Decapitated chicken inside coop

Thistle Ridge

In the Brooder
Oct 20, 2019
2
14
24
I have 9 hens leghorns, favrolles, cinnamon queens and brahmas. Have had them all about 3 years, they live in a large very secure pen and coop at night and are free range most of the day. Went to the coop this morning and found one of my big healthy brahmas decapitated, the head is gone! The others seem fine. I can’t see any where that something other than a small (fit through chain link fence) rodent could get in. What would just take the head?
I also got 12 chicks in October, now about 3 months old that are in a coop with access to the same run. They are starting to commingle with the older girls but can’t imagine this would have any bearing on the dead hen. Any advice?
 

Ninjasquirrel

Crowing
May 11, 2018
3,530
9,055
466
Northwest Indiana
I have 9 hens leghorns, favrolles, cinnamon queens and brahmas. Have had them all about 3 years, they live in a large very secure pen and coop at night and are free range most of the day. Went to the coop this morning and found one of my big healthy brahmas decapitated, the head is gone! The others seem fine. I can’t see any where that something other than a small (fit through chain link fence) rodent could get in. What would just take the head?
I also got 12 chicks in October, now about 3 months old that are in a coop with access to the same run. They are starting to commingle with the older girls but can’t imagine this would have any bearing on the dead hen. Any advice?
I would think a mink or weasel. They have a tendency to do this. There is even a chance it is hiding in your coop now that it is in there. Check around if you can. If you find it you will need to dispatch it because it will keep coming back.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
24,113
41,659
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southern Michigan
Welcome!
I'm sorry for your loss, and this needs fixing ASAP.
Many critters fit through chain link just fine! Usually a weasel will kill many, or all the birds at once, but weasels can easily get in your run. Rats will get in and that's generally how they kill chickens, but usually the smaller individuals, not the largest.
Look very carefully for other openings! Any opening into their night time coop larger than 1/2" diameter is too big!!! If you have your coop open to that run at night, it's not good at all.
Sometimes critters get inside and hide until dark. Do you inspect everywhere every night when you close them inside? Any places someone dug inside?
Mary
 

Thistle Ridge

In the Brooder
Oct 20, 2019
2
14
24
Thanks for your responses. I have been leaving the door open from the coop to run at night for the past 3years without a problem, I guess I just got lucky. I have a dog that has discovered multiple possum around the pen and has killed them but until now no other critters.
I’ll close up the coop and check each night inside but how can I dispatch the weasel/minks? Do have a heart traps work?
 

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