My hen caught a bird!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cmclean, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. cmclean

    cmclean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 20, 2011
    This was a first! A saw a bird dangling from my hen's beak!!! I ran out to get it away from her, but she would not let it go. She had already swallowed its head. I picked her up to see if she would let it go, no luck. My husband had to pull it from her beak. I wonder if she would have choked if allowed to finish swallowing it. Surely it was too big for her crop?!
    What's the weirdest thing your chickens have ever eaten?[​IMG]
  2. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2012
    Marcola, OR
    Chickens LOVE eating other birds! Back in the day, my ex-husband was a falconer. When she was moulting so not hunting, he would stand in the backyard feeding a whole quail (or squirrel. or rat. or duck) to his falcon who didn't like certain parts & would flick them to the ground where our two laying hens would hover at his feet to catch the scraps. Funniest thing I ever saw was when she (the falcon) dropped the head of a quail by accident (she LOVED the heads), our RIR grabbed the head & ran off with it. She couldn't quite swallow it so she's running with this quail head looking out from her mouth, our other hen in hot pursuit trying to steal it. Meanwhile the falcon is having a screaming hissy fit wanting to go after them because they have HER head. :lol: I'm sure the neighbors just loved us!
    1 person likes this.
  3. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    I have had reptiles in the past and must say my hens' swallowing abilities put snakes to shame. Mice, birds, snakes, you name it, chickens can throw it down. I think of the size of a hens' head, and even though the mouth opens way back under the eye, it still isn't that big. A snake of comparable head size will take 3-5 minutes to swallow a mouse. A chicken eats them in the blink of an eye, usually while running away from the rest of the flock.

    Chances are your hen has caught birds before, and will do so again without choking.
  4. fosterson

    fosterson Chillin' With My Peeps

    We were having a problem with house sparrows till our rooster decided to 'clean up' around the place. Once or twice a day there for a while, he'd do in a house sparrow, then parcel the bits out to his favorite hens before leaving the rest for the flock to take care of. Other than one hen choking on half a mouse once, I've never had any troubles with them eating relatively large animals.
  5. suzMEchicks

    suzMEchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2013
    North Waterboro, Maine
    Wow chickens eat mice? Thats amazing
  6. StruckBy

    StruckBy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2012
    Marcola, OR
    Mice, voles, frogs, salamanders, snakes...pretty much anything small that they can catch is fair game. To illustrate just how good of hunters they can be... When I lived on the WA coast a family that had been squatting in the woods had a free-ranging flock of chickens (random backyard mixes). The people vanished but left the birds behind. A few people tried to catch them over the years but were never able to. Last I heard the flock was still there & thriving a decade later. This is in deep, mature forest next to a small (@3' across) stream. For most of the year there is zilch for grains, seeds, berries, etc. No one feeds them unless you count the rare occasions when someone tries to lure them into a trap with scratch grain. I always wanted some of those birds to breed into a sweet breed with good egg-laying to see if I couldn't increase the predator avoidance instincts.

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