Lost my momma hen Belle

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Whirlwind, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Hey all I got a question. Looked all through predators and did'nt see the answer.

    Some thing got her while she was on her nest. She has been in another pen and the door was open so she went back in there to lay cause she got in the habit of laying there. She and babies just moved back with big girls. [my fault left door open on old cage and letting them free range.]

    Anyway all that was left was her head, some feathers and a broken egg. I can't find any predator that says it just leaves the head. What ever it was has 4 toes 2 in front and 2 on the sides toward back. About 2.5 inches across and you could see toenails. Its been really wet so we did find some tracks at least. Looks very similar to fox tracks but thought they carried off the whole bird. Not much blood at all either.

    Well everybody else is fine all locked up now. So much for free ranging. But I knew the risks. Anyway thanks for listening.

    Poor babies all 3 came running out from under the car when they saw me. They are not very tame but know I am the food lady.
  2. lacyloo

    lacyloo Cooped Up

    May 26, 2007
    north florida
    to me it sounds like a fox ,but i might be wrong. and for the head being left , maby he might have just left it behind for some reason .[​IMG]

    sorry for ur loss. :aww
  3. sillygoose4ever

    sillygoose4ever In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2007
    Central Wisconsin
    I know around here in Wisconsin minks bite the neck and sometimes rip off the head. They ussually wont take the body though....
  4. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I am so sorry for your loss. Can you get pics of the foot prints? So awfull to find any pet like that.
  5. FamilyOfChickens

    FamilyOfChickens Songster

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northwest Indiana
    Ehh, wow, I'm really sorry. [​IMG] I hope you find out what took her, as it sounds like a fox to me also, but I don't know about the leaving the head behind...I hope everyone else stays fine! Good luck with the babies.
  6. Yonaton

    Yonaton Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    Sounds like an opossum. Their toes are made like that so they can climb well (long and nimble, they can splay out real well for traction and gripping). Why they leave the heads, I've not been able to figure out in 30 odd years of studying wildlife.

    I *can* say it wasn't a fox, because yes, they will carry their prey away quickly to where they feel safe to eat it (foxes are actually hunted by other predators too, coyotes, bobcats, bear, etc., because they're small and relatively weak).

    Skunks will often just kill wantonly...you'll walk into your coop and see dead, tore up birds everywhere, with maybe only one actually eaten on any (plus you'll smell the strong musk that follows them around whether they've sprayed or not), they're superb diggers too.
  7. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    thanks all,

    justusnak, I got pics of prints but really hard to see on the pics. Here is the best one. The front is kinda pointing to 11:00


    Yonaton, so you have heard of opossoms leaving the head? I did see one, 2 or 3 days ago early in the morning. It was a huge one and I yelled at it and it took off. I did'nt really think it was a fox. I have only seen one here in 8 years. Or a Hawk which has been my only prob. untill now. Did'nt think it was a dog as they don't usually eat, but kill and destroy.

    And yes everyone is fine. Babies act kinda lost and are scared of big girls but big girls are being very nice. All locked up tight in the coop/run. They will not be happy cause I won't let them out. DS says he will help me build more run and then I am not to let them out. He says they will be mad but they will get over it. I eventually give into them and let them out when they beg. Maybe only for an hour or so while I am out there now.

    Guess I could set out the live trap and see what happens. I hope I don't catch my own cat. I wonder what I should bait the trap with.
  8. missusduray

    missusduray Songster

    May 20, 2007
    Northern Minnesota
  9. Yonaton

    Yonaton Songster

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    Cat food works well in live traps for 'possums and skunks (I use the dry cat food).

    When you catch it, if it's a 'possum, take it a few miles away and let it loose (the farther the better). If it's a skunk, I usually shoot it in the cage (Use a .22 from about 30 feet away or closer if you can get away with it. I hate to do it, but there's really not any easy way to get near the cage to pick it up and drive it far away to let it loose. I've been sprayed before, and I swore it'll never happen again to me). Skunks are extremely stubborn and hard to stop returning to a food source (cat food, chicks/chickens, corn shed, etc).

    If you wanted to, you could also keep the 'possum, corn feed it for 2 or 3 weeks, and then butcher it up and cook it. It's not that bad eatin' actually (it'd be a survival food if situations got that bad).
  10. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Ok will try the cat food. My DH moved a board in the wood pile and found a baby opossom this morning. Sounds like we got a family of them and wood pile is about 25' from where hen was killed. Thanks for the good info. Will relocate them far out in country away from people unless we catch skunks.

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