Lovely Hen Dismembered by ?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by BlandiniHens, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. BlandiniHens

    BlandiniHens Just Hatched

    Sep 13, 2015
    Hello Friends,
    This morning as I went outside to feed our four hens, I noticed blood and feathers about 5 feet from coop entrance. I quickly learned which hen was missing. I peeked in the coop and clearly there had been a struggle with lots of feathers on floor. Then as I walked our yard, I found her decapetated head entacted on our patio ( which is about 20 feet from coop. ) then I walked another 15,or 20 feet from patio I found her body under a very large shrub that offers a large canopy. She was certainly eaten a bit, but most of her body / breast meat was not eaten. I'm seeking input on what you think this predator was. Our hens do free range and have for almost 4 years. Today was first time a hen was attacked. We have neighbors on all three sides of us. But have a sliver of access to a green belt. We do have hawks in this area and in the green belt I have seen postings of coyote,but not near our home,on the other side of our development in the south.

    Amy ideas or input would be greatly appreciated. I'm just sick over this ordeal and very concerned about our three girls that escaped capture.


  2. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    Hawk!! Sorry!
  3. JasDovey

    JasDovey New Egg

    Aug 29, 2016
    Eastern Upstate NY
    I dont know what took your bird, but from now on, be suuper careful with the rest of your flock! My birds did great for years, till a raccoon discovered how delicious they were and has repeatedly come back. I lost nearly my whole flock :( Once something knows theres easy food available, they will keep coming back :/
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  4. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    OK, maybe I don't understand: your coop was open all night long? How did the predator get inside the coop? Were there footprints or anything like that?

    If your coop was open all night long, I would start by closing the door! A predator should not be able to just walk into your coop at night. It should be closed up tight. Same with your run: the door should be closed at night.

    I doubt it was a hawk, if this occurred at night (not real clear on that either). I would guess raccoon. Maybe fox. But definitely start closing your doors!! (If indeed they were open!)
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    I took it that it happened in the day time---for sure not a hawk at night----which is not clear in the post. A hawk will go right into a open coop and grab/fight with a chicken then if the chicken gets away it will chase/ fly it down and kill it. Could have been several things if it happened at night.
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri

    Mammal that is not a canid. Canid (Fox or Coyote) will pack carcass off and most but all dogs will not consume catch. Carcass partially skinned, feathers have a wet/slobbered on look. Raptors (hawks and owls) tear into meat directly and feed from a smaller area leaving areas away point of consumption appearing dry. Raptors, with exception of eagles, would be able to eat that much on a single day. That looks very much like a typical raccoon kill where carcass was rolled about a lot while consumed and left near kill sight. Opossum might do similar leaving carcass in place but will not roll it all over like a raccoon does. I would be surprised if another kill was not realized last night is raccoon unless carcass left out.

    I would set trap for raccoon sized critter, ideally using that carcass as bait.
  7. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    I've lost five chickens, hens and roos to hawks this past year and all of the chickens had their heads left on. I lost one to a fox two years ago and it carried it into the woods where I found mostly feathers and some odd bits but no carcass. Larger animals will carry the chicken away, while smaller animals will consume where or near where they kill. I'm voting Raccoon. Any predator, once it knows where there is food, will come back for more.

    FYI, all my predator attacks were during the day, even fox. My coop is locked closed at night. So don't discount a day time attack because it's sunny and you have neighbors. Hungry animals will break the norm, ie, hunt during the day if it means survival. Case in point, its 8 AM and there are 6 deer eating in my backyard right now while a storm blows in. Usually, they should be bedding down.

    Secure your coop and keep your birds locked up for a few weeks. Your predator will come back and see that the food source is gone and hopefully will move on to another food source.
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Possum or maybe an owl.

    Also never discount one animal making the kill and another animal joining in on the feed.

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