Help me ID predator?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChickenInTheFog, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. ChickenInTheFog

    ChickenInTheFog New Egg

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    So the other morning I noticed my banty hen missing. I leave for work well before the sun comes up so I've just been opening the coop and security gate (coop is inside a secured fencing that's inside a fenced pasture) for them to have access to their pasture during the day and then closing them back up at dusk when I get home. When I returned home I finally found her carcass out some distance from the coop. The only thing left of her was bones, a little remaining meat, wing feathers, and feet (all attached as if she had been intricately skinned, dissected, and picked at). Lots of feathers but only within 5 or 6 feet of the carcass.
    I was thinking more raccoon or feral cat? Could it be possible I am opening the coop up too early? I didn't find any excessive amount of feathers in or anywhere near the coop so part of me believes it was a daytime attack while they were out in the pasture?
    Thanks for any advice.

    -Jeff
     
  2. Howlet

    Howlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    I would leave it closed until 12 if its possible.... and just make sure your careful- if it knows there's easy foood, he'll be back!
     
  3. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like an undisturbed cooper attack. Neighbor used to have racing pigeons. If no one would shoo the hawk away, there would be an area of exploded feathers and the hawk would just stand and eat until full, and leave the rest.
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Your predator is one of the three species of raptors known by our grand-parents as "Chicken" Hawks.

    These three species in descending order by size are the Red Tail hawk, the Coopers hawk, and the Sharp Shinned (a.k.a.) Blue Darter hawk. It will return. And return, and return and retur....
     
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I saw a TV show about metal detecting on a WWII battle field in a forest in the Eastern part of Germany. The guy on TV among other things found an unexploded Soviet grenade and a PPK sub-machinegun.

    The most numerous find however was the aluminum bands from the feet of racing pigeons that had been killed and eaten by the local hawks.
     
  6. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Absolutely! We found them all the time metal detecting. Only thing I've found on my new acreage is a bunch of spent .45s and a old metal cattle tag, and lots of copper wire. SO FAR. I know there is a homestead from 1878 on this land somewhere.

    The guy next door had a wonderful barn and kept his pigeons in the loft. The cooper hawk had a nest in the tree in my back yard, near the pond. He would open the loft at dawn and shut it at sunset. Between then, it was open flying buffet. The hawk would sit on my garage roof in the morning and wait for the first bird out. The flock would mass, about 100 birds, circle the barn three times and go air born. That's when she'd strike. Sometime she'd hit the center of the flock for an easy fast pick. Other times she would snatch off the back as not to spook them and go back for more. Like how you hunt a line of ducks or geese.

    She was amazing to watch.

    Owner just accepted it as part of the training. He lost many, but the ones that remained were fast and agile!
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I agree with the consensus that she was killed by a raptor - very likely a Cooper's hawk. I also agree that it will return.

    I have a love/hate relationship with raptors. Even while watching them attack my pigeon flocks I was in awe at their skill. The Coopers hawks put me out of business. I could no longer justify raising pigeons only to see them killed by the hawks. I miss my birds.
     
  8. ChickenInTheFog

    ChickenInTheFog New Egg

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    Jul 28, 2014
    Port Orchard, WA
    Hmmm, interesting.I didn't suspect a raptor would pick apart a hen like that. Thought they liked carrying their prey off elsewhere. But then again, the biggest mass of feathers was directly below a fence post and the carcass just 6 feet away.
    Has anyone had luck with hanging cds to keep birds of prey away? I have a bunch and plenty of places to hang them.
     
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Hawks, and owls lack jaws and teeth with which to gnaw, and chew. They grab a hold of a patch of skin or flesh with their sharp "Hawked" beak and while standing on the victim to hold it down they pull upwards with their neck and bill while pushing down with their feet and legs. The result is long thin strips of chicken spaghetti which the raptor then swallows or slurps down whole, while your hen plays the place of the pasta.

    The weight of the victim is not the major impediment to a hawk making off with an adult standard or full sized chicken. However the drag or air resistance of a dangling dead chicken clutched in a hawks talons must be like us trying to hang glide with a deployed parachute strapped on our backs.

    The CD trick helps no one except the maker of CD disks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014

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