The predator first attempts to scoop the chickens out through the hen door using a stick. When that failed, he goes around to the back of the chicken coop, unlocks and opens the main door, and removes the chickens.

“Oh it’s violating,” said the farmer. “Losing chickens is part of having chickens, but when you know that a person came in and did it, it feels a lot worse.”

With no chickens and only one carton of eggs left from his flock, this backyard chicken farmer is hoping someone can identify the Bywater broodnapper.

“I would love to have my chickens back, but the odds of getting them back is pretty slim,” he said. “I think the best that I can hope for is that maybe somebody will recognize the man in the photograph and he’ll be publicly shamed.”

He said it’s a shame that it’s come to this, but now he’s warning other urban farmers; urging them to take more precautions when it comes to protecting livestock.

“You can do a lot of predator proofing, but the lesson for me is that this doesn’t stop a human,” he said. “I guess my message to any backyard farmers out there is put padlocks on your coop.”

The farmers said he filed a claim with the New Orleans Police Department online.

According to Louisiana law, theft of livestock can come with a $5,000 fine, imprisonment with or without hard labor for up to 10 years, or both.

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