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Help! Predator ID needed

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Would sure appreciate help in ID-ing a murdering varmit. . .Yesterday afternoon, way before dark, something got our large, formidable Rhode Island Red rooster. Feathers were torn completely off the neck (part of the neck was eaten -thyroid area??)) and all the feathers were torn off his back. The rest of the body was left intact. There appeared to be no punctures or torn skin anywhere else --not even where the feathers were torn off his back.

A couple weeks ago, we lost a hen to what looks like the same predator also in the early afternoon. It tore her head off, left the body about 30 feet from the head, took all the feathers off her entire neck, ate part of the neck also, as well as pulled her gizzard out but left it uneaten. The rest of the body seemed intact.


Our chickens sleep in a safe coop at night, but I let them free-range around the barnyard during the day. Both were killed within 30 feet of the same place between our two barns. The pasture they are in is fenced with regular stock fencing all around (fenced to keep baby goats in) and electric fencing at the top. I'm thinking that coyotes or dogs can't get in (and have never seen any in that pasture. . . )

We've had chickens for 5 years living successfully under the same circumstances with the exception of two other losses. . .About 6 months ago, a hawk swooped down and carried off a hen within 10 feet of our house during the early afternoon, (I was out with them!!) and a couple of years ago, something grabbed a chicken that went in with the horses instead of the coop one evening. Whatever it was drug her under the barn, ate the breasts completely off. I found her in the early evening, still alive. My poor baby!!! (If anyone could ID this varmit, would appreciate also!)

post #2 of 14

Sounds like a classic hawk, espeically if it's day hours.

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I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

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Need egg candling reference pics? Click HERE!
2011 Coop build! Click Here!

 

I'm no expert, there is always something to learn, and my birds are livestock, so... yes, I may be quite blunt. wink.png

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post #3 of 14

where are you located? That way we can tell what specific predator you got

BYC. Enabling one person at a time
 

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BYC. Enabling one person at a time
 

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post #4 of 14

For the chicken that got drug under the barn, I'm thinking a possum or a racoon.  Maybe skunk?  I don't know if skunks prey on chickens though...

SPPA, APA, & ABA Member || My Dragon Scroll

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SPPA, APA, & ABA Member || My Dragon Scroll

"We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." - Declaration of Independence
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post #5 of 14

Predator ID this article should help you out!

Dawn

Happily homesteading in Sharp County Arkansas
...I heard them bikers talkin' 'bout ridin' Hawgs and checkin' out Chicks...
Food Grade DE
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Happily homesteading in Sharp County Arkansas
...I heard them bikers talkin' 'bout ridin' Hawgs and checkin' out Chicks...
Food Grade DE
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post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by silkiechicken 

Sounds like a classic hawk, espeically if it's day hours.


I totally agree, Hawks are most active in the early evenings, and the description of the damage fits their M.O.

"Yeah...Here comes the Rooster..."  - Alice in chains
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2588-Roo_behavior
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"Yeah...Here comes the Rooster..."  - Alice in chains
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2588-Roo_behavior
Reply
post #7 of 14

I don't know that much about predators, other than what I've learned from my SO, y'all, and books.  I do know that skunks will prey on chickens though.  My SO tells me that skunks were really their only problem when they had the commercial chicken houses; despite the fact that we have plenty of other potential predators around.  His opinion is digging under and eating the breasts, probably skunk.  Of course, that does depend on your location.


Edited by gritsar - 12/12/07 at 9:54am

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people.
A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, cochins, sebrights, bredas and call ducks.  R.I.P. Dragon, the crossbeak.  Thank you for teaching me so much about life.

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If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people.
A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, cochins, sebrights, bredas and call ducks.  R.I.P. Dragon, the crossbeak.  Thank you for teaching me so much about life.

Reply
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicknGurl 

For the chicken that got drug under the barn, I'm thinking a possum or a racoon.  Maybe skunk?  I don't know if skunks prey on chickens though...


Skunks do prey on chickens, mostly at night.

"Yeah...Here comes the Rooster..."  - Alice in chains
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2588-Roo_behavior
Reply
"Yeah...Here comes the Rooster..."  - Alice in chains
http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2588-Roo_behavior
Reply
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks everybody. Does anyone know --do hawks then just kill for the fun of it, or is something interrupting it before it can eat? Could the other rooster have come to the rescue?

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Oh, yes. I'm in Oregon. We seem to have most of the predators out here. . . .

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