Morning Chicken Massacre

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MargeyMarge, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. MargeyMarge

    MargeyMarge Just Hatched

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    I awoke this morning went out the back door saw in of my hens and a pile of feathers. Her head and neck had been ripped from her body. Another pile of feathers the other way, no bird. Check the coop, only a handful were there. Check the field, one more hen with head and neck ripped from her body. More feathers, one more dead but intact. Drove quad around looking for the rest of my flock. Found some, got them home. At the end of our dead end road (about 1km) I found a head and neck. Crows or Ravens were flying overhead. I've let my flock free range for the last couple of weeks. I know the risks. Although this is my first experience with this kind of loss. I'm wondering if a crow or raven COULD do this? We've had a lot of them around. They've stolen eggs before as well. I lost 4 birds this morning. I'm just wondering why the mass slaughter seemingly for no reason. Not for food, they didn't eat any. Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  2. Chad Duncan

    Chad Duncan Out Of The Brooder

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    Ravens will often eat the breast meat right off of the living bird. I don't think they would attack a flock and scatter chicken parts all around. I think you are probably dealing with a mammal predator.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I seriously doubt it was crows or ravens.....maybe larger bird of prey, hawk, eagle, owl.
    What time of morning was it?

    More likely mammal tho. Babies being born now, more to feed so daytime hunting possible.
    Carcasses not eaten might be because you interrupted gathering of corpses.....
    ......mammals will kill multiples but takes time to gather and cache them all.
     
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  4. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would guess more hawk, eagle, skunk, raccoon.
    It sounds more like a raccoon more then crows.
    The crows were most likely there because they saw the dead animals
     
  5. bigoledude

    bigoledude Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whenever I try to guess what the culprit is, I'm usually wrong. So are most of the responders here. Just go back and read how many opinions you will find on every incident described here. So many chicken killers kill in the same fashion that it is very difficult to pinpoint what the predator is. It could be anything from a domesticated dog to something in the weasel family to a raptor.

    You can almost eliminate crows and ravens from suspicion. They were present for the carcass left behind. Raptors here are a serious problem. It seems they kill in a different way each time though.

    The absolute best approach is to identify the culprit. The best way I know of to do that is with a game cam. Once identified, it will be much easier to come up with a strategy.

    Good gamecams can be had on ebay for a song. Hunters are almost as bad as computer nerds. They must have the latest model. This makes last year's model a great bargain for us!
     
  6. azjustin

    azjustin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bigoledude has it right.

    Game cams will be the only way you can find out for sure.

    Aerial predators almost always: squash, paralyze, and then fly off to a safe place to eat. BECAUSE of the ravens, vultures, etc.. They were there just because of the aftermath.

    Something with four legs went after your chickens, if you were in my part of this country, we could figure it out pretty easy based on tracks. But, I don't know if you are rural or suburbs, or what your primary predators are.

    Out here, anything without 4 walls and a roof, digging protection, and a well latched gate, is just food for the desert.

    Mass slaughter for no reason? That's typically an alpha male killing for the rest of the pack (coyotes), or you just probably interrupted the feast. However: bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, etc., all do the same with the intention of dragging it back to their den for a later meal.


    Chickens are the easy meal "fast food" for predators. Lock 'em and let 'em out in the morning if it's an issue.

    Sorry for your loss.
     
  7. MargeyMarge

    MargeyMarge Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your input! I live in central Alberta and I'd say here in our rural community our most likely predators are coyotes and Hawks. When I found them they were all still warm. The multiple kill, multiple attack sites it's likely a coyote. And you're probably right about me interrupting the gathering of carcasses.
    I'm considering an addition of a canine friend who can watch over the yard at night. Anyway, thank you for your input people!!
     
  8. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds to me like a mink, or something similar. Crows are not capable of doing the kind of damage you describe. They might take a chick now and then, but I have never seen one even attempt to do so. They will try to steal food and bugs from chickens. Anyway, there are a few web sites where you can find out what the varment is by the type of wound your chicken has. You can google preditor identity by type of wound.
     
  9. MargeyMarge

    MargeyMarge Just Hatched

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    Calmar, Ab, Canada
    I caught that coyote ******* red handed!!! [​IMG] I let the chickens out about 45 min before I saw him. I noticed the chickens squawking and running back and forth through the run. So I watched. Then I seen him. Ran over yelling and banging pot lids. He took off and my dog took off after him. The dog came back and that coyote came out of the trees and watched me. Paced a little and retreated. I ran to the house, got my .22 and shot off a couple of rounds. The chickens are now locked up for the day. Tomorrow I'm going to let the girls out in the run and wait. Wait patiently . . .
     
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  10. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    He will more than likely come back. When, is the question. He seems unafraid of you, which is a bit concerning. How big is your dog? The coyotes around here study my habits. ie: I go pick up mail at the Post Office most days. Coyote got so he would come as soon as I left. (He may have been living at the back of my property). So I had to start varying my routine. Also, now I have more than one fairly good sized dog. It was good that you were able to pop a few shots off. That makes an impression on them. Keep your gun close for a while. I love coyotes because they are so smart, but that also makes them a royal pain.
     

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