Headless chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by K.J., Oct 11, 2008.

  1. K.J.

    K.J. Hatching

    Oct 11, 2008
    On Thursday two chickens were dead in the chicken yard. One had no head. The head was found in the chicken house. Today two chickens were found dead, one in the house without a head and the other in the yard without a head. We do have rats. I wonder if the rats killed the chickens, or did the chickens die of something else, and the rats just ate the head? There was no sign of a fight and no previous symptoms signaling they might be ill. Our chicken yard is secure from large predators. Nothing larger than a raccoon could enter. [​IMG] The rats have in the past stashed their left over food in the chicken house. BTW I live in Northwest Washington.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2008
  2. Is it possible that you have an owl hanging around there? I used to live in Western Washington and where I worked we had a real problem with barn owls getting the chickens and they would fly down and catch them and decapitate them.
  3. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Songster

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Headless chicken is classic raccoon attack. Rats can/will kill smaller chickens and chicks and will take away chicks. They can't move a larger bird (aka rats of nimh), and will just gnaw away the fleshy parts leaving the bones intact. If nothing larger than a raccoon could enter, that means a raccoon could enter? I think one or more did, and it/they will continue to come back until all chickens are killed. You need to secure your coop ASAP.
  4. K.J.

    K.J. Hatching

    Oct 11, 2008
    See, the thing i don't understand is, if it was a raccoon, why was the decapitated head stashed in the place where the rats typically stash their apple cores etc? I am wondering if the chickens did not just die of another cause and that made them easy prey for the rats to eat their heads off. But what could they have died of? I have had chickens for 15 years in the same area and never lost any to predators.
  5. yotetrapper

    yotetrapper Songster

    May 3, 2007
    North Central MS
    First, I would toss out some poison for the rats in places dogs and cats (and chickens!) can't get to.

    I'm thinking raccoons, and the head may of just been in that place by coincidence.
  6. amazondoc

    amazondoc Cracked Egghead

    Mar 31, 2008
    Lebanon, TN
    Or -- the raccoon killed the bird and took the head off, then rats carried the head away......
  7. mark3208

    mark3208 In the Brooder

    Aug 22, 2008
    99% of the time,headless chickens = raccoons. I want to swear,but i will just say buggers.
  8. Shared Acres

    Shared Acres Songster

    Aug 10, 2008
    Northeast Fla
    My guess would be a raccoon did it and then the rats came in for leftovers.

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