CSI: Chicken Coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by The Lisser, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. The Lisser

    The Lisser Songster

    This morning I went to my coop to give my girls fresh water and discovered my "special needs" girl, Cayenne, lying dead in the corner. Cayenne was a GLW pullet with severe cross beak that I've fed special feed every day since her beak problem developed and she was the sweetest thing.

    I picked her up . . . wait a minute, where the heck is her head???? I moved things around, poking and looking. No head. The other chickens all look fine. I didn't close the pop door that night and after investigating found a 4" gap in the run. Needless to say everyone got closed in the coop tonight.

    As I pulled into my driveway (already dark at 6pm) tonight I saw a possum near one of the barns. Also have smelled a skunk the last 2 days. Would one of these just eaten the head?? I have read the sticky in this section about head/crop being raccoon and head/neck being weasel. Honestly I didn't inspect her that closely. The "point of separation" was pretty close to her body, so I'm guessing either of those being likely.

    The only other thing I can think - I noticed some blood on her back like from a rooster that was too persistent. Cayenne was half the size of her hatch mates due to the beak thing - my older rooster in that pen - a small silkie mix - didn't seem to bother her a bit but I had a small cockerel that I've seen try to mount her - but she was always able to get away. The other pullets chased him so I think if Cayenne got away the other girls would have kept him at bay?? Would a cockerel actually take off a pullet's head? She did not have the missing feathers/blood on her back the day before. The other pullets were totally fine with her - I've never seen them pick on her even though she was smaller.

    Any thoughts?

  2. muddyhorse

    muddyhorse Songster

    Aug 11, 2009
    Bloomsdale, MO
    my guess something reached in and took the head, and in the process raked her back. so sorry to hear of your loss
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    have read the sticky in this section about head/crop being raccoon and head/neck being weasel

    A Skunk IS a "weasel"

    Weasel is a generic term for a family of animals

    A Mink is a weasel too


    Mustelidae or Mustelids (from Latin mustela, weasel), commonly referred to as the weasel family, are a family of carnivorous mammals. The Mustelidae are a diverse family and the largest in the order Carnivora, at least partly because this family has in the past been a catch-all category for many early or poorly differentiated taxa.

    Within a large range of variation, the mustelids exhibit some common characteristics. They are typically small animals with short legs, short round ears, and thick fur. Most mustelids are solitary, nocturnal animals, and are active year-round.[2]

    Mustelids, with the exception of the sea otter,[3] have picky scent glands that produce a strong-smelling secretion the animals use for sexual signaling and for marking territory. The most developed of these scent glands are found in skunks​
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  4. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I'd bet on a coon. They like to pop the heads off. Your other chickens probably kicked her off the roost when the coon came in. You know - throw one in the volcano & the gods will leave us alone kind of thing.

    I've lost a ton of birds to darn coons. I'm dealing with a fox at the moment - not sure what to do with him. he grabs them during the day.

  5. The Lisser

    The Lisser Songster

    Thank you muddy horse [​IMG]

    and midget farms.

    And Bear Foot Farm, thank you for your input. I don't think it was a skunk though, because the coop didn't have any skunk smell (the smell was closer to the house). I looked up long-tailed weasel - which range throughout the U.S. - and that sounds like a possibility. Or raccoon, like midget farms said.

    Anyway, I'll be locking the "kids" up at night until I can get the run predator proof.

    R.I.P Cayenne. You were a sweet chicken.
  6. Lofty Dreams

    Lofty Dreams Songster

    Apr 9, 2010
    a weasel pulled one of my leghons into pieces
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Sorry for your loss [​IMG]

  8. DPC poultry

    DPC poultry Songster

    Dec 18, 2010
    Mt. washington Ky
    probably a weasel they will just drink the blood sometimes
  9. coltssuperbowl83

    coltssuperbowl83 Songster

    Dec 17, 2010
    Quote:I thought that was a chupa cabra?

    Sorry for your loss though.

  10. DPC poultry

    DPC poultry Songster

    Dec 18, 2010
    Mt. washington Ky
    my friend had 7 chickens get killed only the veins on there necks were severed and they were drained of blood the next night he trapped a weasel

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