Came home to dead chicken today

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by huntinfamily, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. huntinfamily

    huntinfamily In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2010
    I got a call from my Son this afternoon that one of our hens was dead. He said that he got home from school, went to water the chickens and one was lying dead in their outdoor run. I told him to leave it because I wanted to look at it when I got home. When I got there she was laying with her head under the coop covered in ants. I called my Wife to let her know and she was amazed because she had been out with the chickens one hour before my Son got home and they were all fine. This is the second hen we have found dead in the past three weeks that were acting normal and had no signs of injury. Are there any small predators that will kill a full grown hen and just leave it? I cant think of any. The Our coop is an old shed that sits about 3 inches off the ground so if there is some type of animal getting them it would have to be real small to squeeze under the coop. Our Dog was out and acted normal when he got home. Usually if there had been something in the yard she would have been acting very excited. Can't figure this one out. Both hens were hatched at the same time last year so it wasn't old age, and neither showed outward signs of sickness.

  2. Pet Duck Boy

    Pet Duck Boy Songster

    Dec 12, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Maybe your dog? Sounds like one especially if it's uneaten and happened during the day. I've heard a lot of stories lately about good dogs suddenly getting the prey instinct, all dogs have it, it just takes a trigger.
  3. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:If there is no sign of fights having broken out (feathers, bleeding, missing parts) it seems fairly unlikely a predator is responsible. Although I guess anything is possible.
    You might consider getting an autopsy done on this one because it's not the first. It may be a disease that does not have warning symptoms. Many Poultry Extension offices offer them for free. It's worth a call anyway.

    So sorry for your losses.
  4. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Dogs generally get excited and kill the whole flock, or at least chase them around for fun = lots of deaths, or at least lots of feathers from franticly running around.
    One dead chicken among many does NOT sound like a dog attack to me.
  5. aprophet

    aprophet Songster

    Jan 12, 2010
    chesapeake Va.
    a weasel will leave very little sign a lot of times
  6. huntinfamily

    huntinfamily In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2010
    I can rule out the Dog. The chickens were locked in their pen and she would have had to rip through the chicken wire to get to them. I am wondering if it could have been a O'possum though. I woke up around 2 this morning to the chickens going nuts. I went out to investigat and trhere was one in their outdoor run that I ended up shooting. I took the day off of work to set up a camera so if this happens again we can hopefully figure out what is causing this
  7. carrlr

    carrlr Songster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    It's very possibly a possum. Perhaps it was interupted by your son or gave up when it couldn't pull it under the coop. In my experience they like to eat the chicken guts. I would put hardware cloth on that three inch gap you have under your coop. Weasels can leave a chickens body whole, but the blood would be sucked out through a wound possibly in the neck. In either case, I would think you'd see some feathers from a struggle. Good idea to set-up a camera. Good luck.

  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Quote:This was my first guess, too. They will also kill just for sport and not actually eat their kills. Minks are another slippery little devil that does the same thing.
  9. chickengrandma

    chickengrandma Songster

    Nov 3, 2009
    I've had two cases were chickens died unexpectedly and it was NOT a predator.
    1) I opened up my coop in the morning to find my girl dead on the floor. Long-story-short we figured out she either died from a "birth defect" like respiratory issues or a heart condition OR from choking on a cherrio.

    2) My sister's chicken died from "flip-over-disease". It is a nickname for the disease because of how the chicken dies. The chicken literally jumps up, flaps it wings and flips over on to its back and is dead instantly. It is kind of like a heart attack in the chicken world.

    Neither of these girls exhibited ANY symptoms prior to passing.

    By the way, I am REALLY sorry that you lost two of your girls! I just lost my second one also. I never knew I could love a chicken so much and be soooooo very sad. Sorry you are going through it as well.

    The worst part is not knowing what happened... isn't it?!?!?!?
  10. CluckyChuckCrazy

    CluckyChuckCrazy In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2010
    Derbyshire, Uk
    dont think it will be the dogs, we have 4 15 weeks old chicks killed by a stray the other month there was no missing part just loads of feathers everywhere and a bit of blood. Thank goodness my son didn't find them. i agree that it could be a disease that has no warning signals i'd go for the autopsy

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by