Mystery predator.....?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by eggxentric, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. eggxentric

    eggxentric Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 25, 2009
    Boulder Creek, CA
    Recently, we returned home (during the day....with hours of sun light left) to find our first and finest egg layer (RIR) dead in our chicken yard. The others were freaked out, hiding under things (or in the coop). The dead hen seemed to have the feathers ripped out from either side of the back of neck area. There appeared to not be any chewing. It seemed like her neck was broken and flopping, even though the rest of the body was intact and in rigor mortis. The only open wounds we found were a single laceration (about an inch long) in the area where feathers were ripped. We have had problems with racoons at night, by never during the day. If if was a dog, we aren't sure how it could have gotten into and would have to scale a 5 foot wire fence (hard galvanized wire, not chicken wire). Could this be the work of a hawk?

    Since the attack, we've built a bomb proof chicken run, enclosed on ALL sides with hardware cloth. The remaining girls (6 of them) are safe, but not happy...they don't get to wander the yard. No one has laid an egg since the attack. Do they stop laying if they are stressed?

    Many thanks,
  2. NarutoTn

    NarutoTn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    Give them a few days to get back to normal.if they dont get a couple more hens that are laying and throw them in with the other girls.they will calm them down and encourage the to lay again.
  3. mikeksfarmer

    mikeksfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2008
    Bonner springs KS
    No chewing but feathers gone suggests Dog. Mine are out now. Even though I have a fenced in pen I check on them every few minutes. Too many dogs run free in my neighborhood. My gun is loaded.
    I am sorry for you loss; it seems they always get the best of our flock.
    I looked at a survey earlier it suggested a raccoon was the worst preditor. I wonder if we looked at actual numbers would a dog be at the least number 2.
    Glad you took measures to protect your flock after the first attack.
  4. alpinefarm

    alpinefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2008
    Western Colorado
    Quote:Raccoons and foxes can scale a fence easily. Even though they usually work at night, they can tell when you are away and will make their attacks accordingly. A hawk would likely have flown away with the body. It could also have been a weasel. They attack the neck area so that they can suck the blood and then they generally will leave the body alone. Weasels are very difficult to deal with, as they can make and enter a hole the size of a quarter in flimsy steel fencing or mesh.

  5. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Sounds like a typical DOG kill. Keep an eye out, it will be back.

    So sorry for your loss. Stress will cause hens to temporarily stop laying. Maybe hook a radio up with soothing music but watch for another attack.

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