Did my chickens kill one of their own?

Gabbychickens

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
60
9
91
Michigan
I've posted before about my crossed beak chicken Amelia. We found her in a nesting box this morning and her head was gone. All other chickens are fine and their is no sign a predator git in. Did my other chickens kill her? If so, why? She has been in the flock for months with no issues. She's not even the bottom of the pecking order. Ten chickens have a 6 x 8 coop with 6 nesting boxes and places to roost. They have a 25 x 50 run that I put tons of things for them to scratch around in. They always have food and water. As far as I know she wasn't sick. She was her usual feisty self yesterday. Why would they eat her head?
 

Gabbychickens

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
60
9
91
Michigan
One more thing. My husband is wondering if its because she had yogurt around her head and chest, but she always did. We gave her a bath every few weeks to get it off.
 

iwiw60

Crowing
5 Years
Jan 27, 2014
5,291
661
336
Central Oregon
I highly doubt that one of your other chickens did this, since the head is completely gone...you never found it? Are your other girls upset/stressed? If so, you most likely had a predator get in there during the night. Could have been a weasel, mink or raccoon. Do you see any visible signs of where/how it could have gotten in? Any footprints around?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,335
33,411
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Absolutely, a chicken did not do this awful thing!

You need to accept that you, for certain, have a predator, probably a raccoon. Where is you nest box where she was found? Look nearby to see if there's any open mesh where a raccoon could have reached in a paw and grabbed the chicken. That's how they usually operate.

Then go around and carefully inspect all along the bottom of the coop and run as well as up high for cracks and crevices. Don't assume that a tiny opening up high won't allow something entry. See that doors and gates fit snugly and can't be pried open to allow a predator to squeeze through a small crack. Weasels can squeeze through very tiny cracks.

If you have just poultry netting (chicken wire), you don't have a secure run. Anything can reach through and grab a chicken, tearing off its head.

I'd get right on it, or you're going to find another chicken dead tonight. The predator has a taste for chicken now.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,040
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Depending on the structure of your coop and run there are plenty of predators that can get into and out of an enclosure leaving no sign that they were ever there. Perhaps you can post some photos of your setup and we can help you sort out possible suspects that could have made such an entry into your particular enclosure.
 

mebuff daisy

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 24, 2014
216
3
74
Chickens will not do this -maybe a raccoon or a ferret . Make sure your coop has hardwere cloth , not chicken wire.Soory about your hen .
 

Gabbychickens

Chirping
5 Years
Jul 26, 2014
60
9
91
Michigan
I'm very relieved to report my 16 year old son is a bonehead. He's the one that found her, told me her head was missing, then buried her. When I went to go clean out any blood in the coop there was none. After quizzing him down I think her head was tucked under and he couldn't see it in the dark. It got below freezing here last night and I think she just didn't have what she needed to survive. I'm still so sad about losing her, she was a character, but I'm so relieved she wasn't killed by her flock or a predator.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,335
33,411
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Better to have to deal with a teenage bone head than a predator!
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But I'm so sorry you lost your little hen.
 

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