Help...I Found a dead Hen today...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by monathequeen, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. monathequeen

    monathequeen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Burlington KS
    Hi Folks.
    Today I let the poor birds out to free range after being "Cooped-Up " so to speak for days now. (It was a sunny day and We havn't seen the sun for weeks now.)
    I was outside with them most of the time doing chores and decided to go in for a break. I heard a faint screech from inside and passed it off to the Roosters fighting over the hens..Well then I went back out and the chickens were all in the coop and I figured it was a good time to go ahead and lock them in for the day so I did my usual head count and there was a hen missing. I didn't panic and started looking around the yard and under the usual places they like to hang out and still found no bird.
    I knew something was wrong and decided to look out in the brush and tree line and to my surprise, I found my hen next to a tree and she was missing her entire head and neck. There were feathers every where and I was suddenly heart broken.
    I havn't lost a chick for three years now and this was a real bummer.
    What do you think killed her.

    There are alot of Eagles around our property this Winter but wouldn't it have carried the whole chicken off and away ?
    There are no Racoons around since last summer to speak of.
    I have seen stray cats around lately but could a cat have have done all that damage?
    I think it was a Hawk. What do you think ?
    I won't be letting the chickens out to free range much does that suck ???
  2. newchickengirl

    newchickengirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2009
    This sounds too familiar. Sorry for your lost but sounds just like My hawk problems I had this past fall. Im pretty sure eagles kill the same way. Hawks usually eat the heads first and with the feathers near you can about bet it was. Not all will carry there prey away. If it is too big for the hawk they usually eat the carcass enough to where they can carry it or come back to it to feed later.
  3. mikeksfarmer

    mikeksfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2008
    Bonner springs KS
    I am betting it was a hawk kill and it was not an easy kill as there were feathers every where. Poor chicken I am sorry. Hawks and Owls do often lighten the load by picking the head off. Since it happened in the day I would suggest a Hawk and most likely a Red Tail. Have any fire Crackers? setting one off every once and a while might help. I have considered putting some by the door and going out every once and a while and just lighting one. I am sure it would help scare away big preditors.
  4. monathequeen

    monathequeen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Burlington KS
    I think it was a Hawk since there has been one sitting in the tree almost everyday.

    He just sits up there staring down but he always flys off when I go out side.

    The Roosters are really good at warning the others about the presence of a predator.
    I wonder if the hens and Ducks automaticaly run inside or just freeze and watch.
    I have never seen a predator very close to the birds accept a Hawk or a Eagle flying above so I don't know if it's flight or fight.
    Do you think a Rooster would attack a Hawk or just warn them ?
    It would be cool to set up a 24hr. camera outside and see what the birds actually do when a predator is near.
    I have the birds in a covered run when the weather is nice and they are protected from Flying predators but every once in awhile I let them out in the yard.
    I guess I would have to be out with them every time they venture out.
    I had a Red Tailed Hawk attack one of my Pekins one summer on the front porch. I happen to be home and ran out side and scared him off. My poor Duck had all his flight feathers chewed off but luckily I had first aid supplys and he survived. He died last year of Major Bumble foot infection. I didn't notice it in time and he died soon after I noticed he was lame.....I hate loosing my animals but I have learned so much from the actions of predators and being smart in keeping them safe.

    Unfortunately we live right by a River and a Forest..........[​IMG]
  5. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee

    Could be coon if not a hawk. They will attack in daylight and will even attack as a pair, like a team. Not the norm, but has been seen. It being wintertime and food more scarce, they often come closer to humans in daylight hours. Havahart live trap with marshmallow for bait will bag a coon if one is around. If it was a 4-legged pred, it will surely be back. If a hawk it could come back too. Price of free-ranging is unavoidably some flock losses.

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