Lost my first hen the other night. Hawk or Coon?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by brimjohnson, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. brimjohnson

    brimjohnson Out Of The Brooder

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    Well Friday night I got home from work and went out to lock up my girls. (my husband normally does this but hadnt yet). It was already dark. I pulled out my flashlight and start counting hens.... we had 8 but I could only count 7. Then I realized Pepper was missing, our silver laced wyandotte. I started scouring the yard thinking maybe she was hunkered down somewhere but deep down I knew better because all my girls go in their coop once dusk hits. I kept looking for her and found her body in the farthest corner of our yard. Her head was completely gone and when I flipped her body over her stomache had been mangled too. At first I thought raccoon but the more I think about it I think it may be a hawk. I think this because raccoons come out at night and she would have had to have been killed during the day for her body to be where it was. Any help with ideas? I just want to know so I can try to prevent it from happening again.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Very likely a hawk, but a hungry coon will also hunt during the day. If possible only free range while you can oversee them for a while - until the predator is defined. It will return.
     
  3. brimjohnson

    brimjohnson Out Of The Brooder

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    There was also a pile of her tail feathers like 15 feet away from the body like she had been chased. I've been keeping a very close eye on them now during the day while they are out. And I kept going out last night with a flashlight seeing if I could spot some raccoons but didnt see any...
     
  4. paridisefarm2009

    paridisefarm2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feel for you
    last week I had a massacre I lost 7 Birds "HE" told me yea I locked them up But I should have checked But I didn't so the next morning I walked out to a Huge mess Because I heard My rooster Crow Right outside my window And thought that is WAY too close to the house seeing there coop is way out in the back yard .. I go out to find 7 Birds all massacred feathers everywhere , I was in complete shock! 7 of them
    So the huge grampa Raccoon was promptly captured the next night and well ........
    So In your case I agree a hawk
    Sorry for your loss
    [​IMG]
     
  5. brimjohnson

    brimjohnson Out Of The Brooder

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    Pepper liked to sit up on our chain link fence that borders the back of our yard and thats right where her body was. All the other girls were fine and not touched so makes me think a hawk... i thought if it was a raccoon we would have had a massacre as well or that the raccoon would have returned last night with his "family" to try and kill the rest.
     
  6. paridisefarm2009

    paridisefarm2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes hawks are nasty I have lost a few birds to hawks and they swoop in like nothing sometimes they take them away sometimes the leave them if they get scared off
     
  7. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hawk. So sorry for your loss! A covered run might help.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Despite all the words to the contrary, Hawks seldom make a fast or quick kill, especially on chicken sized prey. They just use their talons to control, dominate and punish their prey for struggling to free themselves. This goes on until the hawk either hits a vital area, or eats its victim to death. That is likely the reason you have an "Expanded" crime scene with feathers in multiple areas. The place where the tail feathers are is where the hawk first made contact with your chicken.
     
  9. tellynpeep

    tellynpeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah but..... I wouldn't expect a hawk to eat the head. And there should be definite talon wounds (look like knive wounds) on the back and wings. The hawk will pin the hen down while it begins to eat her (alive or not) and usually the back and neck muscles are eaten first.

    Don't want to know how I know....
     
  10. brimjohnson

    brimjohnson Out Of The Brooder

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    Tellynpeep, mostly everything that I read about hawks said that they do usually eat the head... Wish I would have examined closer for talon marks but honestly I didnt want to and just promptly buried her in our backyard.
     

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