Rooster Dead, Need Help Identifying Culprit *Graphic Pics*

AbstractChickens

In the Brooder
Jul 14, 2020
8
13
26
This morning I woke up to find my rooster dead, I have luckily not had much experience with predators so I have no idea what killed him. I have two runs, one is smaller, covered and is connected directly to the coop, the other is larger, not covered and is connected to the smaller run by a door. I generally leave this door connecting the two runs open, never had problems before besides a chicken getting out every once in a while. Inside the smaller run, I have a small box that I used to integrate my bantams into the flock when they were young, this has been left open now that everyones friends. Rooster was found in this box, his head missing and one wing connected to body only by bone. Feathers were found scattered around the large run, however no blood anywhere on floor. (In large run, small run, coop, small box.) Rooster did have some blood on his feet, I'm guessing where he tried to defend himself. I'm assuming either Rooster fought off/got away from predator and possibly ran into box while being headless, OR Rooster was killed outside and predator dragged body into box to eat in peace. It doesn't really make much sense to me, considering there isn't any blood in box and all the feathers are in large run. My neighbors have had problems with owls in the past, and I lost one other hen 8-10 months ago from a predator. Assumed it was a hawk as no body, just feathers/droplets of blood. Covered the small run and I've no more problems since. My hens are unscathed, and didn't even seem remotely upset their rooster had died. Our dogs were in house, and neighbor's dogs haven't come onto property before. As far as I can tell, there's not been any forced entry into either runs, which rules out coyotes/dogs.

TL: DR Rooster dead, no blood, feathers scattered, head is missing and one wing is held on by exposed bone. Hens fine. Need help identifying predator and possible ways to prevent another attack.

Pics below, GRAPHIC
20201227_111645.jpg 20201227_111606.jpg
 

Peppercorngal

Crowing
Feb 5, 2018
2,647
6,110
391
Feather Falls, CA
I don't know where you live, and what your predators may be, but ripping the head off is a fox trait (also racoon). You should ALWAYS have a completely enclosed run for your chickens at night. Fox, racoons, mink and other predators love to attack and kill (& eat) chickens at night. They are sleeping and quite helpless. I would shore up the enclosures and lock everyone in at night. I'm sorry you lost your rooster, that is heartbreaking. Good Luck! :hit
 

mcdze

Songster
Sep 9, 2020
327
454
128
hard to say .. i'd want to fix wherever something is getting in though, and locking everything down at dusk is a good practice .. but i'd be wanting some payback lol ,, going off your description, how i'd handle it is figure out where its getting under or in and just leave it but rig something up with some bait that would attract it in .. i got this little motion sensor infrared cam for like 20 bucks at bangood that works great and dings my phone when it senses something move .. so i'd be ready with something to seal up its access point so i could trap it in, might have to rig it so that can happen automatically or something .. and boy oh boy we'd be payin my raccon or whatever it is a visit with mr shotgun yes we would lol .. i'd nail that tail right to the coop wall lol ...
 

hayley3

Crowing
14 Years
Aug 16, 2007
2,072
1,956
446
Southern Indiana
This morning I woke up to find my rooster dead, I have luckily not had much experience with predators so I have no idea what killed him. I have two runs, one is smaller, covered and is connected directly to the coop, the other is larger, not covered and is connected to the smaller run by a door. I generally leave this door connecting the two runs open, never had problems before besides a chicken getting out every once in a while. Inside the smaller run, I have a small box that I used to integrate my bantams into the flock when they were young, this has been left open now that everyones friends. Rooster was found in this box, his head missing and one wing connected to body only by bone. Feathers were found scattered around the large run, however no blood anywhere on floor. (In large run, small run, coop, small box.) Rooster did have some blood on his feet, I'm guessing where he tried to defend himself. I'm assuming either Rooster fought off/got away from predator and possibly ran into box while being headless, OR Rooster was killed outside and predator dragged body into box to eat in peace. It doesn't really make much sense to me, considering there isn't any blood in box and all the feathers are in large run. My neighbors have had problems with owls in the past, and I lost one other hen 8-10 months ago from a predator. Assumed it was a hawk as no body, just feathers/droplets of blood. Covered the small run and I've no more problems since. My hens are unscathed, and didn't even seem remotely upset their rooster had died. Our dogs were in house, and neighbor's dogs haven't come onto property before. As far as I can tell, there's not been any forced entry into either runs, which rules out coyotes/dogs.

TL: DR Rooster dead, no blood, feathers scattered, head is missing and one wing is held on by exposed bone. Hens fine. Need help identifying predator and possible ways to prevent another attack.

Pics below, GRAPHIC
View attachment 2465156 View attachment 2465157
Sorry about your rooster...
Can you post a picture of runs and coop? Are the runs covered?...I would say it's a raccoon and it will be back tonight.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
29,346
29,459
901
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
By your description of scattered feathers and the way the rooster was eaten, I'd be inclined to think that a raptor killed him - very possibly a Great Horned Owl since neighbors have had owl problems.
My thought too. If you have a camera, put it up and most likely you will find out what the predator is. I have posted this image previously. This owl killed some of my birds. It was an accidental catch. We got it into a cage and called a wildlife rescue who came and took it. They said they had a release area and that it shouldn't come back.
 

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