Full sized hen killed, but hardly consumed at all. Any idea on what it could have been?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SleepyHollowFnF, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF Out Of The Brooder

    One of my girls was killed today very close to the coop. She had her head removed, but her comb was still attached to her skull (found a few feet away). Her neck and left chest was gone, ribs opened up and organs and egg yolk exposed. The vast majority of her body was totally intact, feathers included. I stayed up in one of our trees for a few hours with a rifle waiting for it to return for more, but nothing showed up.

    Anyone have any ideas on who the culprit could be? We will be keeping an eye out tomorrow again. My girlfriend is out for blood now. I am considerably less resentful toward a predator being a predator. But I'd be curious if anyone had any suggestions as to what we are up against.

    Thanks all!
  2. kellyhubb

    kellyhubb Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    Have you used the predator identifier tool yet? It is really useful, here is a link to the website that has it - http://www.poultrydvm.com
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It’s really hard since so many predators go for the head first, but with the had completely off and what was consumed on the spot, my first guess would be a bird of prey, probably hawk or owl.
  4. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2016
    NW Missouri
    Sounds like an owl to me
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Agrees BOP.
  6. SleepyHollowFnF

    SleepyHollowFnF Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks to all that replied. I had suspected a bird of prey was possible, but its pretty densely forested. I have seen hawks flying over the treeline, and I have heard owls at night. I've only once seen a big bird of prey below the treeline. It was actually perched on the roof of my treehouse one morning and flew away when I woke up.

    There isn't much evidence, that I saw of a struggle, it looked like it had just been pounded into the ground, which would support something coming from above. The small amount of it eaten also probably supports the bird option. I assume they have smaller stomachs than raccoons or fishers.

    Having spent a few hours watching for something to come along, I guess it isn't surprising nothing came back for more. Especially if the culprit was a bird.

    Thanks again folks!

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