Mystery Predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Atlantanna, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Atlantanna

    Atlantanna Out Of The Brooder

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    Over the past few weeks, I have lost 3 hens. I usually free range my flock on our 5 acres, and we are in a suburban area. I have seen hawks, but none of them seem big enough to carry off a full grown large breed hen (I have BO's and barred rocks). With two of the hens, it is a complete mystery--no crime scene at all, not even a feather. I found one hen near the fence line, mostly intact but her abdomen was gone. We have a mini donkey in the pasture where they range but perhaps he's not doing well at deterring 4 legged predators.

    What do you think? Coyote (they have been spotted in the area)? Stray dog? Hawk? I have kept them confined to the run for the last few weeks and they want out to range really bad. I have one hen that makes a run for the gate when I let them out of the coop in the morning. I would love to go back to free ranging them daily, but I don't want to lose any more ladies :(
     
  2. Huntress78

    Huntress78 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Could be a coyote or fox. They both grab and run so the donkey may not have had a chance to defend. Predators are sneaky...I once watched a coyote stalk a flock of wild turkeys. He snuck in low, just like a cat, then made a dash and grab.
     
  3. 3girls

    3girls New Egg

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    Dec 18, 2012
    I recently had the same thing happen to one of my full grown Golden Laced. Bird was taken during late afternoon and gutted out her abdomen. I never saw or heard anything. Now I am spooked to let them out to free range at all and they want out bad. I do have 2 neighbor hounds who have always been around the birds and have never looked twice at them. Both dogs are supervised so I doubt they could have torn apart the bird and not been seen or at least had a father in their mouth after. I was told maybe a possum did it-but I think wild animals always take back to their dens right?
     
  4. arcy liger

    arcy liger Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 6, 2012
    it would be a fox or cayote ....i think that the ____ would have took it but left it and the dogs would have been their and looked and sniffed her..
     
  5. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I think coyote or fox - since you are finding no evidence it sounds like a smash and grab to me. A dog would have the place looking like a feather bomb went off. Sorry to hear about your bird!
     
  6. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

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    My Coop
    You are right-- north american hawk species woudln't be able to carry off a full grown LF barred rock or BO. A hawk would need to kill and eat its kill on the ground, and you'd find something. A critter is grabbing a meal to go. Foxes and coyotes both do this, but sometimes a dog will too. Most of the time dogs tend to go through and blast a whole flock until the fun ends, leaving lots of sad evidence, but some individuals will take a single bird back home.

    Sorry for your loss!
     
  7. rebirdchild

    rebirdchild Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2012
    I am sorry about your birds. It probably was a fox or coyote but you can't count out the possibility of hawk attacks on large fowl. I have seen a red-tailed hawk carry off a full sized RIR once before. In the wild some hawks can carry off a deer fawn! Thankfully though due to the chickens prey instincts they watch the sky for predators and it does protect them somewhat.
     

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