Came home to a bunch of white feathers in the yard :(


10 Years
May 24, 2009
Rockvale, TN
I let the chickens out to free range this morning. When I got home there was about a 20' diameter of white feathers. Besides the obvious that a murder occurred.... What do you think did it? There was no other remains and no trail that was evident. It was about 10' to the barn entrance, but not in the barn

I'm setting up a webcam tomorrow morning and recording all day. I'm definitely not gonna let them free range unless I'm home.

Thoughts of what it was?
Today I went out and found a pile of feathers and thought for sure one of my birds was a goner. Most of the chickens were in their run, but a couple had gotten out in the morning and I didn't have time to put them back in. I heard a the girls making a ruckous and went out to the sight of a pile of feathers, but no bird anywhere in sight. Well later that day she appeared, but with out many tail feathers left. She had a wound on her behind so she got away from something, but I don't know what went after her. She is doing fine now, but definitely a close call!!
I think some times the tail feathers of a chicken work a lot like the tail of a skink. It breaks off and distracts the preditor. An inexperienced or smaller preditor often gets a mouth full of feathers and the bird gets away. Given the situation it sounds like you have a smaller size animal after your chickens. Missing the tail and the wound on the rump suggests a small dog or a day hunting raccoon. A hawk would have injured the back or neck. I am sorry for you loss. Keep your eyes open.
I'm just curious if was a dog, cat(wild or other), hawk... or what it could have been. It did happen sometime in the middle of the day.

I didn't see any remains or a feather trail. It was more than just tail feathers all in about a 20 diameter area. I've not seen any dogs around running free, but I wouldn't count that out.

I've had a webcam going all day on the area and haven't seen anything except some wild turkeys come through this morning at around 8am.

Wish I knew what I was "hunting" for
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This spring the local predators all decided to focus on my chickens within a 2-day period. We really tried to determine the guilty parties by the MO, etc. Boy was I surprised when we ended up with a fox, raccoon, feral cat and opossum all in a 36 hr period.

One of the witnessed events was a grown fox in the back yard plucking a hen. He had her down, she was squawking and feathers were flying. DH did the SSS treatment and we actually saved the naked hen who was so shocky she looked like she was from the planet of the living dead.

I had credited the foxes with the just up and disappeared vics until I saw that in broad day light.

Good luck with your CSI and I hope you don't loose any more.
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