Hawk, coon, cat, or something else?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by twoacresofhappy, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. twoacresofhappy

    twoacresofhappy In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2013
    Georgia, USA
    My 14yo son and 12yo daughter were putting away the chickens, who had free ranged throughout most of the day. When our sweet little Blue Andalusian was missing from the coop just before lockdown, my daughter went looking for her. She found her body under a tree and came crying inside. My son and I went to investigate and discovered that our Bluebell had been killed by an unknown predator. She had a gash near her breast, and the skin was stripped from her head and neck. She had also been just recently killed - rigor mortis had not begun to set in. Her little feathers are scattered all under the tree, too. We are trying to figure out what might have killed her, and have come up with a few possibilities:

    - a young/small hawk who may have been planning to return
    - a raccoon or possum (but just before dusk?, and wouldn't it have gone after more?)
    - a stray cat: we have two outside cats who aren't buddies, but they never, ever fight. Last night, however, we heard a cat fight near our garage. Of course, it's possible that the fight was with a raccoon or other wild animal, too. One of our cats is nearly feral - we know he's around, but we rarely see him, so it wouldn't be easy to see if he's been injured. Of course, it could be one of our cats, but they've never bothered a chicken before, and we had them even in California when we had chickens (who always were out free ranging) for nearly two years.

    This is our first loss to a predator. Based on what I've described, do any of the scenarios I've listed seem more or less likely, or is there another possibility? Also, now what do I do? I do have a trap. Should I set it near the tree where she was killed, or near the coop? Both the tree and the coop are stand-alone structures - there are no other trees near them, so they are both out in the open.
  2. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Sorry for your loss. One of the most frustrating parts of raising chickens is losing one and not knowing to what. It could have been any of the predators you named.

    Set your trap near the coop. Not sure where you live, but you could also be dealing with a fox. They are very sneaky predators, and good ones too.

    Good luck with catching it. If you have access to one, set up a trail camera so it points at the coop. It may capture a picture of whatever it is that is hunting. You should also keep the others in for a while, as the predator will be back, and you will continue to lose more birds if you don't protect them.
  3. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC

    Quote: Sounds like a Raptor of some sort

    A Coon would have most likey carried it away, and it's pretty rare to see a Possum in daylight, and even MORE rare for them to kill a chicken that's not confined or sleeping

    Most domestic cats don't kill grown chickens

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: