Losing Chickens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by chicken1998, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. chicken1998

    chicken1998 Just Hatched

    Dec 5, 2016
    Hi I'm new to raising chickens I've had mine for about 6 months. I started with 10 and now I have 8. Two of my chickens have disappeared on different occasions, no feathers or blood and no chicken. I don't know what could be getting them it's almost as if they just wondered off. But both times my other chickens were beyond scared and hid under my car. We let them free range because their coop isn't as big now that they're huge. I don't if it's a hawk or if it's a fox. Anyone have any ideas on what it could be or what happened to them?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Most likely culprits are hawk, owl, dog, fox, coyote. Could be other things depending on where you live but around here, those are the things that likely wouldn't leave a trace behind.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  3. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    Losing birds to predators is the downside to free ranging. Do you have a covered run they could spend their days in?
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Sorry for your loss. [​IMG]

    I was under the impression (domestic, maybe not stray) dogs hunt for fun. And would go after all the chickens until they were gone but not carry the prey away. My dogs would leave a terrible mess. Dogs usually shake their prey, I would think that would leave some feathers. [​IMG]

    So you don't have a fence either?

    Since they were hid under your car, I'm gonna have to go with aerial predators because all ground predators could probably make it under there.

    How far apart were the occasions? A fox would return often for an easy meal.

    I think some owls do hunt during the day... And I don't know the MO for hawks if they leave anything behind or not.
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    As for hawks, it depends on the size of the hawk and the size of the chicken. A hawk picked up a full size Wyandotte here one day, flew about 100 yards and dropped it into a courtyard. It went down to try to pick it back up or eat it when someone scared it off. I couldn't find a mark on the hen.
    I've seen Great Horned owls hunt during the day the last few years and they can definitely heft a chicken.

    You're right that dogs usually do it for fun but a feral dog that is hungry, will more likely react like a coyote or fox and take it off to feed. Also, the bird may have run off and by the time it was caught, it was somewhere that the OP couldn't find the carnage.

    I also agree that hiding under the car could indicate and aerial predator.
    I wonder if the OP has any vegetative cover.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2016
  6. RodNTN

    RodNTN Hatchaolic Premium Member

    May 22, 2013
    Serving Jesus
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! I am glad you joined us, best wishes!
  7. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

    Apr 24, 2016
    Hello there, and welcome to the wonderful world of Backyard Chickens! I hope you will make yourself at home here and enjoy it as much as I have! :frow
  8. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    G’Day from down under chicken1998 [​IMG] Welcome!

    I wish the circumstances in which you joined us were nicer and I am so very sorry to hear of your loss [​IMG] I agree that it sounds like your predator could be aerial.

    I hope you enjoy BYC; not only is it overflowing with lots of useful information it is also a great place to make friends and have some fun. Unlike non chicken loving friends, family and colleagues, BYC’ers never tire of stories or pictures about chickens, turkeys, duck, quail, Peas and pretty much any other feathered and non feathered friends [​IMG]
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    [​IMG] IF a raptor SAW them run under the car, it would have gone after them. Maybe they saw him first.
  10. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

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