headless chickens, left for dead. Does anyone know what could be getting my birds?

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mschreiner1, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. mschreiner1

    mschreiner1 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2012
    In the fall I lost 4 free ranging birds at dusk. One headless the rest left for dead (even the rooster was taken out). I was devastated. After that I started locking the birds up and only letting them out when I was in the yard. This morning I put my surviving 5 birds in the fenced in garden, but my buttercup always flies out and unfortunately did that this am. It was 10 am when I put them in the garden and by 11am I found her decapitated in the yard, feathers everywhere. Wondering what might be getting my girls. Fox? Coyote? Thought those only hunted at dusk or dawn. She was 1 year old, but not a huge bird. Could it be a hawk? I don't think it would be as heartbreaking if they just took the whole bird, but the take off the head and leave the meat is really upsetting.
  2. LoweBow

    LoweBow In the Brooder

    Feb 26, 2012
    Let me preceed this by saying I'm sorry for your loss.

    In my outdoory lifestyle of hunting and fishing the one animal that will start w/ the head is a bird or prey.
    I had a friend that had a Coopers Hawk that was decapitating his cochins. He said the bird wouldn't even slow down...in one swoop would hit and fly to a limb w/ head in tow.

    Sounds like you have a killer bird....
    1 person likes this.
  3. tracylo09

    tracylo09 In the Brooder

    Apr 23, 2012
    That is so sad, hope you get to the bottom of it and can protect your remaining birds [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  4. mschreiner1

    mschreiner1 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2012
    Thank you! This weekend my husband is going to build me a run for my coop. My coop is a a big shed with plenty of room for my 4 girls. So for the past year I've been either letting them free range or go in my large fenced in garden. Now with this recent lost I have put the pressure on my man to build me a covered run. Soon 8 chicks will be joining our flock. Keeping my fingers crossed that he gets it built this weekend.
  5. dreamer5577

    dreamer5577 Songster

    May 16, 2011
    Hi && Welcome!!!
    I'm sorry for your loss :(
    I'm not completely sure as to what could be doing this. My first guess was a dog or even coyote but they don't normally decapitate. Hopefully someone more helpful will will jump in here!
    Glad you joined us.,
    1 person likes this.
  6. mschreiner1

    mschreiner1 In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2012
    I have seen a large red tailed hawk flying over my property. Hmmmm so that's probably my killer bird. Ugh!
  7. weimarmama

    weimarmama Crowing

    Jun 4, 2010
    My Coop
    [​IMG] & [​IMG] from Alabama. Glad you joined us. So sorry that you're having problems with predators [​IMG]
  8. rikithemonk

    rikithemonk Songster

    Apr 19, 2012
    Mont Dora Florida
    I heard a good suggestion about adding one of those wild game cameras with the motion sensors. Might let you know whats sneaking around your yard when your not there. I have also heard it suggested that running thin wire criss crossing the yard well over head height throws off the raptors when they dive. Although I have never tried this, I think it would buy your chickens more warning and perhaps time to get away. Its hard not to notice a huge killer bird slamming un ceremoniously into the ground.

    1 person likes this.
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG]

    There are other predators than hawks that will decapitate, actually with hawks you usually only find a pile of feathers with maybe some feet.
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    An owl will decapitate and only eat the heads. At dusk, I'd be thinking this is your likely culprit and they do hunt in the daytime as well.
    1 person likes this.

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