Came home to over half my chickens missing or torn apart

Bernsen92

Chirping
Apr 26, 2019
14
29
52
So im not in exactly the best of moods while writing this as it all happened within the last hour. but this evening I arrived home to find my Brahma x Black Australorp rooster sitting on my car in my front yard. This was already very strange as he has never jumped by 5ft fence that I can remember. So I led him around the house to the gate and I start noticing 3-5 massive tuffs of feathers within feet of the gate. after getting him into the rear yard, I grab my flashlight and am disheartened to find 4 of my Golden Comet hens and a Black Australorp hen dead with nearly no damage other than having their heads ripped off. I eventually found my purebred Brahma rooster and he was alive but had his tail completely ripped off to the bone and had no choice but to put him down right there/ I did a head count and out of 17 chickens, I lost 9 including the 3 that I still haven't found.

I'm at a loss really. what kind of predator/animal would kill so many of them, but only leave with 1 or 2?
 

nuthatched

It's C-O-O-P, not C-O-U-P-E!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 9, 2019
2,236
5,493
336
Rim Country, Az
I'm so sorry this has happened to you, this is a poultry keepers worst fear.
Where the crops of the chickens eaten? The heads missing sounds like coons, but I don't know if they'd would/could mutilate a tail like that. Dogs and coyotes catch chickens by their tails and could make off with a few of them but I've never heard of them taking just the heads.
I hope maybe you'll get a few returning stragglers in the morning.
 

Bernsen92

Chirping
Apr 26, 2019
14
29
52
I've never heard of them taking just the heads

that's the thing, the heads weren't missing. of the 5 hens I found none of them had any damage what so ever, other than missing their heads, and for 4 of them, their heads within five feet of the bodies, completely intact. and the other one was basically untouched other than being killed. the only one that was bloodied up was my rooster.

Wondering if a neighbors dog decided to "play" with my chickens.
 

Chookchicken

Songster
Dec 4, 2020
539
2,038
219
This is awful I am so sorry :( it sounds like it could be a fox (depending on where you live this could be wrong). It was also most likely a territorial thing if there is no food there then other predators are less likely to come. And the other chickens most likely ran and hid and the predator couldn’t reach them or find them. I hope this helps again I am very sorry for you’re loss :hit
 

KingB

Crowing
Jun 19, 2020
2,627
9,478
481
United Kingdom
I'm guessing it was a fox. I have had the same experience multiple times as there are a huge population of foxes around my area. They typically will kill every single chicken and just take one away.
I'm sorry for you!
How did the predator enter the coop? This is what you need to be thinking about.
 

Bernsen92

Chirping
Apr 26, 2019
14
29
52
How did the predator enter the coop?

They have a 24ftx10ft cattle panel hoop coop that I built, but it is open front and they completely refuse to use it except for laying. they dig holes and nest in the ground most of the time in groups when they sleep. I'm aware of the risks and have lost one here or there over the last 2 years but the shear number of chickens it killed this time is insane.
 

KingB

Crowing
Jun 19, 2020
2,627
9,478
481
United Kingdom
They have a 24ftx10ft cattle panel hoop coop that I built, but it is open front and they completely refuse to use it except for laying. they dig holes and nest in the ground most of the time in groups when they sleep. I'm aware of the risks and have lost one here or there over the last 2 years but the shear number of chickens it killed this time is insane.
It will come back for more now that it knows there is an easy meal.
 

Bernsen92

Chirping
Apr 26, 2019
14
29
52
It will come back for more now that it knows there is an easy meal.

Yeah I know, and it sucks. but thankfully I live in farm country and the random gunshot in the night is easy enough to explain to the neighbors down the road. but first I'm installing cameras so I can figure out if it was a fox, coon, or the neighbors dog. its a boxer that's been hanging around my front yard a few times over the last week at night and has growled and barked at me on a few occasions.
 

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