Mystery Predator

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

  1. Atlantanna

    Atlantanna Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 8, 2012
    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

    Jul 17, 2012
    NE Wisconsin
    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

    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

    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

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    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

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    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

    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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