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

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Andora, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Andora

    Andora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    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. [​IMG] 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. [​IMG]
     
  2. Emzyyy

    Emzyyy Runs with Deer

    Jul 14, 2008
    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.
     
  3. Emzyyy

    Emzyyy Runs with Deer

    Jul 14, 2008
    Derby Kansas
    or a cat...
     
  4. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Sounds like a weasel to me. Weasels remove the head and suck out the blood.
     
  5. Andora

    Andora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    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? [​IMG] 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...
     
  6. Crazy_For_Chickens

    Crazy_For_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 18, 2008
    Minnesota
    I don't know about it being dragged, but owls take the heads and there usually is no blood.

    Sorry for your loss.

    CFC
     
  7. Andora

    Andora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    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?
     
  8. CTChickenMom

    CTChickenMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 5, 2009
    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.
     
  9. Blondie

    Blondie Chillin' With My Peeps

    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. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  10. Andora

    Andora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 26, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Oh I will! I'm going to close it tight and be paranoid all night every night from now on. [​IMG]

    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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