Help me identify my predator please? **slightly graphic description**

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Heat, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Heat

    Heat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2011
    The hubs and I just recently moved and brought our flock with us. They are now living in an old greenhouse with a dug down foundation and fenced in yard.

    I let them out once the sun is up and bring them back inside before it is dark.

    Last night the hubs came home before me and was tending to the flock when he noticed one of them in front of the coop door. Upon closer inspection he realized she was no longer with us. Her body was still in tact and unharmed. Her neck and head were still there as well... But it was just vertebrae and skull with beak. Feathers scattered the ground beneath and around her. She was about 2 feet away from the fencing, but the feathers went to the fencing and a few were outside the fencing (I can only assume that is how/where the predator escaped).

    This happened between 8 am and 5:30 pm.

    My first thought is a raccoon, but I feel it would have ripped the head off or eaten more than just the neck and head...

    My ladies are cooped up today in hopes that we can start predator proofing their run tomorrow.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
  2. AppleJackAcres

    AppleJackAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2013
    York County, PA
    I would say maybe weasels. My neighbor had pretty much her entire flock lost to weasels. They ripped off the heads and left the rest. Possibly it wasn't done with your chicken and got scared and ran off. Not sure.
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Although I've never had it happen, I've heard this is often the evidence left by a hawk or owl.
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    X 2 I've had it happen.
  5. Heat

    Heat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2011
    Really? I guess a hawk would be a possibility... I didn't think the owls would be out hunting during the day?
    It is just so weird that she didn't have any claw marks or anything on her body. It was just her head and neck, which were still attached, just bare to the bone.

    Oi... How do you protect against hawks or owls? I feel covering the run is the only way... or leaving one of my dogs tied up out by the run to scare off anything (which may be what I end up doing...)
  6. NotableNancy

    NotableNancy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2012
    I'm thinking hawk. I was chicken sitting my neighbors chickens and found a dead hen in the run just like you described. Our only predators around here are fox, dogs, hawks and coons. Fox and dogs can't get over the 8 ft fence, it was mid day so not typically coon hunting time so I really think it was a hawk. I had seen a hawk fly out of the run area weeks before so they zigzagged some rope over run but it's not quite enough. Their guinea hens fly out so I know a hawk can get in.
    I'm sorry this happened to you. So sad to find them like that.
    And yes, covering the run completely is the only way to keep them safe.

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