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Mystery - Page 2

post #11 of 15
Originally Posted by Howard E View Post

Could the puncture wounds be from a snake? As in rattlesnake?


I agree that daytime kills throw suspicion on a mink or other weasel.


I also find a rattlesnake to be an unlikely culprit. Normally I'd expect a rattlesnake to leave town fairly soon if it were dealing with chickens it perceived to be a threat, which would make 1 kill possible, but multiple less likely.


However, they may be coming out of hibernation now, so there could be multiple snakes in the same area.


And second, I'm not sure, but I don't *think* rattlesnakes would consistently target the head/neck area. OK, I can see that repeatedly happening if the chickens are all walking up and pecking at it. Otherwise I'd expect to see bites to body on some, neck on others. Of course, it's possible the other chickens are being struck on the body, but the damage is being blocked by the feathers.


Maybe I've convinced myself it could be rattlesnakes after all.


Regardless, I'm intrigued, and want to know the answer!

post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by Eric 2016 View Post

I actually thought the same thing at first, that one animal was doing the killing and another was dragging away. it turned out that the mink was living under the coop and killing 3 or 4 a night then actually dragging dead birds under during the day. I couldn't trap him because he wanted to kill. I had to wait him out.

The mink we had this winter did the same thing, kind of. It killed 5 in one night, dragging one off. (It was living under the coop and tried to drag a full grown BR hen through a mink-sized hole). What we did was, put a smaller live trap (one labeled for squirrels) in the opening of the pop door. It was just the right size that the mink couldn't go around or over it. I removed its food source (the hen it tried to drag through the hole) and baited the trap. The mink was in the trap in the morning. The best part was, DH - who had trapped mink, fox and muskrats for years - told me it would never work. "Mink are too smart for that. You'll never catch it!" That was in February, and every now and then he'll still tell me how surprised he is that we caught it. (That mink is no longer a threat to my chickens...)

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.


Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 

Update to the Mystery. ...another dead hen! Pullet this time...same as all last kills...bite to neck, left to lay on the ground. Killed mid attached
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Here's another picture of the same pullet
post #15 of 15

Just checking out this forum.  I've lost two Leghorns this week.  They were out free ranging around 7:30 AM and I heard some squawking

and saw two chickens run by.  Went looking for the 3rd one and found her down the hill in the brush with a large hole on her back.  Didnt think it looked bad enough to cause her to die. She had a few puncture like wounds in other spots and a few feathers missing. This same chicken had a battle with a hawk about a month ago and thankfully we were able to rescue her and she survived w/o much damage.  Mostly missing feathers and a few puncture wounds.    This afternoon about 5:30 we heard noise and went out and another hen was missing.  I went way down the hill and found her in the creek bed almost dead.  Her tail feathers were all wet (no water in the creek) and she had a few puncture wounds.  And she had egg yolk coming out of her.  She was gasping for air and couldnt move so I broke her neck.  I thought this might be a dog or fox because of the wet feathers.  These hens have been free ranging for months and think it strange all of a sudden we have lost two in four days.  Guess I'll be keeping my last one in the coop from now on.  

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