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what killed my chicken?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I went out this morning and found one of my new layers dead in the yard.  A few feathers scattered around, body cavity completely cleaned out and the head and neck completely gone.  I have lost 2 to hawks before but they made a huge mess and ate most of the bird.  The door to the coop was open and no other chickens were harmed or missing.  Wondering what I am dealing with.....Thanks

post #2 of 9

Probably raccoon, opossum or owl if it was at night.

Where do you live?

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

We live in south eastern Ontario, Canada.  It was before 8am and the carcass was not stiff at all, so killed very recently I would guess.  No other chickens missing or harmed, but  bird netting has now been hung over the yard just in case it was airborn....

post #4 of 9

Since there were a couple hours of daylight in the possible time frame, it could have been a hawk. She could have been the first bird out of the coop in the morning.

If ground based, I'd say probably opossum. They eat like that. Raccoons do too but they usually kill more birds than one. Sometimes the whole flock.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

We hung bird net over the entire yard the other day, and this morning, 2 dead in the yard this morning and one hiding in the coop with multiple injuries to her head.  Both bodies were missing their heads.  What is getting my birds?  I am certain it can't be airborn with the netting so something must be getting into the yard by coming under the coop (it is set up on blocks)  I thought that all the biggest holes were blocked, but obviously today I'll have to do something to completely seal it up.

post #6 of 9

Raccoon.

 

They have to be locked in the building at night.


Edited by ChickenCanoe - 5/28/16 at 6:46am

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply
post #7 of 9

I'm a rank newbie and have no chickens at the moment, but from what you've said and from many accounts that I've read I'd think that it is coons.  But, realistically, if you prevent coons from entering you will most likely prevent possums, foxes, and other small/medium sized predators from getting into the chicken proper, also.  

 

Years ago I ran up on a really large possum in my open-ended garage.  I had no chickens and wasn't really concerned about the possum being there.  There was a vent-hood for a hotwater heater laying beside the wall from a recent project.  As the possum sulked around the edge of the wall trying to avoid me and exit the garage it encountered this hood.  The hole in the hood was something like 3-4 inches in diameter...the possum was big,..easily 10-12 inches (or more) in diameter through the body.  When the possum encountered the hood, rather than going around it or over it it decided to go through the hole.  I panicked in thinking that I was about to have a live possum hung up in that hood inside my garage...oh boy.  Well, the possum entered the hole in that hood and is was like it was a fluid that just flowed through the hole...water wouldn't have flowed any easier through the hole!!!  I was stunned by the ease by which that possum passed through a hole that was much, much smaller that it was.  That big possum could have easily fit through a hole a good bit smaller than that vent hood. 

 

Having witnessed that possum slide through that vent hood with such ease makes me wonder about 2x4 welded wire...with a strand of wire bent to one side from a lawnmower bumping it, installation bump, or whatever, it seems a 2" wide mesh could easily be changed into a 2-1/2" to 3" wide mesh which a possum could pass through easily.  Fence/perimeter inspections should be a routine, I would think.

 

Can a raccoon and a possum that are the same size pass through the same size holes?

 

Ed

Job 27:3-6   All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;  My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.  God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.  My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
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Job 27:3-6   All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;  My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.  God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.  My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
Reply
post #8 of 9

If anything, a raccoon can get through smaller holes.

 

When I find it I'll post a video of a raccoon pulling open a garage door and sliding through a 2 inch opening.

Weasels and mink can fit through a 1" opening.

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply

NPIP 43-813

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”                  Mark Twain

Reply
post #9 of 9

In my experience, a missing head adds up to weasels. If the chicken looks like it exploded from the inside, I always bank on raccoons. 

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