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Chicken missing without a trace

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chickengl, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. chickengl

    chickengl New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2015
    My hen is the last of her flock, very old (4 and a half years) and very sweet. She follows me and the rest of my family everywhere and waits patiently at the back door til we get home. Yesterday, when I got home at about 4, I couldn't find her. We searched the garden for about half an hour then went to 3 of our neighbours houses and checked their gardens too. No sign of her.

    I had let her out that morning and she seemed fine, ate and drank then went off to explore the garden like she always does. I come back and she's nowhere to be found. She's been molting lately, but there were no new feathers around the garden or on our road. There was no sign of a struggle so I'm not sure if it was a fox. Also, we live in the countryside where there are hardly any foxes (We've never seen one in our area and have kept chickens for 7 years).

    Could she have possibly died of natural causes (Her breed lives to about the age she is now) and then a fox or hawk carry her off? Or could someone have found her wandering down our road?
     
  2. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I would guess a predator. You don't mention where you live. But, I would guess that there are predators in your area that you have never seen and won't see in the future.

    If she never returns, I am sorry for your loss.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. chickengl

    chickengl New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2015
    We live in the SW of England in the countryside and have never seen a fox in the area. Also, she disappeared sometime between 8am and 4pm so it would have been light.
     
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I don't know anything about predators in England. Maybe someone else can help you.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Not all predators follow the norms. Just because a fox typically leaves some feathers behind doesn’t mean it always does. Just because a hawk typically leaves some evidence doesn’t mean it always does.

    When a hen disappears like this it sometimes means she has gone broody and is sitting on a hidden nest somewhere. With her molting and the time of year in England this sounds highly unlikely.

    It’s possible she just died and you have not found the body. It’s also possible a predator attacked and she was somewhere hiding. Hopefully this is the case and she shows up unharmed the next morning. It’s happened before.

    Many people think that certain predators only hunt at night. There are many cases where that is just wrong. Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and many other predators that people think are nighttime only predators often hunt during the day. In England you won’t have all these but that foxes or other certain animals only hunt at night is a huge fallacy.

    Many predators almost always leave evidence, though some typically don’t or at least not much. At least you don’t have to worry about snakes, alligators, or crocodiles where you are. Canines often leave no evidence. In your case that’s probably a fox or dog. Large birds of prey can carry a chicken away. That could be hawk, owl, or eagle. I don’t know what time dawn and dusk is where you live now, owls will hunt then so I can’t totally discount them but hawk or eagle is more likely. A human will leave no evidence. I think those are your most likely culprits if she was taken.
     
  6. chickengl

    chickengl New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2015
    There is no gate down the side of our house, but our hen's never wandered that far. She's scared of the road. We did think a person could have gone there easily, but who would steal an old chicken?? Does that happen?
     
  7. LeafBlade12345

    LeafBlade12345 Chillin' With My Peeps

    People steal chickens, but I doubt that's what happened here. Anything could have happened, predator, old age, or she may be hiding somewhere. I hope you find her!
     
  8. chickengl

    chickengl New Egg

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    Sep 23, 2015
    We found our chicken the day after she disappeared! She was pecking around the grass a few roads over. Probably slept in a bush or somewhere else well hidden. She was missing a couple feathers in the back so we think she might have been chased by a cat or other animal. Thanks everyone for the replies!!
     
  9. LeafBlade12345

    LeafBlade12345 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am so glad that you found your hen! You are lucky, they don't always come back...[​IMG]
     
  10. 1ChickenKeeper

    1ChickenKeeper Out Of The Brooder


    You are very lucky to have found your hen, recently my sweetest Welsummer got stuck outside and slept in a bush all night... If there had been raccoons around.. :th

    Congrats for finding your hen! :)
     

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