My first ever predator death. :'( What did it?

Andora

Songster
11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
1,741
22
171
Lexington, Kentucky
And it's totally all my fault. I forgot to close the coop door last night.

I live in a suburb, not far from rural area. My chicken coop and run are predator safe, but not if you forget to close the door at night.
My chickens have a big pen they roam around in during the day, it's something like 50x50 feet, maybe a little bigger, and it's fenced off with that wire farm fencing.

This morning I looked out and one of my chickens was out in the yard, outside of the pen. I went out to look and realized the gate had been pushed open all the way. I thought everything was fine until I saw a pile of feathers and realized one of my SF's was missing.

There is a pile of feathers right outside the coop door, and her body was under the coop. It doesn't look damaged at all, except that her head is completely ripped off.

I took a horrible picture, in case anyone can tell me what kind of predator did this. I don't want it to come back for more and find some way into my locked coop.

Click to see.
http://eingefangen.smugmug.com/photos/491773476_nadK8-M.jpg


There are several things I am confused about. Why did the predator take a good sized chicken, who sleeps in a pile with a couple other chickens in the far back corner of the coop? Instead it could have easily gotten one of my smaller chickens, or one of the constantly confused crested birds. Why my sweet SF girl?? And why did it drag her under the coop and just leave her body with no head!?! Why didn't it eat her or something? There isn't even any blood, just feathers and a headless body. Do you think my big Brahma roo could have woken up and scared it off?

I'm so terrified I'll find her head out there later. I don't think I could stand seeing her little face dead on the ground.
 

Emzyyy

Runs with Deer
11 Years
Jul 14, 2008
2,952
21
191
Derby Kansas
Im sorry. Dogs don't usually eat the carcass but I don't think a dog would leave it under the shed. Maybe a ratcoon. Im not a expert or anything im just guessing.
 

Andora

Songster
11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
1,741
22
171
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote:Ew! That's exactly what it looks like happened. I've never even seen a weasel before. I assume we have them in KY right?

Do they come back for more?
Something could dig into my run, but I don't think anything could get into the coop as long as the doors are latched and the pop door to the run is closed...
 

Andora

Songster
11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
1,741
22
171
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote:That could be a possibility too. Is it possible that once her head was ripped off her body ran on its own? Or is that just an old wive's tale?
 

CTChickenMom

Songster
11 Years
Jan 5, 2009
789
25
176
SE Connecticut
Racoons will also take just the head and leave the rest. I would think any animal would likely return once it knows it can get a free meal. Coons can push through regular chicken wire so I'd regularly check the perimeter of your run for gaps. Weasels and minks can squeeze through the smallest space (1 1/2"). Be on guard. Sorry you lost your girl.
 

Blondie

Songster
12 Years
Feb 21, 2007
418
10
151
Sharpsburg, Georgia
My Coop
Please be diligent about closing the coop at night from now on.

Whatever it was will bring back family and friends to try to get more chickens! I know - it happened to me.
 
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Andora

Songster
11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
1,741
22
171
Lexington, Kentucky
Oh I will! I'm going to close it tight and be paranoid all night every night from now on.


I've never left it open before, the only other time they've been out is one night when they all slept under the coop. I woke up last night and suddenly remembered that the door was open, but it was pitch black and raining and I stupidly thought they would probably be fine. If only I'd gotten out of bed and closed it!
 

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