Help! Predator ID needed

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by s.joan99, Dec 12, 2007.

  1. s.joan99

    s.joan99 New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2007
    Would sure appreciate help in ID-ing a murdering varmit. . .Yesterday afternoon, way before dark, something got our large, formidable Rhode Island Red rooster. Feathers were torn completely off the neck (part of the neck was eaten -thyroid area??)) and all the feathers were torn off his back. The rest of the body was left intact. There appeared to be no punctures or torn skin anywhere else --not even where the feathers were torn off his back.

    A couple weeks ago, we lost a hen to what looks like the same predator also in the early afternoon. It tore her head off, left the body about 30 feet from the head, took all the feathers off her entire neck, ate part of the neck also, as well as pulled her gizzard out but left it uneaten. The rest of the body seemed intact.


    Our chickens sleep in a safe coop at night, but I let them free-range around the barnyard during the day. Both were killed within 30 feet of the same place between our two barns. The pasture they are in is fenced with regular stock fencing all around (fenced to keep baby goats in) and electric fencing at the top. I'm thinking that coyotes or dogs can't get in (and have never seen any in that pasture. . . )

    We've had chickens for 5 years living successfully under the same circumstances with the exception of two other losses. . .About 6 months ago, a hawk swooped down and carried off a hen within 10 feet of our house during the early afternoon, (I was out with them!!) and a couple of years ago, something grabbed a chicken that went in with the horses instead of the coop one evening. Whatever it was drug her under the barn, ate the breasts completely off. I found her in the early evening, still alive. My poor baby!!! (If anyone could ID this varmit, would appreciate also!)
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like a classic hawk, espeically if it's day hours.
     
  3. hypnofrogstevie

    hypnofrogstevie chick magnet

    Jul 12, 2007
    Newton NJ
    where are you located? That way we can tell what specific predator you got
     
  4. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

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    For the chicken that got drug under the barn, I'm thinking a possum or a racoon. Maybe skunk? I don't know if skunks prey on chickens though...
     
  5. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Evening Shade, AR
    Predator ID this article should help you out!

    Dawn
     
  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Quote:I totally agree, Hawks are most active in the early evenings, and the description of the damage fits their M.O.
     
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I don't know that much about predators, other than what I've learned from my SO, y'all, and books. I do know that skunks will prey on chickens though. My SO tells me that skunks were really their only problem when they had the commercial chicken houses; despite the fact that we have plenty of other potential predators around. His opinion is digging under and eating the breasts, probably skunk. Of course, that does depend on your location.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2007
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Quote:Skunks do prey on chickens, mostly at night.
     
  9. s.joan99

    s.joan99 New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2007
    Thanks everybody. Does anyone know --do hawks then just kill for the fun of it, or is something interrupting it before it can eat? Could the other rooster have come to the rescue?
     
  10. s.joan99

    s.joan99 New Egg

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    Dec 12, 2007
    Oh, yes. I'm in Oregon. We seem to have most of the predators out here. . . .
     

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