Tonight was a bad night. We lost our flock master and only large fowl rooster, Twitch, to a predator tonight around 10 pm. We live in South central WI and if anyone has any suggestions as to what it sounds like I would greatly appreciate it.
What I know. Our flock was out late tonight BC DH2B was in the fields and didn't get home until 9:30 we were out for about a half hour but didn't bring them in BC DH2B was starving, so we were going to eat and then bring them in. Our flock is fooled by our yard light and frequently have to be brought in when the weather is nice BC they think it's still day time. We have never lost an animal to a predator although we've had a couple close calls with hawks. Our roosters do a great job protecting the ladies.
So firstly, we were outside and came inside just long enough for me to pee so less than 5 minutes, when we heard a huge ruckous. I flushed and ran outside thinking DH2B would also run and investigate, he didn't, but he's been in the fields all day so I kind of understand. Okay so I get outside and I see one of the broody's chicks a 4-5 week SLW standing in the middle of the yard cheeping, said broody is laying on her side under a tree. I thought she'd been attacked. She got up when I approached and seemed fine. I looked around and realized I only saw hens and our two bantam roosters. I walked towards the slw chick and found some feathers. Flight feathers, hackle and saddle feathers. Not a lot but enough that I was worried because I didn't see Twitch.
I ran in and grabbed DH2B and flashlights. And we searched and searched and searched. At first we assumed it must have been an owl. But then found a trail of sparse feathers(several of our flock are molting so feathers are in abundance around here but we were sure these were his) leading across the yard to our barn yard where the trail dead ended. We then started to wonder what could have done this and continued our search on foot. Before driving up and down the road to see if we could see anything. (I believe this is when the predator left the barn hard and headed into the field.) We ended up driving the truck out into the field behind out house on a whim. We saw eye shine and followed it. But the field was too rough and we were worried the old truck would get stuck(they redid the irrigator this year so there's some two foot deep ruts from trucks)
We got out and followed the eye shin on foot. Twitch was nearly 12-15 lbs and towards the bigger end of the scale. He was a massive bird and strong as an ox. Great with his ladies but aggressive to my mother and I. He was also quite good at fighting and dodging attacks. I know this from seeing him with our other roosters and from having to kick him when he came at me. His aggression had earned him a spot on a list of birds to cull. That being said I respected him he was a great flock master never started a fight with another roo and even though he would assert dominance and put them in their places he was kind and gentle to the other birds especially the hens.
Okay the point is although we never got a good look at the animal BC it kept it's distance it's eyes were very very close together and it was small very close to the ground. I know some animals can help be distinguished by the color their eyes shine, this animal's were green in the light. The ground is too dry for tracks but it left no blood and no drag marks. It was carrying the huge bird in its mouth. I believe it too small to have been a coyote. It didn't seem to act like a coon.
We followed it into the field and found a place where it was plucking Twitch still no blood or any tracks. It eyes never seemed to change height. It was fast and it went over a half mile carrying the carcass. We followed it to some train tracks near our house before we lost it following it down the tracks.
I'm not 100% sure what all we have around here but I know I have seen skunks, heard coyotes, DH2B saw a fox but it was about a mile in the other direction, racoons, and some people say badgers are around here too. I've no clue what could have taken such a massive bird without leaving more then a couple handfuls of feathers and no blood. We have been seeing a pair of osprey or eagles around but it was clearly on the ground and never took flight. I may have missed some possibilities.
What are the most likely options that it could have been? Should we assume it will try to come back? Hell this is all new and I'm very frustrated and upset. I so wanted answers but the animal was always just out of our lights so all we could see was eye shine and the approximate height.
Over the last month or two there have been several nights where our great dane was frightened to go outside we assumed she was smelling something but had no idea what. Now I wonder if the two things are connected. I have seen her chase racoons and she's been outside when we could hear coyotes without acting scared.
We have also had something trying to dig under our stairs. A pretty sizeable hole too. We have had to fill it in several times but not for about a week, maybe two. We would fill it in and the next morning it would be larger and deeper even after we started putting large rocks and a couple pieces of concrete in it.
I'm leaning towards badger BC they are so low to the ground but are still very large and strong but I've really no clue.
Hope you can help.