Help! What killed my chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mcfarms, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. mcfarms

    mcfarms New Egg

    Dec 24, 2016
    So yesterday afternoon I came home from work and found one my Silkies had been killed by something. She was found several feet outside of her run. Her head and neck area were pretty much mauled but still attached with only one side of her eaten (very little blood). Where her body was there was a lot of feather, 2 piles to be exact. I apologize for being graphic but I'm worried that what killed my Silkie will come back for the rest of my flock. If this helps, we lost our rooster about a week ago as well, however I only found a pile of his feathers underneath a tall tree by our property. My guess was a hawk. I do live in a rural area (Gloucester, VA).

    Thank you for all the help!
  2. BYC910

    BYC910 Flock Master Premium Member

    A hawk would carry away the bird not eat it there .Sounds like a possum or a coon Look for tracks and google any you find . If your run isn't covered cover it until you kill the critter . Set a live trap this varmint will keep coming back !
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  3. TeeMom

    TeeMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2016
    In my experience a hawk will not carry them off. Unless it's an eagle, birds of prey are not large enough to carry off a full grown chicken and eat it where they kill it. I've lost 4 birds to hawks (1 Cooper's, 2 red tail and 1 unknown) and caught 3 of the 4 on the bird in various stages of feeding. Your scene sounds very plausible for a hawk being the culprit.
  4. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    It does sound like a hawk or aerial predator. With a hawk hit you get a pile of feathers, With a land predator, for example fox or large raccoon you often get feathers in a line where the bird was dragged or carried,
    Unless it is a small bird usually hawks cannot carry it away and will eat what it can on the spot, often starting at the head and moving down the neck to the crop and chest.
    Unfortunately we had a hawk problem this fall and they were able to carry away a couple of tiny bantam hens (don't think they were over a pound.) one got my smallest California grey, a really small bird and couldn't carry it. It did a job on her head.
    As far as your rooster under the tree, it sounds like the hawk sat and waited ,,,and waited......they are good at that....and then dropped on him.
    Usually we have red tailed hawks that in the past have left the chickens alone but it seems this fall some coopers moved in and they are worse than the larger hawks.

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