Hen gone; lots of feathers

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by woolymama, Oct 27, 2009.

  1. woolymama

    woolymama Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2009
    Central Virginia
    We appear to have lost our first bird. This one was fond of escaping the pen during the day and when I went out this morning to check on the flock I found a trail of feathers leading away from the perimeter of the electric pen and then a huge scattering of feathers in the backyard, where the trail went cold right at the edge of the woods. No blood, no parts, just those fluffy feathers everywhere. I do think it's funny that it was mostly the smaller fluffy "vent covering" feathers and very little wing or breast feathers.
    It had to have happened in the morning - I did hear the guineas raising a ruckus at one point but was unable to check on it at the time.
    So....if it happened in the morning, and right at the pen, which is only 50 feet from our house.........under a thicket of trees....bobcat? Fox? Will they hunt in broad daylight like that? And so very close to the house? I figured a dog would have left a body, and this bird was a large Orpington so I don't think any of the small-ish cats around our neighborhood could so easily have taken her.
    Just want to know what we are up against.
    I do have a trap camera out there but I am waiting for the key to come home so I can see if it caught the perp.
     
  2. TexasVet

    TexasVet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Sounds like the same scene I have at my house, and a bobcat is after my birds. It's been brave enough to sneak up from behind and snatch a bird thats within 20 feet of me. Coyotes and foxes (at least at my place) don't leave a trail of feathers.

    Kathy, Bellville TX
    www.ChickenTrackin.com
     
  3. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    I have seen a bob cat , a fox and a coyote during the day here. If they are hungery they will hunt during the day. [​IMG]

    Hope you caught it on your camera
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2009
  4. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    If possible, go look for your bird. We had a dog attack, and our hen was able to get away, but was hiding in the woods. Same deal...a pile of small feathers, but no big feathers. She's still with us today.

    Good luck.
     
  5. woolymama

    woolymama Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2009
    Central Virginia
    We checked all over our woods and once the trail of feathers ended we saw no further trace. We plan to keep an eye out as it gets dark; if she's hiding maybe she'll make her way back at bedtime.
     
  6. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    It's a long shot, I'll keep my fingers crossed for her... [​IMG]
     
  7. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2008
    Hahira, GA
    I woke up one morning to our lab barking, there was a entire pack 6-8 of coyotes in the backyard, not more than 50 feet from the house. Once they pin point where fowl are kept, any preditor will keep getting closer and closer til they get what they are after. In addition to the electric fence, try leaving a radio plugged in and running all night, the human voices seem to help deter them a bit too.
    As far as who did it, impossible to say, dog, house cat, to cougar and anywhere inbetween. Unfortunately, our babies are like a KFC to them....
     
  8. woolymama

    woolymama Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2009
    Central Virginia
    We have found the culprit - a good sized bobcat. Our friend is a hunter and he staked out our woods. He found the bobcat's hidey-hole (along with the cat itself) and there was a wing from my poor hen not far from it. It got spooked before he was able to get it so we are going to put out a trap.
    ARGH!
     
  9. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

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    Apr 15, 2009
    A bobcat, eh? I am being continuously re-amazed by stories of bobcats coming right up to people's homes to attack their birds. I have bobcats, tons in fact. They have never come near my house, though. They are way too shy around here. I have only ever caught a glimpse of one, but I know they're here because I see their tracks all over in my forest during the winter.

    I am sorry for your loss. I am glad you figured out what got your chicken. Hope you catch it.
     
  10. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    I have seen a bobcat in my yard 3 times and my neighbors have seen it too. I know it got 2 of my hens while they were out free ranging.

    I didn't catch it in the act but just have a feeling thats what got them. It was really quick and a few feathers and a trail into the woods of a few feathers.

    One time I was only in the house for 5 min to get the treats. I haven't seen it in a while. It is not scared of you at all like it should be.

    I haven't seen ours in a while, hope its gone. Good luck catching the cat.
     

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