Do hawks kill but leave chicken bodies uneaten?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 6chickens in St. Charles, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    Our silkie hen was killed but only half eaten. Looks like she was picked apart from above, not bitten or gnawed, dry feathers all around her carcass. Sadly only the skyward half of her purple carcass was picked away and we grieve the terrible waste of her beautiful life. Do hawks routinely kill but leave a lot of carcass just laying there?

    Or is dark silky meat disliked?

  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Hawk generally not abandoning carcass, rather eating what they can then setting in tree usually not too far away until ready to eat again. Such hawk will come back to defend carcass from another hawk or crows. A couple years ago I left hawk kills out to see what was going on. More than one hawk would visit so they pilfer each others killss pretty regular and even owls get in on act.
  3. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    Oh. I wondered that so we left it unattended and found a skunk had dragged the corpse halfway thru the fence, where it was lodged. So I took it back from the skunk, unsure whether the skunk would leave frightful body parts lying around for my neighbors to find on their porch or where their little children play.

    Maybe the hawk was eating but too disturbed by the rest of our flock to complete its meal and just gave up. We have witnessed our brave little birds fighting off hawks. Perhaps this is one who used to be fought off and has finally learned well how to win against a territorial silkie?!
  4. darin367

    darin367 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 1, 2010
    Shelton, Wa.
    i've had red tailed hawks just eat the head/neck........ leave the rest.... come back next day, kill another, eat head/neck...... sounds like you have several predators eye balling your flock........ do what you've gotta do to protect them.... the predators will be back until they can't get fed!!!!
  5. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    St. Charles, IL
    Adding onto my run today! Saw a large fast hawk zoom overhead, perhaps it is the one.
  6. theGrizzFan

    theGrizzFan Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2012
    Missouri Ozarks
    I believe red tailed hawks can be rather opportunistic. I've seen them feeding on deer carcasses before. To echo what Darin367 said, it seems like you have a predator problem involving more than hawks.
    Best of luck to you.
  7. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    signs of hawk: lots of "string" attached to the bones, bones are mostly intact.. areas are plucked clean/almost clean of feathers. nearly perfect feather 'halo' around the carcass or if hawk moved carcass you can find a halo somewhere else in yard. one other sign is the eaten carcass is under a branch, in the open. I assume hawk took prey to branch and let go when it was done...

    from what I read around here, it seems taking only the head and neck whole and leaving body intact are owls? none of the hawks that preyed on my birds(saw them and chased off) removed the head or neck of juvenile birds- they did rip apart limbs from young chicks.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  8. Chesterchook

    Chesterchook Chillin' With My Peeps

  9. Exotic Birds

    Exotic Birds Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 30, 2012
    Hi i wanted to say it seems like from what you said that it is either a hawk, or Owl. I had an owl kill one of my big sucks and eat the head and breast out of it. then come back the next night. It did this for 3 nights.

    CHICKADEE6 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 13, 2014
    We lost a four month old rooster yesterday.all we found was a halo of plucked feathers in a carcass.does hawks carry prey away to a nest? We r wondering what got him.

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