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2 chickens killed :( by what? (Shrug)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by eaemnc, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. eaemnc

    eaemnc Songster

    Oct 10, 2007
    Our chickens are in an electric mesh net enclosure. Two got killed one was headless I didn't see or clean them up as hubby already had when I got home. We moved the fencing and hope that it doesn't happen again. We went from 19 to 17..
    Any ideas? He thinks it was a hawk as we have them fly by and he claims one was in the net fence area. Would a hawk take a head off of a chicken and leave it (I guess if he couldn't pick it up?) Egg layers (all hens) no roosters yet it's our first year.

    Thanks and God Bless,

  2. Ladysonja

    Ladysonja Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Porter, Texas
    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    From past posts about the same subject, you may have a racoon or Possum problem.

    From what I read and depending on the size of the net hole, a critter can reach in and take off a chickens head, but not be able to pull the body through the netting.

    Not sure... If you can post a picture of your netting or give a better description of the size of netting, you may get some advice on what to do next to covering your run area with 1/2x1/2 hard wire.

    Good Luck.
  3. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    Really need to know a general area of where you live. Some predators are very widespread while others have smaller areas where they are found.

    Weasels will eat the head and leave the rest of the body. They can fit through holes an inch in size.
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    I'm sorry about your loss. I don't think a ground predator was responsible, since they would have had to reach through or climb electrified netting.

    Hawks have flown down into and attacked chickens in open topped runs before, so a hawk could attack your chickens inside the electric netting. They also often feed on the ground, when the prey is too large to carry off. It may have been startled in the midst of feeding, if your husband said he saw a hawk in your enclosure. Hawk attacks are more frequent this time of year, also.

    I'm not sure what you can do to prevent hawk attacks, with your set-up. With a non-electric run, you can just put netting over the top. I'm not sure how you could secure yours, while not touching the existing electrified netting. You'd need some other frame work, for just the netting, I suppose. You could also try hanging CDs. Maybe other people will have better suggestions for you.
  5. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    If it was at night I would say raccoon...
    During the day, I would say bird of prey. They'll take off the head and feet, then start plucking.
  6. eaemnc

    eaemnc Songster

    Oct 10, 2007
    Thanks for the posts,

    It was in the AM when the chickens were found. The head was off I'll have to ask hubby if the feet were.. (not sure) and I do know. I saw feathers scattered around inside the netting some from looking out the window.
    If it were a racoon through the netting the feathers would have been on the bird I would have thought. I was told though that a hawk would have carried the chicken out of the netting is this true?
    The hens are Red Star, Ameraucana and Buff Orpington hens. Not the biggest but some of those reds are huge LOL!! 1 red and 1 Ameraucana were killed. Not any more since but we checked the netting for grounding from grass and such. So far so good but I'll ask about the feet thing.
    One other thing a friend said that a Weasle only kills to drink the blood, is this true? I don't think that the chickens were eaten.. I'll ask today hubby hates talking about it but how can I ask questions if I don't really know what he saw?

    Thanks for all who are contributing [​IMG] God Bless you always,

    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
  7. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Hawks and owls will take the heads if the rest of the bird is too big to carry off. If the rest of the pen seems secure but you lack a top to it that would be my guess.
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    Hawks will fly off with small prey. Large prey they eat on the ground.
  9. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Sorry for your loss. If a hawk had done the kill, there would be no doubt. Hawks do not go for the head to eat usually and they try to take their prey somewhere private or where they feel safe to eat it...not in the run. However, if your husband startled it, it would have flown off leaving the uneaten part.

    Sounds like a raccoon or possum, the are notorious for removing the heads.
  10. keystonepaul

    keystonepaul Songster

    May 14, 2008
    early morning owl attack?? would be my guess. I'd check the fence very closely and look for signs of something getting in. How well does your electric netting work?? I'm not familiar with it's effectiveness at all. Keystonepaul

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