Can chickens be scared to death - really, scared enough to keel over?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Blondie, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. Blondie

    Blondie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Went out the other morning to find 18 dead chickens all over the place. [​IMG] They were spread out among 2 pastures. Most of them had no signs of injuries at all. Nothing. About 4 of them had head and/or necks eaten or missing. I am assuming it was raccoons. My question is: What happened to the other chickens? It's like they just keeled over. I looked at them closely and could not find any injuries.

    Anyone hear of chickens being frightened to death? Did they get chased around so much that that they died of exhaustion?
  2. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    they can have heart attacks if scared enough
  3. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Check them very carefully--sounds like a weasel or mink attack--they slash the throats and lick up the blood.
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Flock Master Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Quote:Weasels will also leave a small bite mark under the wing - in the "wingpit" as we call it - and lap up the blood from there.
  5. Zumbagirl

    Zumbagirl New Egg

    Sep 8, 2012
    Always keep my dogs and chickens seperate, but someone left gate open, I came home to find most chickens dead horrible :( dogs chase them and scared them to death, literally! Half were in the coop dogs could not get in and where untouched but dead. Only explanation is heart attack, scared to death. I was only gone for short time. So sad :(
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Sounds like a fox with experience getting chickens that do not know how to fly up out of danger. Fox went through chasing each bird down and quickly yanked head / neck off possibly eating removed parts on spot on spot then trotted after next victim and repeated until surviving balance of flock got out of sight. Then fox prcoceeded to police bodies up one or two at a time and took them somewhere, buried each load in a separate hole (cache), then went back to get more of the bodies to repeat process. You probably interupted fox when it was on one of the cache trips. It would come back for balance if you did not collect them yourself. Racoons would have made a mess and done their deed at night.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  7. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    I had one hen die of fright after a fox jumped on top of the run, which was then only 2 ft high. The fox never got in, so never touched her, and the other 6 hens were fine. So, yes, it can happen, but 14 die of fright at once? Seems very unlikely, but I guess not impossible.

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