Name that Predator

I live in San Francisco, CA and have about 20 various hens that range over 3 large back yards. Yesterday I found a dead hen in the yard. It had the feathers torn off its neck and part of its body, but was not eaten.

Today, when I was letting my hens out, I noticed a pullet born last summer was slow coming out of the shed. Her neck had the feathers all torn off, with dried blood. I put her in my garage in an area designed to raise baby chicks for her to recover.

Does anyone know what type of animal does this behavior? I have skunks, raccons, and other night animals come around, as well as an occasional halk.


9 Years
May 19, 2010
Ringgold, GA
That is really strange...
my bet is a really young weasel. I hope you catch whatever it is before it can take anymore of your hens.

Good luck!


11 Years
Apr 18, 2011
Lehigh County Pa.
Yes - could be a weasel - most other animals would eat it or take it away and eat it somewhere else -google "how to trap weasels" and find out how you can get rid of it - also it would be mice to set up a trail camera and see the guy during the night hours -

Fly Fisher

In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 31, 2011
Upstate New York
Sounds like a weasel to me. I have had issues with them in the past. They are only interested in the blood which is why they go for the neck.
Sometimes mature weasels will kill 5 or 6 hens per night.

These animals are very hard to keep out since they can get through most fencing and they also eat through wood.

Luckily they are easy to trap. You need a wood box with a 1" hole at both ends and a hinged top. One hole is an entrance the other is a vent. The vent hole should be covered with mesh to deter access.

I usually place the entrails fron the killed birds inside the vent end of the box. Inside the entrance end of the box place a rat trap. when the weasel crawls in the hole he will spring the trap and it's game over.

I usually set the box in the area where I suspect the weasel gains acess to the coop. (my last weasel chewed through 3/4" plywood under the coop to gain access)

good luck
Thanks for the reply. Last night I caught a feral cat in my "live trap" I have a big trap. I am thinking maybe I have a "ferret" that escaped or set loose, since this is San Francisco, and I have never seen weesel here. Thanks for the tip. Will keep trying. Racoons were here last night, but I think the cat was already in the trap. There is a huge preditor problem in SF, and I have a huge hill nearby with all kinds of wildlife.

Whatever is getting my chickens is doing it during the daytime. My coop is secure.

Chick named Lola

9 Years
Aug 15, 2010
I've had a feral cat and just neighborhood cats hanging around my coop/run big time. At first I thought they were after the chickens but I realized that they are catching the little birds that come around to steal the chicken feed. Good hunting grounds for em I guess. Never bothered the chickens YET...The feral cat has dissapeared...yay! But the others belong to my neighbor...I've talked to her about it but what is she gonna do? Keep her outdoor cats in just because I have chickens? I think not and I wouldn't ask either. It's my job to protect my birds right?

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