Did my chickens eat one of chickens???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by quiacato, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. quiacato

    quiacato New Egg

    Feb 25, 2014
    I came home yesterday evening to a partially eaten and alive chicken. I have had chickens for over a year and have had no issues with predators. My chickens are in a large area - probably about a half acre out with my two horses. They have a small separate area where the horses don't go where their coop is and have access to the horses barn.

    My first thought since I have a very large fence and the chicken was still there was that a large hawk got her. After reading about descriptions it does not sound like a hawk. She was laying on her breast, there was a wound on one wing and all her tail feathers were gone and something had been eating her back side. There was large gash down on her back. Her had and neck were fine. When I found her the other chickens were not near her but I could see a lot of chicken prints in the dirt. There were no other prints in the dirt around her. As soon as we killed her to end her suffering the other chickens immediately began to eat her. My fear is that one of the horses had injured her ( although that has never been an issue ) and the other chickens ate her?? Does this sound like what might have happened? I have never had issues with them even pecking each other and they have food out 24/7.

    Regardless of what got her it was awful and I never want to see something like that again. I live in NM in an area that does have a lot of wildlife.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Since you were not there it is hard to say. It’s possible she had a prolapse or other injury and the other chickens pecked her back there to cause that damage. They will peck at blood or raw flesh. Maybe a hawk tried for her and missed but still caused a wound? It’s hard to say.

    The predator that immediately comes to mind that starts eating on the rear end is a possum. That’s another possibility. There is a pretty good chance a possum would leave droppings behind and those droppings are fairly distinctive. Another thing to look for is footprints. Can you find puncture wounds on her body?

    Although many people think many predators only come out during the night, most predators will hunt during the day too. It’s pretty normal to see skunks, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes, and foxes out hunting in the middle of the day. Possums though normally will come out at dusk and hide at dawn. It really is rare to see one out during the day.

    Not all predators act like they are supposed to. It’s very possible a predator that normally starts at the head started at the other end this time. A skunk usually mauls a chicken pretty badly but maybe not this time. That’s rough. I really don’t know what happened.

    Welcome to the forum. I just wish it were better circumstances.
  3. TheChickInn

    TheChickInn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2012
    Sorry for your loss! It sounds like your hen may have become injured, and perhaps started bleeding from how you are describing her wound. Chickens love the color red, and while they probably did not cause the initial wound/bleeding, they very well may have pecked her if they saw fresh blood. I a rooster awhile back that had gotten frostbite on his comb, as it started to heal, the comb started to bleed. I had to separate him so the girls would quit pecking his comb.
  4. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    I agree, that kind of wound sounds like possum to me. We have a lot of possums out at all hours around here. I've had dogs that also tore feathers and started eating at the vent or belly.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by