Good Sign to ID Raptor as Cuase of Poultry Loss

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Last night I was called by a 4-H family and told about loss of a duck in theirs back yard. It was their first loss. Bird free-ranged with others during latter part of day until just after dark. Remains of carcass found just after dark near garden. About 85% of bird still present (Khaki Cambell hen). Neck de-fleshed with trachea and vertebrate intact. A strip of muscle was picked away down left side of back. A lot of skin exposed where feathers were removed. Some scattering of feathers around kill site although it was windy and feathers of a duck. Most removed feathers remaining had skin attached. Timing not consistent with raccoon or opossum and carcass remaining not consistent with fox, coyote, or bobcat. Perimeter fence likely excluded dogs. It was fun listening to the theories. Then we got down to business and looked at carcass in more detail. Bones in de-fleshed area on back were intact with no chewing action (consistent with raptor). What nailed if for me was the large feces with lots of white uric acid on grown next to the carcass. It was feces from a bird that consumes a very high protein diet. Hawk or owl. They setup a game camera and replaced carcass. I had to invest some time in discussing, yes pet loss, but this can be used to prevent further such happenings.
  2. hayley3

    hayley3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 16, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    How do you know it wasn't the ducks poo?
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Duck feces is dominated by fibrous plant materials coming from diet and the uric acid (white pasty part) is often difficult to see. Feces observed had no fibrous materials which is consistent with consuming flesh only with no fibrous material(s) which can include feathers and hair. Hawks I know from studying them internally do not allow fibrous materials and bones to get past stomach. After a fiber rich meal is digested by the stomach, the raptor regurgitates the remaining bolus which is dominated by feathers, bones, and hair.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    How does a game camera or identifying a predator stop losses if nothing else is done. Free ranging flocks will have losses and no game camera or knowledge of hawk or owl as culprit will stop it.

    Not being snarky just sayin'- many folks want to know what is killing birds but still allow free ranging so it doesn't mean much in the end. It's cool you narrowed it down to a raptor or owl but in the long run doesn't aid the chickens or ducks any.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    OK my dear pet shop. Purpose was to educate. Many details left out concerning adjustments to stop predation as the did not need to be stated. You were being a snarky.
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Identifying the predator means the battle is half won. To finish winning the battle against predation, the caretaker must use this knowledge to protect the flock against further attack.

    Whether or not the caretaker decides to use this knowledge to his advantage is completely up to the caretaker.
  7. HotDesertChick

    HotDesertChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 4, 2015
    Southern New Mexico
    Whenever you have chickens & ducks aren't you advertising a free meal to any & all enterprising forms of predators? It IS important to I.D. your Nemesis"? Or, you won't prevent it from returning for many more effortless/free eats? Every free-range flock owner is serving up meals to clever opportunists? Varmints have been around much longer than us? And, our simple/domesticated fowl? Well, ....chickens/ducks, don't /won't have a clue. They're Bird Brains.

    A protected environment, and outsmarting varmints waiting in the bushes/trees for "sitting ducks", may help some of your fowl survive? Chickens and ducks ARE "sitting ducks. Protect them, or lose all. Please also show a little concern for the poultry's final plight?

    We don't let our dogs run in the street either. C'mon people, be responsible?
  8. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 20, 2008
    Central Ga.
    I live in Hawk central over here in Georgia.... the poo described near the carcass of the dead bird is a calling card often seen at Hawk kills. And hawks will return to a carcass if they think they can continue their meal.

    I think you have to have a combined strategy. Not alot of mention about shrubbery as a hawk strategy. My birds free range all day and I rarely lose any (knock on wood). but I have alot of shrubbery and other yard furniture , fence lines. Fence lines with shrubbs. Shrub plantings around trees. The chickens generally seem to be aware of their escape options and will keep near the cover. They will hang out all day in the bushes some days. I can tell when hawks are around because of the behavior of the chickens. They will cross open areas at a run. No loitering. I rarely am able to spot the hawk in question, unless it is in the air.

    Also I have a couple of roosters. They are very vigilant and sound an alert when a predator is sighted. The hens immediately scatter to the nearest cover. It is impressive to see.

    I also have dogs.... I think my Australian Shepherd is to some degree cognizant of hawks and will keep them off. But he is getting older and would rather hang in the house.
    I have never heard of a hawk attacking into shrubbery to get at birds. Maybe if desperate. I also think an older hawk will consider his chances of getting to eat his meal and not just killing it. Roosters and dogs make it less likely they can enjoy their kill. I have lost small young chickens to Coopers Hawks...Young hawks are much more careless or heedless than older hawks. I would not expect such good results from hanging up old CDs unless they were navigation obstacles like barrage balloons.

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