Nothing but the head! Whose the culprit ?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DavidL20, Mar 27, 2015.

  1. DavidL20

    DavidL20 New Egg

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    Apr 30, 2013
    Our chickens have a coop and a free range yard surrounded by split rail fence and welded wire. Something killed just one chicken lifting the body over the fence and eating only the head. It didn't kill the other 9 chickens and it didn't dig under the fence -it went over. From where the body sits, just a foot off the fence line, the predator appears to have been eaten the chicke while sitting on the fence. We are in western Colorado so possum and weaseal are not the culprit. It seems a dog or cat or raccoon would have killed them all? A fox would have dug under fence and not climed over.

    Do Hawks only eat the head? We have muskrats. A skunk would have had to go under the fence and not over. It happened during the day so owls are ruled out, unless it was at dawn.

    Any other thoughts?

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  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Eating the head off is classic raccoon modus operandi. However I did also want to address your statement that a fox would not climb over. Foxes will indeed climb. You can read the whole story in the fox attack link in my signature but the bottom line is that I personally witnessed the fox climb my 5' welded wire fence like it was a ladder. In fact, when I disabled the intruder, she was 2' off the ground, and completely vertical, mid-climb.
     
  3. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    I am also in Colorado and although I have been lucky enough not to have ever lost a chicken to a predator I have lost ducks to them. The nasty thing would take the heads and leave the body. My particular predator was a fox. I got him in a trap after seeing him go over the fence into the enclosure and take eggs from under my broody duck.
    They can also jump a 6 foot fence like it was no effort at all. ( He did that while holding an egg in his nasty mouth. )
    I live in town these days and yes we have fox here too. I was replacing the fence on one side of my yard which gave him easy access inside the fence line. It was a Saturday about 9 am when every wing in the chicken run hit the wire roof. I came running out and there he was busy trying to dig through the apron on the run. Needless to say he did not have chicken for lunch. I have a new coop and run now and am also adding as I can afford it large cobble on top of the apron to make sure he cannot lift it to get a hole started.

    Total number of eggs stolen was 39
    Total ducks beheaded was 3
    Total foxes not being foxy anymore 5

    Anymore I subscribe to the lock em or loose em way of thinking.
     
  4. DavidL20

    DavidL20 New Egg

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    Apr 30, 2013
    So a fox won't necessarily eat all the chickens at once? Wouldn't a fox kill them all in one sitting? And they really only eat the head?
     
  5. DavidL20

    DavidL20 New Egg

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    What's the best bait for a raccoon in a trap?
     
  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    That is what the bugger did with my ducks after he managed to snag all the eggs. Never did catch a racoon in the trap and this went on over the course of 4 years. I would find one and then not lose another until spring when they would have young to feed.
    Racoon is most certainly an option with this type of loss too. I just know mine was a fox taking them.

    Best bait would be canned cat food or canned mackerel ( thinking dollar store for that )
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2015
  7. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Chicken Obsessed

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    Oh and if you catch one you should dispatch it not relocate. Some people think they should relocate the varmint but that can spread rabies and other disease.
    DOW told me to drop the trap and critter in the stock tank to avoid getting bit. Make sure to put the safety latch on so they do not make an escape while you are moving the trap too.
    I chose the trash can filled with water since I did not want to possibly expose my cattle to rabies.
    Graphic and gross sorry.
     

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