Help identifying a predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by beetandsteet, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. beetandsteet

    beetandsteet Chillin' With My Peeps

    836
    76
    131
    Aug 21, 2015
    SE Texas
    We have some 4 week old Cornish Cross chickens in a tractor about 200 yards from the house. This morning, when we went out to feed, water, and move them, we saw 3 birds decapitated, with their heads completely ripped off--but not eaten, and claw/teeth marks on their backs. There wasn't a lot of blood around, if any. Almost looked like the predator had sucked the blood out. No parts of the chickens were eaten. No other birds were touched. Someone had left the door on the top of the tractor open by accident the night before--the predator did not dig under the tractor, it climbed in. Can anyone help identify this predator? We think it's a possum. Any ideas?
     
  2. Tumbling K

    Tumbling K Overrun With Chickens

    10,573
    1,559
    346
    Oct 5, 2015
    Texas
    possum
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,698
    6,794
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Could be a coon too....or an owl...or......
    Strange tho that it didn't eat more of the bird....so maybe mink, weasel.
     
  4. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,205
    566
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado
    Since notice was taken that it climbed in... How tough would it gave had to have been to rip a hole and climb in?.... Or is it a little hole climbed in/squeezed through?

    I would go with coon. Possum are pretty slow to figure out how to rip stuff open without digging, but a coon will climb in top and just smash stuff to get in... Or work on a weak spot until it gives; coons are inquisically smart, possums, not so much ;)


    Weasel or Mink, Martin.... Small enough to squeeze in, and would probably just kill them for fun, and eat the heads.

    Edit* autocorrect
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,698
    6,794
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop

    Door was left open.
     
  6. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,250
    145
    191
    Feb 7, 2014
    Jones County, Georgia
    Latching the door is an easy fix, if it keeps happening with the door closed then predator identification becomes more important.
     
  7. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

    3,205
    566
    261
    Mar 14, 2015
    Northern Colorado

    Ha! :p

    I should be glad my life doesn't depend on READING a post thoroughly lol ;)

    Thanks aart,...

    Guess that leaves just about anything huh?

    The fact that the door was open, but the bodies left behind leads me to think the predator was too small to carry it away... Mink, weasel, possum. Not a coon ;)
     
  8. beetandsteet

    beetandsteet Chillin' With My Peeps

    836
    76
    131
    Aug 21, 2015
    SE Texas
    Thanks guys for all your ideas! We are very sure now that it is a possum. We are literally overrun with them at our property, and we have heard that they like to kill chickens just for the fun of it. The only thing that had us stumped is why did it not eat more birds? Well, we're sure glad it didn't :) We have secured the tractor and have had no more kills.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,698
    6,794
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    No animal kills for 'fun'...they kill when they are hungry and they may kill more than they can eat at one time and cache them for later.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. Imachicklvr2

    Imachicklvr2 Out Of The Brooder

    90
    6
    31
    May 27, 2013
    Missouri
    Dogs, cats, humans...all animals and all kill for fun. I have lost 4 chickens to my neighbor's fat old lab that chewed through a layer of hardware cloth and chain link fence to get to them. He looked like he was having a great time.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by