Mystery Predator. Can anyone help me identify?

What could this predator be?

  • skunk

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • owl

    Votes: 3 30.0%
  • possum

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • raccoon

    Votes: 7 70.0%
  • cat

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    10

mark2eye

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jan 14, 2013
14
0
22
Los Angeles
So for the past week my neighbor's chickens have made a night time roost out of one of my trees. The tree provided pretty good cover from rain and predators, so I thought nothing of it. Yesterday morning I awoke to find a pile of feathers and blood scattered.

The following night I heard some commotion in the yard and went out to inspect. I found one decapitated barred rock with no other injuries to its body. This morning, I found the body about 10 yards from where it was last night (something must've moved it). and discovered another barred rock also with her head missing along with part of her back.

My guess is that it's an owl considering it happens late at night, after midnight, the heads are missing, and the chickens were perched at least 15-20 feet off the ground when they were attacked

Does anyone else have any ideas as to what it might be? I have some chickens of my own that I keep locked up but worry that whatevers getting them might get a taste or interest in mine.

FYI I live in southern california and don't think the cause could be a mink or weasel, I'm not sure that we have them here. But we also have a good amount of skunks and possums in the area, but I don't know if they would climb 20 feet and take a chicken down from that high.
 

HeatherEmme

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 4, 2013
148
11
83
A lot of things eat the heads off chickens. Could be anything that can climb a tree... raccoon, opossum, owl, etc. Don't underestimate predators. Some go hungry as their meals are few and far between and hunger is the best motivator. It will keep them persistent and drive them to be quite clever. I hope your neighbor is aware his/her birds are being lost to predators and I sure hope they're doing something about it otherwise every one of those birds will be gone.
 
Last edited:

JiMyra

In the Brooder
7 Years
Dec 4, 2012
13
0
22
I would bet it was a coon. We have many and they love chicken heads. I have lost several hens to coons. They are hard to keep out of a coop and if a girl stays out they will eat her.
Tell your neighbor to pen them at night.
Gook luck
 

tellynpeep

Songster
11 Years
Oct 4, 2008
976
37
184
SW New Hampshire
I agree with likely coon. It doesn't fit the owl's MO.
The owl I caught eating my chicken (she actually survived) had her pinned to the ground, and was eating the flesh from her back. Raccoons frequently eat the heads. Also, with any bird of prey, you should be able to find where the hen was grabbed by the talons. There will be deep punctures or lacerations, looking almost surgical in how clean and sharp they are.
 

horsymom

Chirping
8 Years
Sep 10, 2011
39
1
77
Socorro
WARNING: This post is not for the squeamish.
Will a raccoon eat most of the body as well as the head? I just found my OEG Banty, who was brooding a clutch, eaten. Couldn't find the head, did find the feet with thigh and leg bones, and the spine, and feathers, and the intestines. Two eggs missing, and one live, unhurt, chick, less than a day old, peeping loud enough to be heard 200 feet away. From my books, this doesn't make sense, but I've never had trouble with anything other than dogs, so my pen is dog resistant, but not tight enough otherwise, apparently.
 

settingdusk

Songster
6 Years
Apr 30, 2013
556
22
113
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Post pictures of the attacks, need to know what the wounds look like. If its small jaws or large jaws, torn flesh or cut flesh. Puncture wounds and scratches. Cats kill and eat half the bird or more and they spit out feathers everywhere or they kill the chicken and don't eat it. Also look for droppings, carnivores poop where they kill to claim territory.
 

mark2eye

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jan 14, 2013
14
0
22
Los Angeles
Talked to my neighbor and apparently he's in the middle of building a coop and has nowhere to put them. I'd volunteer my coop but that could bring all kinds of problems.

The kills were really inconsistent. One morning all I found were feathers and blood no body. The next morning I found a body untouched w no head and another body w no head but the flesh on its back gone.

So I guess it might be a mixture of things. I see cats often at night and some owls. But I'm not sure if raccoons might be the culprit as I haven't encountered one in los Angeles in the 22 years I've lived here.

I am considering picking up note guard does anyone know if they work?
 

settingdusk

Songster
6 Years
Apr 30, 2013
556
22
113
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Time to put up a game camera or a video camera that has a motion activated record. Blood and lots of scattered feathers is a cat when I see it. There will be a pile of feathers where the attack occured with some blood then a few feathers over to an area where it was eaten. The area where it is eaten will have a mound of feathers in chunks.
 
Last edited:

mark2eye

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jan 14, 2013
14
0
22
Los Angeles
Funny how you find yourself eating your words. not more than an hour after I posted I was in my backyard to dump some garbage near the coop. As I was walking back there my dog starts chasing something. He eventually trees it and I see a pair of red eyes looking at me.

It was a coon.

Got the bb gun out but realized the bbs were probably too small to kill it.

Will try to trap it first thin tomorrow. In the meantime does anyone know of a good way to keep racoons away from the coop? I read about nite guard but im not sure if it works. Does anyone have any experience with it?

Thanks
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom