My Chickens Ate What!?! (Warning: Graphic Photos)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by RooJet, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. RooJet

    RooJet Chirping

    Aug 9, 2012
    It's 5 degrees Fahrenheit here in Utah. Our flock is doing very well, despite the cold. However, went out to put my babies to bed tonight and found a huge mess of feathers spread all around the run. But not chicken feathers... These were tiny little brown and grey feathers. Then I saw this:

    A sparrow's head and about and what was left of its spine was tossed in the corner. I didn't find any other bones and from the look of things, my beautiful, gentle chickens attacked and ate this sparrow! They had all gone to roost for the night and so none of the lovelies were around to look guilty. I have seen the chickens eat all sorts of bugs and such, even saw them chase mice, but never even contemplated them killing other birds out of competition or territory. The run is closed, so I know it wasn't any other predator, must've been the chickens... I'm guessing my 10lb rooster. He's pretty awesome, and quick. Though I'm sure all the hens joined in the fun of pulling the poor little thing to pieces! I didn't find any other bones or pieces anywhere. Just tons of feathers and this head.

    A variety of doves and finches have been visiting our yard recently to share in the bounty of scratch we've been putting out, and I can't say it really bothers me that a sparrow has been killed. But if my roo goes after a dove, I might be sad.

    So my question for everyone is: Have you ever heard of chickens killing and eating smaller birds?
  2. jendodd79

    jendodd79 Songster

    Aug 20, 2012
    Whoa! That's intense!
  3. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Yes. I did not see the catches as they occurred, but where I used to live, my flock was in a run. Sparrows flew in all the time until I put up bird netting. The occasional sparrow would still find its way in somewhere... I think my flock was able to corner the 3 sparrows they killed.

    I now live on my own property, allowing the flock to range freely (inside the entire fenced property, about two-thirds of an acre). Haven't seen any sparrow corpses; I think the confines of a covered run or inside a barn work against the sparrows' ability to get away.
  4. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    Darwin, Australia
    I havent heard about them killing other smaller birds before, but ours have killed a frog before and eaten lizards.
  5. You do realize that chickens are related to dinosaurs don't you? [​IMG]

    I have seen chickens kill and eat shakes, mice, each other and sometimes themselves. I once had a yard of hens that ate a skunk, scent and all. The only help they had was that I shot it and hung the trap up on a coop until I got home from work to dispose of the body. Biggest piece I found was the skull cap. The real old timers picked up road kill for their hens. They would wire say a squashed rabbet to the fence by its hind legs and cut a gash in the body with their pocket knife to get the hens started.

    That's what made those organic free range yard eggs of yesteryear so scrumptious.[​IMG]
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My free-range birds will catch and consume fledgling Indigo Buntings, Mourning Doves and I strongly suspect juvenile Killdeer. During fall they catch and consume migratory songbirds that sleep in fence rows serving as loafing areas for chickens. Victims are exhuasted from night time migration and some appear sick that actually captured.
  7. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    I read a post on BYC once that I've always remembered: "If it doesn't eat chickens, chickens will eat it." Seems to be the case with these luckless birds!
    1 person likes this.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

    The way I heard it is "Do lunch or be lunch".

    Chickens are omnivores. They eat vegetable and animal products. That is their nature.

    I remember a former member of this forum advising to be careful and don't pass out in the run. :oops:
    1 person likes this.
  9. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2012
    Ive been to Vietnam a couple of times and a lot of families keep free range chickens there (lots of Production Reds). Those birds would run down and devour every creepy-crawly that had the misfortune to cross paths with them. I'm pretty confident what they hunted down was a bigger part of their diets than what was put out for them. Chickens definately descended from dinosaurs, ironically, mine seem to think they descended from the royal family.
  10. Gallus Sapien

    Gallus Sapien Chirping

    Mar 29, 2012
    This is all very funny, my chickens must live a sheltered life because their biggest trophy is a grasshopper[​IMG]

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