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Help with mystery predator - Page 2

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Duckman View Post

I was told to move the question to this forum. I let my flock of 5 adult ducks out this morning as I do every day. When I got home around 4pm (before dark) I found my duck brownie dead cold and stiff with his head detached and laying there about 2 feet away, in a big messy pile of his small feathers. About 6 feet away I found a couple more of his feathers, but only larger ones. His broodmate, Daisy, lost a few feathers and had a bloody bill, and is freaked out, but otherwise seems okay.

What predator does this??? It must have happened in full daylight, at least an hour or two before dusk. The head was torn off, feathers everywhere, but the body was otherwise intact... nothing else was missing and the rest of the body was not torn. Whatever it was, it attacked the other duck too.

Daytime predators as far as I know are mostly dogs, cats, coyotes, and hawks... but none of those three fit the details... thanks for your help guys sad.png

edit: I'm in eastern PA area


I'm trying to figure this out.  We may live close, I'm in the Lehigh Valley, too.)  so I'm thinking of the predators in our area.  I would tend to rule out what comes at night, but that still leaves, dog, coyote (You have coyotes, where?  That's freaking me out.), fox.  Owls, raccoons, possums tend to be night time killers although the MO could be possum or raccoon.  Are weasels out during the day?

   Coyotes and foxes should carry the body away (You might see a trail of feathers especially if the bird is dragged at all.)  For a rapture hit you could see a large pile of feathers.

    This fall a hawk got a California grey.  My husband was right there and couldn't save her but the hawk failed to be able to pick her up.  There was a big pile of feathers (She got trapped by the fence.) and her head was really mangled from just the one hit.

   Sometimes a hawk can pick up a small chicken or bantam and carry it away with no trace but then it comes in for a lift off, not a hit.  Would really like to find out what did this.


Edited by dekel18042 - 1/23/17 at 7:09am
post #12 of 22
I am so sorry to hear about this! I lost my barred rock rooster "rocks" the same way. It had happened around 3pm. His head was missing and he was completely drained of all blood. Also "deplucked" from either trying to get away or from the predator. It is either a weasel, fischer, or minx. Keep all your others in for a few days, allowing them out while you can watch them. Hopefully whatever it is moves on!
post #13 of 22
A few years ago a raccoon got in and killed 17 of my chickens ...Now I have a live catch trap set and bated next to my run fence everyday..
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickengeorgeto View Post

A hawk can return to a chicken caucus to dine and dine again and finally remove enough feathers and flesh to tote the remainder off.  You will often see a little doughnuts of feathers laying where the hen was caught or killed.

What about cats? That's the only predator I've seen around the chickens
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dekel18042 View Post
 


I'm trying to figure this out.  We may live close, I'm in the Lehigh Valley, too.)  so I'm thinking of the predators in our area.  I would tend to rule out what comes at night, but that still leaves, dog, coyote (You have coyotes, where?  That's freaking me out.), fox.  Owls, raccoons, possums tend to be night time killers although the MO could be possum or raccoon.  Are weasels out during the day?

   Coyotes and foxes should carry the body away (You might see a trail of feathers especially if the bird is dragged at all.)  For a rapture hit you could see a large pile of feathers.

    This fall a hawk got a California grey.  My husband was right there and couldn't save her but the hawk failed to be able to pick her up.  There was a big pile of feathers (She got trapped by the fence.) and her head was really mangled from just the one hit.

   Sometimes a hawk can pick up a small chicken or bantam and carry it away with no trace but then it comes in for a lift off, not a hit.  Would really like to find out what did this.

 

And don't forget, it is not just the size or weight of the victim that prevents raptors from flying away with your hens & roosters but the useless dangling, feet. necks, tail feathers, and wings that the hawk must fight the laws of aerodynamics or air resistance against to get and keep the victim aloft.  

Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
Reply
Keep your chickens safe from predators, buy and wear fur. 
Reply
post #16 of 22
One thing that often fails to get mentioned is the possibility of a second predator. A chicken can get killed by a hawk, which leaves the half-eaten carcass behind to be carried off by a fox or coyote who follows the scent in later.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkALittle View Post

One thing that often fails to get mentioned is the possibility of a second predator. A chicken can get killed by a hawk, which leaves the half-eaten carcass behind to be carried off by a fox or coyote who follows the scent in later.

Very good point, plus I have seen other predators attempt to bluff a hawk off a kill. In one case it was a pair of magpies who were completely unsuccessful. Seems they were after the exact same pigeon. But a fox, coyote or dog would not have any problem scaring off a hawk. 

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dekel18042 View Post
 


I'm trying to figure this out.  We may live close, I'm in the Lehigh Valley, too.)  so I'm thinking of the predators in our area.  I would tend to rule out what comes at night, but that still leaves, dog, coyote (You have coyotes, where?  That's freaking me out.), fox.  Owls, raccoons, possums tend to be night time killers although the MO could be possum or raccoon.  Are weasels out during the day?

   Coyotes and foxes should carry the body away (You might see a trail of feathers especially if the bird is dragged at all.)  For a rapture hit you could see a large pile of feathers.

    This fall a hawk got a California grey.  My husband was right there and couldn't save her but the hawk failed to be able to pick her up.  There was a big pile of feathers (She got trapped by the fence.) and her head was really mangled from just the one hit.

   Sometimes a hawk can pick up a small chicken or bantam and carry it away with no trace but then it comes in for a lift off, not a hit.  Would really like to find out what did this.

 

After more research, it seems that the most likely suspect was a Hawk. I have seen them flying in the area and even perch a distance away llately. What I don't understand is why this is the first time one has attacked in nearly a year of them free-ranging in my yard. This never happened before and hasn't happened since.

 

I have not seen Coyotes in person, although they have been spotted in my county. I don't think they are that widespread.

 

So now i'm shifting my focus to ways of protecting my birds from hawks during the day. I've read a lot of different ideas and am trying some of them out. I just added two crow decoys to attract more crows to my yard, as they are known to heckle hawks. So far, no new hawk attacks

post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Duckman View Post

After more research, it seems that the most likely suspect was a Hawk. I have seen them flying in the area and even perch a distance away llately. What I don't understand is why this is the first time one has attacked in nearly a year of them free-ranging in my yard. This never happened before and hasn't happened since.

Are you on a migration route. I live on the east coast and see increased raptor activity that coincides with annual migration patterns. It's possible that the raptor that took your bird is no longer in the area. Maybe of a species large enough to take down a chicken or a bolder individual with prior experience.

It's also possible that there have been other attempts that have gone unnoticed by you because they didn't result in a kill. I've come out a number of times to find the girls hanging out in the run instead of in the yard, all reluctant to venture out. I know that a hawk must have done a fly-by. And I've heard the ladies sound the alarm and gone out to see a hawk perched on the edge of the woods. I'm willing to bet that only a small percentage of strikes are successful. And when you are talking about prey the size of a chicken that could inflict some damage on the hawk during a struggle, I'm sure the hawk bides its time until just the right moment presents itself.
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob Duckman View Post
 

 

After more research, it seems that the most likely suspect was a Hawk. I have seen them flying in the area and even perch a distance away llately. What I don't understand is why this is the first time one has attacked in nearly a year of them free-ranging in my yard. This never happened before and hasn't happened since.

 

I have not seen Coyotes in person, although they have been spotted in my county. I don't think they are that widespread.

 

So now i'm shifting my focus to ways of protecting my birds from hawks during the day. I've read a lot of different ideas and am trying some of them out. I just added two crow decoys to attract more crows to my yard, as they are known to heckle hawks. So far, no new hawk attacks

Sometimes predators just don't realize there is a tasty meal awaiting them in your area. I had free-range chickens for three years, with no losses... Then, one night, a raccoon found my coop. All chickens dead. So sure, you can have your chickens out sometimes for years and not have a problem, then, suddenly, a predator finds the flock and BOOM. That's that. You're on the map. 

 

Even if people don't see predators, they are often still there, especially in the case of coyotes who are very clever at hiding during the day. I remember being out driving one day with a neighbor who told me that there was no wildlife in the area!!! As soon as she said it, we had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting a deer, and the deer spooked up a bobcat. There are often more predators out there than we realize. 

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