Not again...

BroodyMama1

Songster
Feb 21, 2018
149
122
126
Kentucky
So I posted awhile back about how in 2 weeks time something got my “baby” chickens and then one of my adults. Well it happened again. I just looked outside to find my Head of the flock dead in the middle of their yard. I think her head is gone but my husband will be home soon to get her out of the run. The crazy thing is it’s daylight out and I just looked outside at 3:15pm and saw her. Now what would start coming out to kill during the day? I thought raccoons and possums only came out in the dark? Going to the store tomorrow for cat food and traps. Budgets been a bit tight that’s why I havnt already set it up. Any suggestion?
 

BroodyMama1

Songster
Feb 21, 2018
149
122
126
Kentucky
We have seen hawks once or twice. These hens are 4-3 years old and have never lost one to a hawk. They are pretty smart about them. The first 2 times this winter happened in the night. Do hawks hunt in the night? But a hawk wouldn’t make since for the night since the 2 times they had been drugged out of their coop. I thought hawks would take the whole thing with them and not just the head. What’s the point in that?
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
19,785
74,095
1,217
SE Missouri, USA
We have seen hawks once or twice. These hens are 4-3 years old and have never lost one to a hawk. They are pretty smart about them. The first 2 times this winter happened in the night. Do hawks hunt in the night? But a hawk wouldn’t make since for the night since the 2 times they had been drugged out of their coop. I thought hawks would take the whole thing with them and not just the head. What’s the point in that?
So sorry for your losses. I believe hawks do hunt during the day, but owls hunt at night. However, it does not sound like the work of an owl to have dragged your chicken out of the coop. How did that happen? Did the predator force the pop door? Or was it left open?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,037
22,672
907
Southeast Louisiana
I had an owl go into a shelter where some were sleeping in the run and drag one out. It tore the head off. The the chickens sleeping in that shelter never did again. I've also had a hawk take a chicken in the middle of the day, again going for the head. Many predators go for the head first, it's a fast easy way to kill a chicken. Even if they actually eat other parts the kill is often at the head. Neither the hawk nor the owl carried the chicken away. They ate on the spot.

I've seen practically every predator there is out hunting in the middle of the day. Some are more likely to come out at night but "more likely" does not mean 100% of each and every time, always and without a doubt forever. I was very surprised when I saw possum sitting on my compost pile having a snack at 1:00 in the after noon on a bright sunny day.

It is very possible you could have two or more different predators. When I set out to trap a raccoon I often get a possum or two first. Over three nights I may get three raccoons.

It is possible the predator was frightened away after the kill but before it could eat.

Some people go years without a predator problem, then without doing anything differently, a predator attacks. You never know how good your predator protection really is until it is tested. You may be tested immediately, you may go years before a certain predator comes by.

There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about predators. They can't be as bad for everyone as I've probably made it sound. a lot of us are able to keep chicken even free range without huge problems. But they can strike anywhere at any time.

That last attack sounds like it could have been a hawk. There are a few other thing it could have been. For those night attacks an owl, fox, coyote, or bobcat immediately come to mind since they were drug outside but it could have been something else too.

I wish you luck. These things are often kind of hard. You need to know what it is so you know how to set a trap.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
16,029
33,920
1,092
On the MN prairie.
Just last week, DH and I were outside working around the chicken coops. My chickens were free ranging. We went up to the house and ate some lunch, came back out to work and found a dead pullet in the run - headless. It was pulled to a corner of the coop. Moved the carcass and found where something had tunneled in. Because the head was eaten, we guessed mink. We put the carcass in a live trap, and sure enough there was a mink in the live trap the next morning.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,283
29,287
901
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
We have seen hawks once or twice. These hens are 4-3 years old and have never lost one to a hawk. They are pretty smart about them. The first 2 times this winter happened in the night. Do hawks hunt in the night? But a hawk wouldn’t make since for the night since the 2 times they had been drugged out of their coop. I thought hawks would take the whole thing with them and not just the head. What’s the point in that?
My guess would be a hawk daytime and owl at night. If you have a game camera put it up and you will probably find out what the predator is.
 

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