So upset! My Speckled Sussex was killed

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JDH, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. JDH

    JDH In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2007
    I came home from work today and could not find "Dot". She's a very friendly speckled sussex hen who is normally running to great the car. I have a flock of 8 of what is in my signature line. I found her up by my house, in our hedge torn apart:(. Whatever it was ate her head, leaving the skull and comb. Feathers were everywhere. I couldn't find bite marks on her legs. Her intenstines were in the shrubs in the mulch. What would kill a full grown hen literally in broad daylight within 2 feet of the house? I'm very upset and worried about the others. I checked all of them and they seem okay but I have a tiny birchen cochin bantam I'm terrified for. We dont have loose dogs around here either. At least in the 2 yrs since we built the house we've never seen one.

    Anyone have any ideas?
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Oh, no, I am so sorry for your loss! I have one SS pullet named Nelda that I would be extremely upset to lose that way. I don't know what did it, but I'm sure someone will have an idea here.
  3. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    What a terrible thing to come home to. So sorry [​IMG]
    don't know where you live and the types of predators that are in your area. Could be a dog, coyote... maybe a hawk?
  4. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    So sorry to hear about Dot. [​IMG]
  5. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I'm sorry you lost Dot [​IMG]
  6. JDH

    JDH In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2007
    It's so upsetting. I never knew I'd get so attached to the girls but they are part of the family. I got them as 1 day old chicks June 11th 2007 so they are about 7 months old. Dot was not a small chicken. In fact, she was 2nd biggest behind my australorp (Molly)
    I have never seen a raccoon in daylight here. I have seen hawks but she's as big as a hawk. We do have owls but they don't hunt during hte day that I am aware of.
    Would a bobcat do such a thing? There has been sightings of them but honestly it looks more like a potential bird of prey kill as when I was trying to figure out what got her, I did not see any teeth marks. [​IMG]
  7. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    I'm sorry about your hen... [​IMG]

    Does sound like a bird of prey to me - probably SOME type of ambush predator to get one in daylight like that that was free ranging.

    Hawks are very brazen and will attack chickens in the yard when someone is standing there, so I don't think being that close to the house would necessarily deter it.

    Racoons are mostly night time predators, as are possums.

    A bobcat would have probably carried the hen off somewhere to eat it peace. Same for a coyote. Dogs would probably have gotten more than one bird - they tend to kill and play with whatever they can chase, rather than kill and then settle down to eat.

    I'm voting hawk or other raptor. The pattern fits, as does the fact that feathers were everywhere. If it settled down there to consume the chicken, they do often pluck feathers before eating, and being a full grown hen it was probably too big for the hawk to fly away carrying her.

    Hope your other guys stay safe. Once a hawk has figured out where an easy meal is, it can be very persistent.
  8. Ang

    Ang Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Fox hunt in the daylight. Although in my experience they usually carry their prey away. But if it was quite they may have hunkered down for a meal right there. It is also strange that only one was caught. I feel for you. I lost over 30 chickens to fox this last summer.
  9. Chatychick

    Chatychick Songster

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    Sounds like a hawk or owl to me...I caught a owl in the chicken run a few mths ago and a guinnea was miss its head, and most of its back...the owl got in and couldnt get out of the net...They do hunt during the day as hawks do ...sorry you lost your girl...I know how I feel when I lose 1 of mine...
  10. JDH

    JDH In the Brooder

    Jun 19, 2007
    It's the biggest red tailed hawk I've seen in years. Must be a female.

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