What could have killed 11 of my 15 heavy birds in broad daylight? I'm guessing a hawk. They were free ranging over a couple acres, and I found 5 dead bodies, 3 with no injuries, and 2 with back/side puncture holes. Six were completely missing, only a circle of feathers remaining. If my guess is correct, why would they take so many? I've seen hawks around here, I live in rural Minneapolis, MN area, but only flying alone. It doesn't make sense that 6 are gone and that they would leave 5 on the ground. Too heavy to cart off? None of them were eaten on the ground. My hubby thinks maybe a pack of something came through, but we have no dog issues and it was in daylight. We have seen fox around here and eagles, too. I was thinking maybe the non injured ones were too heavy and dropped so as to break their necks.
Any ideas to protect from air predators and still free range? We have wooded areas, but there were still some feather piles and bodies found among the trees (though there's no leaves on the trees right now).
My good birds were just barely a year and in their prime, and I'm devastated. Well, it's spring, and I guess time to start over again with chicks. Thanks for any advice!