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Would a hawk rip the head completely off?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I just went out to let my chickens out of the run to free range until bedtime only to discover all my chickens pecking at something. That something was one of my Polish hens. It's head was completely ripped off and it was also completely gutted. There were feathers all over the place. We've lost some to Cooper's Hawks and so has our neighbor (we actually saw the hawk kill them). Can the hawks actually rip the head completely off? I can't find the head anywhere. I've looked in the coop, all over in the run and all throughout the backyard.  There is no way it was a dog or anything like that because the run is secure except for the top.

EE's * Polish * Brown Leghorn * Black Leghorn * Self-blue D'Uccles * Dixie the Walker Hound * Lilly the Heinz 57 mix* 2 Bunnies *

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EE's * Polish * Brown Leghorn * Black Leghorn * Self-blue D'Uccles * Dixie the Walker Hound * Lilly the Heinz 57 mix* 2 Bunnies *

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post #2 of 12

Effortlessly.  I had aviaries and a hawk ripped the leg off of one of the birds that was hanging on the cage inside.  Sorry sad

Swedish Flower Hens
 

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Swedish Flower Hens
 

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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

UGH. I've heard that they'll break the neck, but I never thought they would take the entire head!

Our run is probably 7 feet high and the majority of it is covered by huge cypress trees. There is an opening at the top of each corner (about a 3 foot opening) where the trees don't cover but I didn't think a hawk would try to come in that small of an opening. I'm going to put some netting on top of the run.

EE's * Polish * Brown Leghorn * Black Leghorn * Self-blue D'Uccles * Dixie the Walker Hound * Lilly the Heinz 57 mix* 2 Bunnies *

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EE's * Polish * Brown Leghorn * Black Leghorn * Self-blue D'Uccles * Dixie the Walker Hound * Lilly the Heinz 57 mix* 2 Bunnies *

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post #4 of 12

They can take the head off with one snip of that beak. Sorry for your loss, hope you can keep them safe from the hawks, if not you can plan on a lot more scenes like that.

I get by with a lil help from my hens.
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I get by with a lil help from my hens.
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post #5 of 12

That 3 foot opening is plenty big enough for a hawk to come in. They'll walk through coop doors if accessible.

Pat

Showgirls & Silkies.....at the point of no return & too many to count!!
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Pat

Showgirls & Silkies.....at the point of no return & too many to count!!
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post #6 of 12

There is also the possibility of anything that can climb--raccoon, weasel, etc.

Breeder & Exhibitor of fine silkies in recognized and project varieties.
adult and started pairs occasionally available;
   No eggs or chicks. 
Support your local poultry clubs, breed clubs, ABA & APA!

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Breeder & Exhibitor of fine silkies in recognized and project varieties.
adult and started pairs occasionally available;
   No eggs or chicks. 
Support your local poultry clubs, breed clubs, ABA & APA!

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post #7 of 12

SO sorry about your hen -- that's how I lost one of my first two 4-5 month old hens about a year and a half ago -- a Cooper's Hawk, her head was gone and I found him standing over her -- it looked like he had chased her from under some bushes where she was probably trying to hide back into a small area under redwoods, a sad feather trail -- I finally found the other hen safely hidden behind a bunch of flower pots. It was awful, and we never found the head. sad

After 30 years of having Alaskan Malamutes (and boy do I miss them), I have found myself a rather newbie chicken lady and guardian to 4 lovely girls: Lucy, New Hampshire Red; Baby, Buff Brahma; & sisters Jill & Muffs, Easter Eggers. A new edition is Meow-Meow a feral cat who joined the backyard bunch during 2010.
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After 30 years of having Alaskan Malamutes (and boy do I miss them), I have found myself a rather newbie chicken lady and guardian to 4 lovely girls: Lucy, New Hampshire Red; Baby, Buff Brahma; & sisters Jill & Muffs, Easter Eggers. A new edition is Meow-Meow a feral cat who joined the backyard bunch during 2010.
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post #8 of 12

has to be a weasel. I work on a chicken farm and everytime a chicken dies we find the chicken with the head ripped off and we have seen that dern thing walking around but cant get him. We will besetting up traps very soon.

post #9 of 12

sounds like a raccoon to me. They definitely rip off heads and also eat the insides. same with possums about the insides but never seen them rip off heads.

I have a wonderful wife, 2 kids,18 different types of birds some mixed some purebred golden duck wing Phoenix.
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I have a wonderful wife, 2 kids,18 different types of birds some mixed some purebred golden duck wing Phoenix.
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post #10 of 12

Owls will also take the heads off birds, especially when they are teaching their young to hunt.

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