Murder Most Fowl

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Rivers, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Rivers

    Rivers Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 3, 2010
    A few days ago I couldn't find one of my hens when I was locking their coop for the night. I assumed she was sleeping in a bush somewhere which mine tend to sometimes, nothing out of the ordinary. But in the morning I couldn't find her.

    After lots of searching I eventually came across a most unpleasant surprise. Her severed head! Now, at first I assumed this was the work of a fox, but I have become increasingly suspicious. As there has never been any foxes where I live, even in the depth of snowy winters when foxes are hungry. None have come to attack any of the 3 gardens on my block which have chickens. It has been a very warm spring, which followed a very mild winter. Most unusual time for foxes to be taking this risk.

    Other curious factors:

    1. The head was left behind
    2. Head was completely intact, all feathers in fine condition. No blood and a very neat cut. No tubes/arteries dangling.
    3. No feathers or blood anywhere in my garden.
    4. The other chickens were not attacked even though one was still outside and three were in the coop with open door.

    What do you guys think about this? Other people I know who have suffered fox attacks have had their entire flock killed. Then the fox comes back to carry each one away one by one. There is also usually feathers all over the place. So this incident seems very strange to me.
  2. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Not much useful info to offer here, but I recently had my 5WO chicks in a large dog crate out in the yard. I let my dogs out thinking the chicks were safe. My lab, the killer lab, went immediately to the crate and circled it until the chicks were in such a frenzy that one poked it's head through the crate and he bit it off in 2 seconds or less. I had no idea this was what happened, only saw the chick fall back. The Husband took care of removing dead chick from crate, and it wasn't until a couple of days later that the same dog found the head in the yard and ate it. It was completely intact, and recognizable as a head, but I wasn't fast enough to retrieve it.

    Sorry to be so gross...but there was very little blood overall, and the head came off leaving only a little bloody circle on the neck. My guess is that somehow the hen was caught somewhere trying to hide and something (fox, dog, mink, weasel, whatever?) found her and somehow a similar thing occurred?

    I also had a hen disappear completely, without a trace, not even a feather. I still don't know what happened to her...
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Most predators I deal with in rural setting operate in suburbs and some even in urban setting.

    Lack of evidence for presense does not equal proof of absence. Fox attacks do not always result in entire flock being. Decapitation by fox sometimes done expecially if chicken is large.

    Can you account for entire neck? Perp may have been interupted causing it to leave catch.

    ID may require predator becoming serial. Make now assumptions other than you do not know who or what did it. Tighten up your containment at night and keep your eyes and ears pealed. Human perp possible but much more evidence needed.
  4. Rivers

    Rivers Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 3, 2010
    Most of the neck was there, it seemed to have been detached near the base.

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