First predator attack and I would like help figuring out what it was.


7 Years
May 24, 2012
Sometime today from approximately 5ish to just about when it got dark around 8:30, we had our first attack and it was a pretty big one. I have to look again in the morning but Im pretty sure we lost 4, maybe 5 birds, but only 1 was found. The one we found was right next to the chicken yard that we keep fenced (but they free-range during the day). Unfortunately we got busy and closed them up later than normal.

The one bird we found was a young one and she been mauled pretty bad, mostly around her neck and chest area. Her head was still attached. A big pile of feathers was around her but the majority of her body was untouched. Because it was dark and we were upset about the situation I am not positive about the count but I did see other heavy amounts of feathers in the vicinity and even though I counted and re-counted, it is hard to count moving birds. We had 76 of various ages so like I said I am going to count again in the morning.

But what predator(s) could have gotten 3-5 chickens, 2 of which I know are gone were about 11 weeks old. I didn't see any obvious tracks and whatever it was didn't mind eating the one bird right next to an area where we spend a lot of time. My dogs were barking at one point when it was still light out, so its possible the predators were there when it was still light and actually were pretty close to the dog kennel. But they weren't scared of the dogs....

What animal would do this? Sorry this is so choppy but I am trying to figure out the clues as I write this.

Probably still light out, around 7ish?. Multiple bird loss. One bird found and the area that had been eaten was primarily the neck. Only a small amount on the chest area. A good amount of feather loss from other birds was in the vicinity. No obvious tracks that we could see. Not scared of dogs barking in fenced kennel area that was about 50 ft away. We spend a lot of time in the area so our scent was in the area too. Either they took the other birds off to another location, or they ate the others, or maybe we just didn't find them because it was dark. But they didn't mind sticking right in that area to eat the one.

Thats about all the information I have. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance!
I don't think it would be dogs, we don't have any in our neighborhood that would have done this, and I don't think a dog would eat a chicken like that. Maybe racoons. I guess the weird part is that it was almost certainly daylight, multiple birds and the way that one was eaten. What would focus on its neck like that and leave the body almost entirely alone?
My only experience with foxes was as a kid. We never just lost a couple to foxes. If undisturbed we lost nearly all. Think they get excited by all that flapping and just keep jumping and grabbing.
Good idea about the radio and dog hair. I'll try those to see if it helps. We've been lucky so far, a year and a half with nothing so this was a bit of a shock! Now I'm afraid they'll be back since they know where the "food" is.
if i had to hazzard a guess id say a bird... like a buzzard, which travels with buddys, maybe a small group of juvinile hawks?? just sounds like the usual snach and run of a bird of prey..(the one you found probly fought back and was dropped) and hawks in my area at least attack in the later hours of the day just before dark.

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