Rooster gone without a trace


13 Years
May 20, 2009
Whidbey Island
I feel a little silly after all the really serious predator problems some of you have, but here goes ...

Our main predators seem to be birds of prey, particularly bald eagles (and, my Mom's Scottish terrier). We've been fairly lucky the two years we've been raising chickens and ducks and have only lost a hen to an eagle, a duck to a hawk and another chicken to Mom's Scottie. They free-range a part of most days and I've tried (especially for the ducks) to create a string maze for protection where they hang out the most frequently. The chickens have recently gotten lax and taken to individual wanderings (a bit of a dilemma for our rooster who has always made a desperate attempt to be 'lord of all he surveys').

Yesterday they were out for about five hours between noon and 5:00 and our rooster (Napoleon) is gone - no feathers, no sign of trauma, no terrorized hens hiding from whatever got him. They have, on a couple of occasions, disappeared into the brush or over the fence when a visiting dog escapes or when a family of eagles swoops in (always a bit unnerving to me). But I've scoured the property and the perimeter and there is no sign of foul play. So I guess my question is can an eagle grab a chicken cleanly enough to NOT leave the tell-tale feather pile (or allow for tortured squawks?)? Napoleon was really a mean little bugger and we used to kid about leaving him out for the owls at night, but we're still a little sad 'cuz he was such a tough little defender of his flock.

We co-own the flock with the neighbors and they are torn as well about how much to restrict their future roaming. It makes the hens soooo healthy and happy that a loss every 6-12 months seems potentially worth the risk (maybe not to those who get eaten though). They free-range only in our yard because we have much more secure fencing.

Anyway - just curious about the likelihood that a very efficient eagle snatched him. We've got coyotes here, but our collie has them fairly well intimidated. But definitely no bobcats or other large predators here on Whidbey Island.

AND very sorry for those of you who have to deal with the likes of bobcats, et al. - I would be sooooo stressed.
The same thing happened to my beloved Ricky Roo. They enjoy being out free so much that I had started letting my guard down. We came home Tuesday and went out to the coop to close them up for the night and Ricky was gone. We searched and searched but found nothing, not a trace of him. No feathers or signs of a struggle. I can only assume that it was a chicken hawl that got him. We are VERY distraught and depressed about our loss. We love our little flock as pets and this is our first loss. It's a horrible feeling. I only hope that he did not suffer. It sickens me to think about it though.
Sorry for your loss.

I watched a hawk come into the backyard and he came right down until he hit the fencing around the run... I guess he thought he was going to get a chicken.

We got a few of his feathers.

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