dead chicken in my pen only missing its head

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by debdamonte, May 3, 2009.

  1. debdamonte

    debdamonte New Egg

    May 3, 2009
    I have 21 oops now 20 laying hens and 2 roosters . They have all been raised together from chicks in a large enclosed pen with a large coop attached. No predator can get in. We have dogs and cats and they don't bother with the chickens. Over the past 3 months I have found a dead chicken in the middle of the pen pretty much the insides have been eaten up. Do I have too many chickens? Do I have a mean rooster (he does come after me sometimes) or is there some animal that is grabbing them through the fence? My dogs are not making a sound which they would do if a predator was in the area ( I think). has anyone every had anything like this happen. So far I have lost one duck and two hens. Are they killing each other? Why?
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  2. NotTheMomma

    NotTheMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sounds like you have a predator! Not sure what, possibly a skunk or raccoon? I bet someone on here will know!

  3. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    raccoon or possum, and I'm leaning towards a lazy possum since you only lost one
  4. Biddieacres

    Biddieacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    Edited to say..... I read a raccoon will eat the head and crop of the bird only.

    So sorry to hear of the loss of your bird.
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  5. thegreypony

    thegreypony Chillin' With My Peeps

    Neighbor came by tonight while I was checking the bee hives and we got to talking about our chickens. They lost all of theirs - one by one - in the same fashion you describe. The culprit? A weasel that was eventually caught in the act. I'd never heard of such but we are totally new to keeping chickens. But I've seen ferrets that could shove themselves through tiny spaces/holes. Neighbor told me their dogs didn't ever alert, either, and their dogs are on watch 24/ least for everything but weasels, apparently. [​IMG]

    edited to add that our neighbor just moved here from Indiana and that's where her flock was decimated. Your profile doesn't say where you are...maybe no weasels where you are? Good luck to you! Be tenacious!!
    Last edited: May 3, 2009
  6. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    In Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens Gail Damerow says that minks and weasels take the head off - their calling card so to say... and yes they can get in through really small spaces! Good luck getting your coop etc weasel proof! Why is it that everything wants to eat our chickens... it would be so nice to be able to let our birds out to free range and get all those lovely bugs etc but even with us watching over them the hawks are swooping way too close!!
  7. DixieDame67

    DixieDame67 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 13, 2008
    Jonesbourgh Tennessee
    Racoons will tear off heads only to, last year my teenage chicks were put in a huge kennel (big enough for great dane) 14 half grown chicks, 3 occasions i would come out and one frizzle they managed to squeeze thru the kennel wiring, the other two , were to big, so they just ripped off there heads left them hanging in between the bars.....not many preditors around here but we started noticing a family of racoons (3) who were living in a drain culvert, whichs we blocked off and they moved out, by nature chickens are curious, sons grandpaw said raccons will lure chickens over and grab them thru the wire , he lost all his chickens to racoons........


    Sorry for your loss !!
  8. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Hardware cloth will prevent raccoons from reaching through the holes.

    Locking your birds in a predator proof house at night helps a lot too.
  9. lakebound

    lakebound Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2013
    Southern Indiana
    Skunk's or Racoon's are usually the ones that only eat the head. I've had a coon that got in my coop and got two of my girls and I set my trap for several weeks and caught 8 coons and 2 skunks. When you trap them make sure you trap is secured to the ground or a tree. A can of tuna with holes poked in it, and wired to the cage works best. I hope you catch it whatever it is.....22 caliber will work or take them at LEAST 5 miles from your home or they will return! Good luck!
  10. SandyAcres

    SandyAcres Just Hatched

    May 10, 2013
    Greensboro, Florida
    We had the same problem, it was possums, they got so they would eat the chickens and leave them alive, it was horrible. We got some Great Pyrenees dogs and it has never happened again. We still lose one or two chickens a year to a sly little female fox, she is really, really good. She carries them off though, and for some reason it does not bother me as much. Gotta love Great Pyrenees, though it takes about a year to train them not to pounce on the chickens (the females are worse about it, in my limited experience.)

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