Sniff.. Exploded chicken.. What do I have here?

featherz

Veggie Chick
11 Years
Mar 22, 2010
5,378
500
366
Saratoga County, NY
I have six free range chickens that run with my guineas. I knew it was just a matter of time, but they were not let out until the sun came up and I locked them up each night. One chicken was missing at morning roll call and I figured she might have gotten lost in our woods - wishful thinking I know. Came home to my beautiful little (12 weeks old) GLW literally exploded next to the coop. Her corpse was in the middle of a giant explosion of feathers and although I did not look closely, I think her insides were eaten out. Of course, it's possible the guineas and the other chickens ate her after she was killed but I doubt they caused a perfectly round feather explosion. We do have two cats, but they have never bothered the chickens and didn't even seem interested in the corpse. Plus they are smaller and lazier than the poor chicken that was killed.

Any idea what would attack a chicken in broad daylight and 'explode' her? Everyone else got away and now I have them locked in the coop until we run an electric fence this weekend. Cooping up all those guineas is not an option, but I'd like to do the best I can for my four remaining chickens. I have never seen a dog on our property (The coop is about 5 acres from the next person over) but I've seen foxes and I know there's a skunk somewhere fairly near..
 

featherz

Veggie Chick
11 Years
Mar 22, 2010
5,378
500
366
Saratoga County, NY
I looked all around the area and there are two holes in the ground about 15 feet from the poor exploded chicken. the holes have openings maybe 4 inches across. fox? weasel? there is still one chicken missing (presumed dead), but no evidence. I buried my poor wyandotte.
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I still have one australorp left, hopefully it's the one that's currently my avatar. (they both looked alike).

I do have a trap, any tips for what I should bait it with if it's a fox? (already buried the chicken, so not that!).

I'm keeping all birds in the coop tomorrow. Put a flock block in there to hopefully keep the guineas from picking on the chickens.

We were thinking of adding an electric fence but that won't help against hawks.
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And 'fort knox' won't work for 17 guineas.
 
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aprophet

Songster
10 Years
Jan 12, 2010
3,798
43
239
chesapeake Va.
Quote:
depends on what kind of fox it is reds are fond of mice , their own urine and gland smells somewhat fond of beaver castor, muskrat meat and birds/poultry somewhat fond of rotten eggs and stinky cheese . grey fox mostly like fruit and fish and sweet things molasses , honey , beaver castor , muskrat musk. greys are easy to get into a cage traps reds are not, the trap needs to be fairly large to get a grey to go into it.
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
123,010
369,984
2,027
New Jersey
Feathers scattered around a carcass is very typical of a hawk kill. A fox or coyote will cause a burst of feathers when they grab a bird, but the generally take the carcass away with them. Set the trap (the dead chicken would have been great bait) and keep your birds penned up for a while. Free range only when you are present. Whatever it is, it will return.
 

MMPoultryFarms

Songster
9 Years
Jun 21, 2010
1,404
13
141
Okarche Oklahoma
Its called an Impact kill and it was done by a bird of prey is my guess. A hawk looks for prey at a low altitude then when he finds his mark he climbs very high. then kind of dive bombs his target using the high altitude to pick up speed balancing out at the last second and grabbing with his claws. there is an acception to this rule as some hawks actually fly low for the kill like SSH not needing the altitude a larger breed does.
Also that doesnt mean every attack will be an impact attack sometimes they just jump off a perch and grab there prey.
 

featherz

Veggie Chick
11 Years
Mar 22, 2010
5,378
500
366
Saratoga County, NY
Well, it's probably a mistake due to pecking order issues, etc, but not sure if chickens and guineas have the same mindset.
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I separated out my four remaining chickens into my empty brooder coop and I'll keep everyone cooped today and probably tomorrow also until we figure out a solution. I'd rather have the chickens in the 'good' coop, but it's crowded as it is and I think 17 bored guineas + four chickens may be a disaster when kept cooped up all day. Might have problems with re-integration, but hopefully a day or so won't be a problem until we know what to do. Not much we can do about hawks except cover the run, which is no problem except for the guineas being kinda silly and flying into the roof whenever we tried this. Sigh.
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