Solving the Morning Murder

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jessica1228, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. Jessica1228

    Jessica1228 Out Of The Brooder

    40
    0
    32
    Jul 1, 2009
    Michigan
    I’m looking for a little help solving this morning’s “Thanksgiving Day Murder”.

    The DH went to open up the coop this morning and found Gizmo (a 6 month old Silkie) dead on the ground in the middle of the doorway. The mystery is that only his face is missing. He has no puncture wounds or is missing any feathers. There are 3 feathers on the ground by his body, but seeing how his face was ripped off… it’s to be expected. I can’t find any evidence of an intruder or brake in. What would take is beak, eyes, and frontal skull, but leave the rest of him???

    The coop: We moved our flock into our barn this summer so that they would be more secure and have heat this winter. The “coop” is a sealed stall. The only open part is some industrial grade steal caging that serves as a window on the face of the stall. It is still welded shut and seeing as our drafts can’t get through it, I doubt any common predator could. It is sealed at the rafters and has a 5 in cement rat wall to prevent digging. No one goes in or out if the door is closed!

    The flock: We do have our primary rooster, but he is very passive and has not ever fought with Gizmo. Giz was getting a little feisty with the ladies, but was small enough that he didn't really pose a threat. We also have a few 4 month old “suspected roosters” besides our hens. I’m wondering if a fight would have caused this. Would a rooster rip off the other’s face and eat it in a cock fight? Has anyone ever had something similar?
     
  2. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,497
    16
    246
    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Raccoon, maybe? Or weasel - they can fit thru steel caging - or, rats
    Sorry, but I have seen it
     
  3. Jessica1228

    Jessica1228 Out Of The Brooder

    40
    0
    32
    Jul 1, 2009
    Michigan
    I thought raccoon too. The grating is more like a thick hardware cloth though. It’s ¾ in thick and the holes are small enough that I can’t stick a finger through it. It starts about 4 ft up from the ground and goes up a few feet. I could see how if Giz stuck his beak in the hole it could have maybe been grabbed but his skull couldn’t have fit through without some evidence being left around the hole. The odd part is that he was on the opposite side of the stall from the grating. Would the others have moved him?
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,920
    5,650
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    so sorry for your loss
     
  5. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,497
    16
    246
    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    OK, my silkie roosts on the ground at night - is it possible that the bird was pecked AFTER some trauma affected it? Maybe the other birds pecked its' face AFTER some kind of action in the coop? That's why it was on the ground by the doorway?
    So sorry for your loss
     
  6. Jessica1228

    Jessica1228 Out Of The Brooder

    40
    0
    32
    Jul 1, 2009
    Michigan
    That was my other thought and what I might leave it at. He was roosting quite high for a little guy and the body was still warm around 10. I'm thinking that they piled by the door (since I spept in) and maybe pecked him or he fell and they pecked him. I'm at a loss. Right now I have one more silkie and a small polish in with the "bigs" and I'm not sure if I should pull them out. I might pop a dog crate in there for the night, just in case. Thanks for the help guys.
     
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

    69,920
    5,650
    671
    Oct 3, 2009
    Western N.C.
    I read on here that it's not good to have silkies in with other chickens because of the soft spot on their heads, If that gets pecked it can cause brain damage. I think thats right but they look different too that could be why they get picked on, probably would be a good idea to seperate them for their safety
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by