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missing head

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chicken ridl, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. chicken ridl

    chicken ridl In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2009
    Could a hawk be doing this?
    I have a net over the top but I have found a dead bird every couple of days in the pen with no head.
    I do not have any water close by.
    I do have hawks around a lot.

  2. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

    Sep 16, 2008
    Levan, UT
    No, that's not a hawk's M.O. That is a coon or an oppossum. Set a live trap with the remainder of one of the chickens right outside the coop (tie it into the back of the trap) and see what you catch.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2010
  3. crazzzymike13

    crazzzymike13 Songster

    Dec 15, 2007
    Yup coon or possum.
  4. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    In my experience, headless victims are usually due to hawks or owls. Sometimes minks or weasels could be the culprit as well. One beheaded bird at a time sound like bird of prey to me. I've lost several to great horned owls this year - take the heads right off or strip the head with their talons.

    If your pen is covered in netting, look for signs of feathers at the top netting - birds of prey will leave signs behind.

    Weasels don't typically stop with one birds and will kill several in this manner.

    Coons destroy the whole carcass unless they're interupted. Seen these disasters too. Pretty devastating if one of these gets in a pen.
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    I concur with Hinkjc. Great horned owls will get game birds flying into the fence then grab them and pull their heads through the fence. Coons will enter a coop and in a killing frenzy remove the heads off of several chickens. Saw this happen on a neighbor's farm when I was a kid. The coon after killing an entire coop of RIR went to sleep in a nest box and was found there the next morning.
  6. dieselgrl48

    dieselgrl48 Songster

    Feb 21, 2010
    Sound's like raccoon to Me.Possibly even a Rat.Never had a rat attack until this year.They killed 25 Grad's and most were head attack's.Invest in a live trap and put some kitty food or tuna in you might be suprised at some of the thing's you can trap! So sorry about your bird's.
  7. Well I say coons because if they couldn't get in, they will sure reach and pull, explaining why only one dead and not a lot of em.

  8. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Here are some pics of a great horned owl who got caught up in our flight top netting over a pheasant pen. He (or his friends) came back several times, eventually killing the male in that pen, injuring a male in another pen, killed several ringnecks this year in yet another pen and killed a wild turkey hen by beheading her. Trust me, I know these birds well.



  9. Hi! Great pics of a fabulously fabulous bird, they are lucky they don't live here.
    There is a brief place when you have a predator-type bird (as glorious as) caught trying and tried --- that really makes you think. They are just glorious in close-up in pics, but I can appreciate them much better from a distance.
  10. iluvsedward

    iluvsedward Crowing

    Jan 19, 2010
    Calvert County MD
    did you help the owl?

    (what ur thinking "my chickens are dieing left and right and you care about the animal killing them??!??" [​IMG] )

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