Help identify predator please!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Emdy, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Emdy

    Emdy Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 9, 2013
    I have lost several chickens. One a night. No signs of anything, just gone. Except the last two. There were feathers everywhere. Big pile in the run, big pile on other side of fence (5 foot high) and a trail of feathers through the yard across the street and into the thicket. Never been able to find a carcass. They always disappear at dusk so I was putting them up earlier and earlier but they kept disappearing earlier and earlier. I was thinking an owl until I saw the trail of feathers along the ground. (Those last two were also my biggest two, including my rooster, Buff Orphingtons). I always thought an owl would land on them, kill them, and then fly off with them. Any ideas at what this could be? I live in northeastern Tennessee. My remaining chickens are being kept completely locked up and have remained fine. I need to identify this predator so I can catch and kill OR relocate depending on what it is. Coyote, bobcat, owl, or fox are my guesses so far. Was really leaning towards owl because of the time of day they are being taken. Dusk ONLY. I don't hear any hooting at night, no crying like coyotes do. Any help would be great. Any comments that are not helpful.....Please don't.
     
  2. Cole405

    Cole405 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2015
    I suggest you put a recorder or camera to record while you are asleep to find the chicken killer. Or if you are willing keep watch and look out your window all night. I hope you are able to keep your flock safe
     
  3. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler Premium Member

    I doubt it would be an owl, they could not carry an rooster that size.

    I had a rooster killed by an owl the other night and it left it lay, it could not carry it.

    It was well after dark when the owl got it. the rooster had escaped from me and was not letting my catch him 9after dark).

    This is what that sight looked like.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    You can see the wing tracks from when the owl went to lift off.

    I am thinking coyote or bobcat. Maybe bobcat, I would think a coyote would carry it away neater with less sign. However, coyotes are a dusk and dawn hunter. I like the game cam idea, I use one some, and it works well.
     
  4. FionasFam

    FionasFam Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 16, 2013
    When coyotes have killed our wonderful chickens, they left absolutely no trail. If I had to guess, I would say it is a predator more low to the ground and dragging the poor birds.
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Regardless if it was a weasel or a Bengal Tiger that took the rooster in the snow, it is obvious that the concept of a humane death is foreign to all predators. It appears that your rooster was still alive and kicking when carried to its eventual death. It looks like the rooster's struggles became odious to the fox, bobcat, or coyote so it paused to change its grip on your bird.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  6. Cole405

    Cole405 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2015
    were there eggs cracked open? it might be a skunk
     
  7. Cole405

    Cole405 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 25, 2015
    wait. It might surly be a fox. I did research.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  8. Bnstorms

    Bnstorms New Egg

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    May 30, 2015
    Your problem sounds similar to what ours was. We had a pair of foxes taking our chickens. Sometimes they left feathers, sometimes not. We didn't realize it was a fox until we saw it. One morning, I saw the fox from the window in the attic. Ran through the flock, grabbed a chicken and scurried away with it crazy fast. Real life National Geographic.
     
  9. taprock

    taprock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Fox and coyote grab and run. I have never had a trail left with either. My first thought was raccoon.
     

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