First Loss...predator?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by heybarb, Jun 4, 2012.

  1. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

    425
    19
    111
    Mar 9, 2012
    North Carolina
    I came home this afternoon and saw the remains of one of our cochin roosters...Reggie - he's actually the star of my avatar picture. All that was left was a blanket of buff feathers and a few innards - that was it!! Is there any way to tell what it was that got our chicken? The rest of the chickens were hiding in some bushes pretty close by and they all seem to be safe (for the moment). Our chickens were let out of the coop this morning as usual and free range during the day.

    UPDATE on Page 3 - Lost another chicken!!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  2. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Crowing

    10,825
    67
    288
    Jan 12, 2012
    Do you have an open area? It could have been a hawk, it's that time of the year when they're hungry for food for their babies.
     
  3. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

    425
    19
    111
    Mar 9, 2012
    North Carolina
    It definitely could have been a hawk. As this is our first experience with chickens, and our first loss, I just didn't know if a hawk would carry away the whole bird or leave parts of it behind. We also have coyotes, raccoons, and possums but I think of them as night time predators. Would a dog leave parts behind?
     
  4. leadwolf1

    leadwolf1 Songster

    3,705
    109
    213
    May 1, 2011
    Dogs wouldn't eat the chicken...they just kill for fun...and there would have been more casualties as dogs will chase and kill every chicken it can find. It was most likely a hawk. They will kill and stay and eat everything that they can. They don't need to take the prey back to the nest since they regurgitate the already eaten food for the babies [​IMG]
     
  5. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Crowing

    10,825
    67
    288
    Jan 12, 2012
    Dogs play with their prey, and leave the carcass half the time ripped up. If those coyotes/coons/possums are really hungry they can come out in the middle of the day.
     
  6. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

    425
    19
    111
    Mar 9, 2012
    North Carolina
    So assuming that it was a hawk and s/he knows where my chickens are, is there anything I can do other than build a covered run to keep them safe? Any guesses as to how often it might come back? So if it was a hawk, it would have been pretty fast, perhaps not a lot of squawking to draw my dogs attention...maybe?

    The strange thing is that my dog is out during the day too. When I drove up the driveway, he ran out from the porch to greet me and was clearly "surprised" by what he saw too.

    Will a coyote, coon, or possum leave only the innards - eating the bones and all?
     
  7. jeepgurl

    jeepgurl Songster

    105
    31
    101
    Jun 4, 2012
    My yorkie killed and ate one of my younger hens. It also killed a dove, a quail, a rabbit, and a lizard. It all everything except the feet and head. The only thing it hasnt eaten is a mouse.
     
  8. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

    425
    19
    111
    Mar 9, 2012
    North Carolina
    Honestly...that's the part that still has me confused...there is NOTHING left except a few organs and feathers. The skin, bones, head, feet, wings, everything virtually disappeared. There isn't even blood all over. I wish I had been home to see what happened...
     
  9. okallthis4eggs

    okallthis4eggs Songster

    2,242
    207
    206
    Apr 28, 2012
    Kentucky
    My thinking is a fox or coyote would have carried the entire bird away to a safer place to eat. I doubt a coon because they work mostly at night. Also they like to kill more than one. Wouldn't rule out coon or coons but still think its unlikely a coon attack. Hawk for sure a possibility. A hawk could have killed it and ate all it wanted and buzzards or black vultures got the rest. Sounds like more than one animal ate the chicken. Maybe even the dog had some too. Did you leave before daylight and was the rooster accounted for that morning?
     
  10. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

    425
    19
    111
    Mar 9, 2012
    North Carolina
    I let everyone except our 2 new pullets out of the coop this morning at 6:30. Reggie is always the first one out the door! He's also been pecking at the new girls, along with everyone else, so I made sure my original flock was accounted for before locking the door closed. We have a big yard and they never go back to the coop during the day, so I didn't worry much about locking them out.

    When I left the house at 9am, they all greeted me at the back door, expecting a snack and everyone was definitely ok at that point. When I got home around 2pm, 6 were in a giant boxwood on the east side of the house about 300 yards from the coop, but very close to where I found Reggie. The other 3 were in some giant azaleas next to the house about 50 feet away. They would not come out of hiding when I called them, so I don't think it had happened all that long ago...but I could be mistaken. We do have a lot of vultures/buzzards around but it wasn't all spread out like they would have dragged it apart and pulled in a variety of directions. The feathers were left in an almost perfect circle about 2 feet across.

    As for our dog, I really don't think he had anything to do with it - even eating the remains. Since coming home, I can't keep him away from the spot. I keep finding him sneaking over and chewing on a feather or two, even though I buried as much of him as I could. The fact that he won't leave it alone now makes me think he didn't know about it earlier...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: