Are my chickens going Hanibal Lecter on me??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by willy3486, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. willy3486

    willy3486 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2010
    I am wondering if my chickens are going Hanibal Lecter on me. Last night when I got in I went to check on the chickens and get the eggs. I get home around 5:00 p.m. but its just got dark and they are in the roost by then. And the last few days it has been colder than usual. They were born in May. I have a good size area for them,I am guessing roughly 100x50. I have one of the coops that the roost is inside,the nests are on one side and I have a door to raise up so I don't have to go in. I had 19 chickens and one rooster. It has been cold so I have been busting up the watering troth and raking the ice out. I also put in hot water of a morning before they get out and at night as well. So when it does freeze they can usually bust through it. I check at night and there is usually a hole where they have broke through. They have more food than they probably need so I don't see that as a problem. I would rather for them to waste some than to go hungry. As far as the fence itself there is three sides that are fence and one side that is the side of a barn. Nothing can get in from the barn I think. Then the fence is on one side of by backyard. I have a electric fence on all sides of the fence to keep animals out. I also checked to see if anything had dug through and nothing had ,the ground was froze. I also checked the fence and it was intact.

    So here is what I found. One chicken was dead outside in a corner about 3 feet from the barn and fence. The head was removed and there was a hole in the side of the chicken. The hole was about 3-4 inches circular and something had removed the area and the inside organs in that area. I didn't find any meat around or the head but it was dark. I did find a area about a foot away that looked like the center of the attack. It looked like the feathers were removed in that area,it was about 3 feet in a circle. The only thing I can think of is the chickens attacked it ,I have heard them doing this to other sick ones. I only had one that had any issues. I have one that had something wrong with it ,it hopped on one foot. I had checked it and it had a large knot on its knee area. I think it may have broke it from flying down a tree stump. I do not think it was this chicken as I checked it for the knot and did not see it. So I am at a loss of what attacked it or why. It does not look to be a preditor like a cat, usually they tear things apart. This just had a hole. The best meat was left. It looks like a revenge if you will almost. I asked my wife if they could have done it if the water froze and she didn't think so, I didn't either since they break through the ice. It looks like whatever did it got the blood out and internal organs in that area. As far as flying animals like hawks most of what I have seen is buzzards and they just fly over them and leave them alone. As far as animals there is no evidence of them getting in , the fence is fine. So if my hunch is correct what would cause them to attack one of their own and how do you stop it?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2010
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I don't think a chicken did that. Where are you?
  3. willy3486

    willy3486 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 30, 2010
    Tennessee. It has me puzzled. The only way a animal could get in is through the fence. The fence is 6 feet tall. Then another thing was we think it happened at dark or dusky dark. The dog started barking a lot then just before I got home.
  4. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Sounds like a coon. Is the top of the run uncovered or does it have a roof or wire over it?
    A coon can pull a chicken through the wire and eat the parts it wants.
  5. The Fairy Godmartyr

    The Fairy Godmartyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    The other option, since it is an electric fence (which would probably deter a coon if it is working properly) would be an owl. Right time of day, and owls will pull the heads off of birds and sometimes will stay there to consume part of the bird instead of carrying it off.
  6. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Well some folks on here don't believe this but a mink or weasel (especially if the liver was gone) would be on my list along with raccoon. Add an OWL if the pen is open from above. If the bird was there dead for some time what you are seeing could also be the work of more than one culprit.
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Meanwhile, you could add "Tennessee" to your profile. Often comes in handy.

    Actually, my first thought was weasel, but I didn't know whether you had them where you are.
  8. Medicine Man

    Medicine Man Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 21, 2010
    Apple Hill
    Quote:This is first thing that came to mi mind.
  9. S&N Livestock

    S&N Livestock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2009
    southern ohio
    Sounds like it could be a mink or weasel, im with TheFox on this one...
  10. Redcatcher

    Redcatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    At My Desk!
    Weasels. They are not large enough to carry or drag their prey off nor can they eat much in one sitting (they are not much larger than a hamster). They kill, nibble around at this and that and then keep coming back for the remains. These nasty critters can jump about 4' and fit through about a 1" space. They are probably one of nature's most wasteful predators because they can kill 30-40 chickens in one night, more than they could eat in their lifetime. A fox or raccoon will take only what it or its pups/kits can eat.

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