Mystery predator...any ideas?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by amylebus, Jul 24, 2014.

  1. amylebus

    amylebus Hatching

    Jul 24, 2014
    Sadly, my chicken fortress is not immune to human error and I'm scratching my head now, trying to determine which savage beast snatched one of my four girls after (I believe) I left their pen door slightly ajar (they have a coop inside a larger enclosure and generally head out to scratch in my compost heap for a few hours each day when I'm home).

    The other night around 11:30 pm, I heard some light thumping around my house. I assumed it was my neighbor, but now, I'm thinking it was their enclosure door swinging open. Maybe it was an owl landing on the house. It was subtle and not enough of a racket to cause me to go check (mistake!).

    The next morning at dawn, three of my four chickens were loose around my yard (without my permission!), calmly scratching and enjoying their morning. My fourth chicken, a beautiful Buff Orpington was missing, but I found a couple piles of feathers in the massive construction site next to my house (months ago, it was a lovely forest--now it is a vast nothingness and a favorite hangout of my chickens--fully exposed and loads of bugs and worms to be scratched).

    Upon further exploration, I found her carcass about 8 feet from the coop completely in tact, but licked clean of all meat--including neck meat and head meat. Head and neck, feet and wings, guts...everything still there--just no meat anywhere. Tragic.

    As my 5 year old daughter and I buried our little sweetie, we discussed all the possibilities. A raccoon, perhaps? I've never seen one in our neighborhood in 8 years (knock wood) and the bugger left all the other chickens alone, so...I think not. An owl or hawk? I don't think an owl could've licked the bones clean with such precision. A bobcat? That seems the likely choice, but I couldn't find a lot of info online about how/when/where they do their hunting. A coyote? Wouldn't a coyote have eaten all the bones too?

    Any ideas? Or similar experiences?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. swamperkk

    swamperkk Songster

    May 8, 2014

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