Odd deaths - Graphic Photo

tsperry88

Songster
Mar 30, 2020
410
399
128
Fredericksburg, VA




I lost 2 12 week old Americanas today. I can't identify what killed them. I cant find bite marks. There is no signs of entry. Their heads look sucked on. Snake?
 

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ryneaeiel

Stupid Sexy Spy
May 9, 2021
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I lost 2 12 week old Americanas today. I can't identify what killed them. I cant find bite marks. There is no signs of entry. Their heads look sucked on. Snake?
That is... incredibly odd.

I doubt it's a snake -- they typically won't try to eat items that much bigger than them, and especially won't kill two chickens. Is there a picture of the other hen?
 

tsperry88

Songster
Mar 30, 2020
410
399
128
Fredericksburg, VA
She looked the same. I have a 3x4 fenced area with holes large enough for the young ones that the adults don't fit through. One was inside with her head pulled through the fence. No skin punctures that I could find. Both were killed in the coop.
 

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ryneaeiel

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May 9, 2021
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She looked the same. I have a 3x4 fenced area with holes large enough for the young ones that the adults don't fit through. One was inside with her head pulled through the fence. No skin punctures that I could find. Both were killed in the coop.
I'm not sure, actually. Having the head pulled through the fence is common with raccoons for example, but I've never seen any animal "slobber" on prey to that extent. Opossums have a habit of drooling when frightened, but this doesn't look like the work of one.
 

ryneaeiel

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I added a few photos above. Her neck was actually twisted around the fence and head inside the cage. Almost like the creature and bird were both inside.
That's even stranger.

It's entirely possible that this is the work of a desperate snake. Are there any puncture holes around the face of the hens? Venomous snakes use their fangs to push prey down their throats, so there should be small punctures along the head/neck where the fangs dug in to help swallow. The only venomous snake in Virginia large enough to attempt this would likely be a timber rattlesnake.

Personally, I think it's likely the work of a Northern pinesnake or an Eastern ratsnake. Ratsnake is much more likely considering how big they get.
 

tsperry88

Songster
Mar 30, 2020
410
399
128
Fredericksburg, VA
We don't have rattlesnakes in our area without driving an hour or so. I don't see too many Ratsnakes but I caught a couple foot long one a couple weeks ago and just let it go. They are around.
 

tsperry88

Songster
Mar 30, 2020
410
399
128
Fredericksburg, VA
The 4 other little ones won't go back in their "safe zone", but they don't mind the coop. They get along with the older ones, so I guess they will have to find their place in the flock. I added my portable roost for them and they are sleeping like grown ups. One of the 2 was my latest cross beak, so the snake took one that I may have had to put down. Unfortunately my coop camera doesn't record. I should upgrade. I also need to do some rearrangements to keep the food from getting pooped in.
 

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HomesteaderWife

Free Ranging
7 Years
Apr 24, 2015
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Alabama
Poor babies, I am so sorry for your loss. We've had similar experiences with snakes in the past. Just help your other birds recover from this incident with lots of love and help them have more positive experiences with treats and time.
 

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