Help! Unknown Predator(s)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CHICKYDEB, May 29, 2007.

  1. CHICKYDEB

    CHICKYDEB Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    I have had chickens a little over a year now and Sunday was my first tragedy. Around 8:00 am on a bright, sunny, morning. I heard my chickens raising a fuss. I had 7 hens and three roosters, all free range on our two acres - until now- in upstate New York...I found my lead rooster and two of my hens in the front yard raising cane. Found three hens laying in the chicken coop -safe. Found my young rooster in the yard - dead..he was pure white and didnt have a mark on him - no blood, no marks. Also gone was my other rooster, one white hen and one black hen. All that was left was a yard full of feathers that spread in several places across the field behind our house. (we don't have any close neighbors) It took quite a while to get my remaining family back into the fenced in area adn get them calmed down. The next morning, after I let them out of the coop and fed them, I heard a faint "cock a doodle do" from my front yard. I thought I might be dreaming but after the remaining rooster and hens started fussing again, I heard the faint sound again. Lo and behold my other rooster was hiding under a large pine tree! I coaxed him out and he was very shaken and minus all of his tail feathers! I coaxed him back into the coop and he is mending. (no physical wounds - just shocked and a cold butt!) SO now we are wondering what would attack in broad daylight, with no blood etc? Please Help with any suggestions on the predator (s) ! My chickens are in the chicken pen but not very happy as they are used to being out and about.
     
  2. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    hawk? stray dog? could be a fox too I don't really think of it because I've never seen one near us.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2007
  3. CHICKYDEB

    CHICKYDEB Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    I don't think it was a dog because I didn't hear any other noise other than the squacking. My dog inside the house would have surely heard something as the windows were open. Do you know if hawks travel in pairs? (took two, killed one, plucked the other?) I am heartbroken [​IMG]. I must have scared whatever it was away before it could take my dead rooster as he was still warm.
     
  4. tiffanyh

    tiffanyh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2007
    Connecticut
    Were they any feathers around?? If not, maybe is was a poison of some type. Could they have gotten into something? Otherwise, I would think you would have heard a ruckus out there.....

    But, I would also think possibly a hawk....

    Im sorry about your family, I hope everyone else is well.
     
  5. CHICKYDEB

    CHICKYDEB Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    Thank you. The whole thing was very traumatic. Yes, there were feathers everywhere! The only noise I heard was the rooster and chickens raising heck! No other barking, growling, anything!!! I was inside, but hte windows The feathers were mainly in the yard near my dead rooster, then in spots across the field! The surviving rooster is still really shook up. Last night when I checked on him he was sleeping alone and his comb felt cool to the touch so I was worried but this morning he was up and about. Not his usual cocky self, but eating and drinking (tail-less). If a hawk, do you think he had help?
     
  6. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    I could have been a raccoon they sometimes come out in the daylight. I know they kill alot and leave some and others all you find is a few feathers. If you have a way of looking for tracks around the area. If not set a trap and bait it what ever it was will be back it was a easy meal for them. So be prepared. Lay flour or dirt around coop so you can see tracks that are left when they show up again. Might be best to keep them in a run for a few days until you find out what it is.
     
  7. CHICKYDEB

    CHICKYDEB Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    Thanks for the tip about the flour! We actually did leave a baited have a heart trap out Sunday and Monday nights but nothing! Thats why I am thinking it might have been a hawk or hawks. My poor rooster looks like something just plucked all of his tail feathers off! Anyone have any experience with hawk attacks and if they travel in pairs? I have been keeping them all inside the pen until I figure this out!
     
  8. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Could of been a hawk. Seams I read somewhere that white birds were the easiest ones seen by flying predators. It is really hard to know for sure unless you see the culprit in action. I lost one hen, no signs of her just feathers and then lost one more caught the red tailed hawk in action. Just guessed that a hawk got the first one also.
    I also quit letting mine out for a few days after and they thought they were being punished. Hope you figure it out soon.
     
  9. CHICKYDEB

    CHICKYDEB Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    [​IMG] OH MAN!!! I don't know if my heart could handle seeing a hawk carry off one of my family. My poor chickens, like yours, seem to think they are being punished also. They hang around the gate and yell at me when I get near like they are saying "OK Mom, time out is over - we've been good!" The only one that is NOT complaining is my tail -less rooster. I don't think he will want to go roaming for awhile. He was the most aggressive of the three roosters but he sure is mellow now! I feel terrible for him but at least he survived! Thanks for your advice!
     
  10. chrissieg

    chrissieg Chillin' With My Peeps

    To take out tail feathers I would be looking for four legs rather than two. I've no experience of hawk attacks, but feel there would be puncture wounds if unsuccessful! I do hope it was a 'one off'!
     

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