1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Something big, something that flies

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by crj, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,596
    14
    173
    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    I went out early this morning to feed. Around 6:30 I got up and decided to feed a little earlier this morning since it was a cold night. I open the duck/geese pen and noticed they didn't come running out but lingered. Then I looked up and noticed a guinea in a different tree. None of the guineas were in the tree they usually sleep in. So I continued wearily and opened the other coops. Granted it was still dark and the chickens wouldn't come out yet. I fed the horses and went to check on the ducks and geese. They were still trying to decide what to do. Very odd behavior so I knew something was up. I knew something was wrong as soon as I saw a guinea in a different tree. Also the turkeys hadn't come down which was unusual too. They were standing on there roosting spot with there feathers ruffled.

    Then I saw it. A wing of a guinea. I noticed a branch was broke in the tree they roost in. The guineas were scattered in different trees. I now have 4 left. What will fly at night and grab a guinea from a tree? An owl? This tree has a lot of branches so it's not easy to get into it. It's not an open branched tree, if that makes sense. The wing was fresh and just after the joint was a bone and it was snapped in half. What ever got the bird was strong enough to snap that bone and carry off the guinea. Any ideas? Bad enough I've got a small hawk and a fox now this. I don't believe a opossum or raccoon climbed the tree because there isn't a trail of feathers.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,186
    2,149
    421
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I don't think an owl could carry off a guinea. The only thing I can think of would maybe be a bobcat climbed up and got it? I really have no idea, just throwing one more possibility out there.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,451
    2,081
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Great horned owls, racoons, bobcats and even gray foxes will get into trees during early morning hours and cause guinees to scatter. The owl can not fly any distance lugging an adult guinee but will take advantage of the guinee flying to another lower location before grappling with its victim. Bobcats and grey foxes are most likely to dismemember body while breaking bones. The other two predators seem to eat soft parts first and leaving balance lay for potential future visits.

    If great horned owl, attempt to line out direction of its nest (female should be brooding eggs now). Male will attempt to take carcass in direction of his nest. Sometimes they will drag carcass across a feild, sometimes a couple hundred feet, so expand your search radius. Feather piles may also be found.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  4. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,596
    14
    173
    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    Thanks for your replies bobbi-j and centrarchid. I did find the carcase in the compost bin. I tried to find foot prints but the grown was frozen last night. I did see scratch marks but I couldn't tell if it was from the bird or not. The head and chest were eaten, I'm guessing eaten because they were gone. The rest of the body was in tacked except for the wing which I'm sure was lost in the struggle.

    I'm bummed about this. I think it was my only female. I hate when these things happen. No way I can pen these birds either. I hope I do find the predator and soon.
     
  5. beaglady

    beaglady Chillin' With My Peeps

    567
    17
    113
    Jan 19, 2012
    Pennsylvania
    When we've had owl predation, they do tend to eat the breast and head first. It was probably an owl.

    Diane W
     
  6. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    529
    50
    161
    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    Around here, in New England, we have fisher cats, which are very large, very vicious animals in the weasel family. They hunt mostly at night. They rip bird houses apart, claw into coops, and dine on pet cats. They also kill as much as they can and then cache what they can't eat. If you want to know more about them, I've got a post here with a photo:http://www.hencam.com/henblog/2009/07/unwelcome-visitor/
    That said, my first guess at what's at your place is an owl.
     
  7. OwlLover

    OwlLover Alaskan Wanderer

    29,230
    15
    346
    Aug 25, 2011
    Great Horned Owls could.
     
  8. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,998
    179
    213
    Nov 30, 2011
    Tooele, Utah
    Yeah, I agree with a lot of what has been said here; my best guess is that this sounds like a Great Horned Owl, or possibly a large cat. I wouldn't rule out raccoons at this point, either, but I'm leaning more toward a feline or avian predator. Something like a bobcat could certainly get up in a tree and snap bones, no problem. GHO's have been known to take down things like other birds of prey, such as Red-tails. Hope you can figure it out! [​IMG]
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,179
    7,437
    726
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Everything that you have posted points to the probability of a GHO. As Centrarchid mentioned, they are nesting now so the male is hunting to feed his mate. He will very likely return tonight. Hopefully the guineas will seek shelter in a coop that can be closed up. GHO will actually enter barns or coops in search of prey.
     
  10. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,596
    14
    173
    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    Well, the guineas are scared. One went into the chicken pen with and is sitting next to the turkey hen. The other 3 are sitting with the tom turkey. I'm not exactly sure where the other turkey hen is but probably in her same spot. They do miss there sister.

    I put my game cam facing the bird area. Maybe I will be able to catch it on camera. It's a bit far away since I didn't really have a place to put the camera. I'm trying to keep tabs on a fox. It was eating my goose eggs. Now that I have a door on that spare coop it's not getting the eggs. I haven't seen the fox around lately either, almost 2 weeks. The hawk hasn't been around either. So now I have to figure out this next predator. I've had birds for 4 yrs or more and never had a problem until this year. Guess I was just lucky. Could also be my beloved husband telling me I have too many birds...... LOL. Nahhh, he wouldn't be mean like that to the birds..... hahaha.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by