Predators that decapitate chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by enola, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    What kind of predator--wild or domestic--would take only the head and neck of a chicken, leaving the rest of the chicken undamaged? I have lost too many chickens now to this menace. I have closed up all holes and set traps around chicken house, but have NOT seen this predator -- 'possum, fox, raccoon, cat, ect. It's puzzling because it's killing my best chickens, but only taking the head and neck. Anybody have any ideas about what it could be?
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Raccoon are famous for that, even reaching through wire to pull head off. Since you say you've been reinforcing and still getting attacks I'd guess it's a weasel. I read on here to wrap your live traps in hardware cloth or they'll simply squeeze out after setting it.
  3. Redcatcher

    Redcatcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2010
    At My Desk!
    Weasels do that with the plan to come back later and finish their dinner.
  4. Rhondax6

    Rhondax6 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 14, 2009
    Cheboygan, Michigan
    Were they in the coop at the time? Id say something that uses it's hands if that were the case. Otherwise we have a fox and it has taken only the head twice now.
  5. CatDaddyAlbert

    CatDaddyAlbert NoFeathersRuffled

    Apr 22, 2011
    Gumboro, Delaware
    The other predator that will do this is Mr. Possum. They kill just to be killing.
  6. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I guess I should've said that I've only recently fixed the holes--as of this morning. So I'm not sure yet what I'll come home to, now that the holes have been patched. Hopefully this has fixed the problem. I was wondering, however, what kind of predator would kill my chickens by decapitating them, head and neck only, leaving the rest of the body alone. I suspected raccoon, or maybe a 'possum.
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    And yes, they were in a coop when they were attacked.
  8. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Hi enola, sorry to hear of the loss.

    I just found a beheaded hen in my run yesterday, but her feathers were outside the run. Mostly.
    First time I've had any such attack, I'm pretty certain we have our first raccoon. I'm thinking it attacked early morning or very late afternoon.
  9. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    We lost 5 a few months ago to coyote. One was beheaded, no other damage visible. A neighbor saw the attack.
  10. Theapplechicks

    Theapplechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    OPOSSUM!!! It got a few of ours. Coons will to but the possum is notorius for killing for fun! The coon that got one dug under and could get hold just enough but actually took of the hens back half. The opossums just beheaded and left.

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