Sometimes, if they need a quick meal or think they need to get away fast, they will ony eat the head. But, if they have time, they will eat other parts like the breast and belly organs. Some owls will cache a kill and come back to it.
aw, honey! it sucks to lose a chicken, even if you understand it's a possibility.
The following site is the best I've found for identifying and learning about birds of prey. I thought we had a huge infestation of hawks until I learned that vultures pulled their heads in tight when flying so their silhouette looks like a bird of prey!
IDK if it will help, but many garden centers sell fake owls you can place around to deter other animals - maybe they won't cross each other's territory? Gardening sites might have helpful hints on protecting from birds, but how they will work against a bird of prey, I do not know. I just know it would drive me crazy to not try something!
I agree! The attack came from behind, To me that says Raptor. I'm not saying any guess is wrong, but there is a pattern to how each animal takes prey items. Some break the rule we placed on them from time to time. It seem as if the other hens saw the "Perp" that alone would be enough to scare them silly. You can narrow this down some if you could tell if it was day or night. Also, I too am sorry for you all.