Emergency! 2 of my chickens were found dead this morning. What killed them?

cmom

Hilltop Farm
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Nov 18, 2007
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So sorry for your loss. My first thought was weasel. Not knowing where you live and the predators you have, you listed the predators you don't have but something killed your birds and it will be back lurking for another opportunity. My suggestion would be to put up a camera and then you should be able to find out what is lurking and then can form a plan on how to deal with it. Good luck...
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
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Sorry about the loss of your birds!
I see that in Texas you may have the long tailed weasel. A weasel can fit through any hole or gap over an inch or so.
The meat striped off the bones sounds like rat to me. If it was a weasel he would have likely killed most of your birds in one night as they cashe kill. (Kill an abundance of food for later)
I do not believe the kitten has anything to do with this except he smells the rodents around the coop area and Is drawn to that. He may be a good thing to have when he gets bigger to help you with rodent populations
You must fortify your coop so that all the rat access is blocked.
A game camera may not capture the rat or weasel as they are small, but I still recommend putting a couple out so you can see what is creeping around your chicken coop when no one is looking. Your state website tells me you have all the usual chicken eating critters. Mt lion, Coyote, three types of fox, bobcat, racoon, possum, something called a ring tail, mink, weasel and a wide variety of raptors.
Everything eats chicken!
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
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I have had rats but none have ever killed my birds. I hope you are able to figure out what it was. I agree that a weasel will usually kill all of the birds. Again, good luck...
 

Yardmom

Songster
May 3, 2018
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The first chicken we had killed by a predator had a fully intact skeleton left behind in our yard. Friends of ours who had chickens of their own said that weasels can do that. I know weasels more commonly kill several birds at once, so I don't know if it was a weasel that killed my bird or yours, but I have seen where predator left a clean skeleton behind.
 

Folly's place

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Sep 13, 2011
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We had rats in the coop once, and they ate eggs, and killed three bantams, decapitating them. If rats can get in, so can weasels. Chickens will eat dead flockmates too.
So sorry for your losses!
Mary
 

EEforMe

Songster
Sep 5, 2021
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Hmm...does sound weasel/mink-ish. Me being me because of the drowned silkie I want to say a human did it but probably not lol. I hope you figure it out! Sorry for your loss too!
 

TwistedTayy

Songster
Apr 30, 2021
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Douglasville, GA
Why would this person not remove the dead chicken or empty the water bucket and clean it good before giving your chickens some clean water to drink? That's so disgusting!🤮
Yeah this kind of makes me wonder if they were even checking on them like they should. I imagine that 12 chickens could clean a car as rather quickly but I wonder if it had died the night before you got back so it was sitting there for at least a full day and the neighbor never saw? Makes me think they didn’t see because they weren’t there.

Also another possibility is if they were used to free ranging and then got locked up for a week that could have stressed them out enough to kill each other. I don’t know how big your coop/run is, my coops are a little smaller than they should be but my birds free range and only sleep in there… if I had to keep them locked up for a week, I think I might wake up to a scene similar to yours. The missing head is weird (typical of a raccoon) but I think it’s worth mentioning that there is a simple possibility. Chickens killed chickens due to stress and the neighbor simply didn’t notice… also possible they maybe weren’t being fed as often, adding to the stress and cannibalism.
 
Nov 11, 2020
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Yeah this kind of makes me wonder if they were even checking on them like they should. I imagine that 12 chickens could clean a car as rather quickly but I wonder if it had died the night before you got back so it was sitting there for at least a full day and the neighbor never saw? Makes me think they didn’t see because they weren’t there.

Also another possibility is if they were used to free ranging and then got locked up for a week that could have stressed them out enough to kill each other. I don’t know how big your coop/run is, my coops are a little smaller than they should be but my birds free range and only sleep in there… if I had to keep them locked up for a week, I think I might wake up to a scene similar to yours. The missing head is weird (typical of a raccoon) but I think it’s worth mentioning that there is a simple possibility. Chickens killed chickens due to stress and the neighbor simply didn’t notice… also possible they maybe weren’t being fed as often, adding to the stress and cannibalism.
I'm thinking the same thing.
 

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