Chicken vanished, hawk?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by HuskerHens18, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. Living on a farm in the middle of nowhere means overloads of predators. I've always known this and accepted it.
    Last year, about 14 of my chickens vanished without a trace. Not one feather, not one drop of blood found. It turns out, we rented out our hog barn to someone and my chickens would fly over the high fences and eat the feed, which the hogs then killed and ate them.. We no longer allow hogs on the place.

    Well, Easter Sunday it was decent, so we invited the family over. I let my chickens out to show them off. Please note that it was 6 in the evening! By 7, we were all still outside as the chickens put themselves away. I count, and I'm missing ONE. She is a 4-5 year old Easter Egger. So we all start a search party before we lose all our light.
    Long story short, we searched until 11pm that night and found NOTHING. We walked the fence lines, the fields, EVERY barn, every hole, crevice, tree, EVERYWHERE. There is nothing, no sign we even let the chickens out at all.
    Oddly enough, while searching we discovered a dead hawk with its center eaten out. It looked to be somewhat recent (in this last few days). We have had over populations of hawks before which lead to cannibalism.
    Will hawks take chickens without dropping a feather? Usually I've found evidence when my chickens are killed by predators (except for the hogs). We did discover something dug under a barn on the edge of the property, but we shone a flashlight down and it was empty. No feathers there either.
    So pretty much I'm asking what predators will take a chicken and kill it silently, without a trace. Or could she have flat out left the property the second we let her out?

    I'm in the Northeast corner of Nebraska, we've got pretty much every predator. I would like to add we just did a mass raccoon hunt before the disappearance. So I doubt it was a raccoon, it's still possible I guess.
     
    Chicky D likes this.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Rolling Down The River

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    Fox and coyote can snatch chickens quickly without a trace.
     
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  3. Lauren Adams

    Lauren Adams Songster

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    Oh no I am so sorry maybe the hen just ran away...
     
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  4. oregonkat

    oregonkat Crowing

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    The hawks that we have, Coopers, Redtail, Sharp Shinned, will not take a chicken off the ground. They land on the back, reach around and eviscerate them by ripping open the throat. Sorry for the gory details. They will then proceed, on the ground, to take the chicken apart unless disturbed in which case they will wait until you either go away or throw the carcass somewhere else. You may have different hawks where you are. I would suspect a fox or bob cat for total disappearance of the bird.
     
  5. @oldhenlikesdogs That would make sense, the dogs chase coyotes away but at the time the dogs were of course partying with us.

    @Lauren Adams I hope so too, we just got a ton of snow so if she did I hope she's someplace warm.

    @oregonkat Good info, in my imagination I always thought hawks grabbed them and flew away. We've got the same kinds as you named, Redtail are more common. We have Eagles too, do they do the same thing? I hope it was a fox, if it's a Bobcat I'll have to start worrying over my little goats :hit

    Thank you all! I appreciate it very much! :jumpy
     
    Lauren Adams likes this.
  6. Lauren Adams

    Lauren Adams Songster

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    Awww I will pray for you guys :( that is tough.
     
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  7. Thank you, that's very sweet :hugs
     
    Lauren Adams likes this.
  8. Lauren Adams

    Lauren Adams Songster

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    :hitI just feel so bad
     
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  9. Gdove419

    Gdove419 Chirping

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    So sorry..I lost one of my chickens today. I'm new to chicken keeping so this is my first predator loss. My chickens have a large coop and a fenced area and I also let them free range most of the day if I'm not at work. My oldest hens are only 7 months old, then the next are 3 1/2 months, and several are 2 months. No one wanders far from home. Today I left for about an hour to grocery shop. When I returned, one of my California whites was missing. After looking for awhile, I finally spotted a trail of feathers leading into the woods :hit I'm so upset over losing one of my girls. They were the friendliest little trio..
     
    HuskerHens18 likes this.
  10. @Lauren Adams Its such a depressing part of chicken free ranging. I just feel like they're happier when they have no boundaries :(

    @Gdove419 Thats horrible, I'm sorry!! After a predator loss, I don't let my chickens free range for several days, sometimes a week so that particular predator hopefully moves on. It's worked for me, but something always comes back eventually. :hit Usually my dogs kill smaller predators, but they were having fun with us at the house. I'm sorry you lost a chicken, it's a terrible feeling:(
     
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