Originally Posted by KlopKlop
Oh - Sit rep... The good news is that it was only 1 chicken. one of my older leghorns. poor girl :( she was one of my first chickens on the new farm.
I found the remains of the hen under the edge of a pine tree. The neck is mostly eaten away with the head dangling from just a little skin. I have a photo to share if that will help but its gruesome so i wont unless I must.
My wife said when she pulled into the driveway this afternoon a large dark colored bird flew away from that area and that is when she noticed the feathers. She was thinking a hawk because of the coloring. She said no white head or tail, that she noticed aka not a bald eagle. The only thing she said was unique was it seemed really big for a hawk.
She said I "Need to get online and talk to my chicken friends" to see if you guys know what we are dealing with and if we need to keep the girls locked up for a day or two to keep them safe. I have heard someone on here talk about a kind of hawk setting up shop for the winter and i want to make sure that isnt a problem we have.
Can you help me??? this is our first predator kill so we are pretty bummed.
I'm sorry about your hen.
That does sound like a hawk kill to me - I suppose it could be an eagle, but hawks can look pretty darn large and are often dark colored. I've lost a couple to hawks and owls, and have seen plenty of bald eagles (they nest up the road) but never seen them take interest in the chickens. They supposedly do take chickens though.
Fall is the worst time for me for aerial predators. It is why I have the hawk enclosure. This is a wire fencing roofed pavilion type structure that I restrict them to in Nov and Dec. After that the snow usually keeps them in there - I use old wooden snow fences for the sides, chicken wire from the top of the snow fence up to the "roof" - 6' long 2x4's set on the ground upright, fastened to 14' long 2x4's. I used old wire fencing with 4 inch square holes fastened to the top.
It is set up so the chickens exit the coop right into the enclosure.
Previous to having this, I was losing 1 or 2 hens each fall, followed by days of lockup. The hawks and a great gray owl always always always were seen for up to a week after each kill hanging out and watching for more.
Best of luck going forward!
found a pic of the enclosure.