Something got my Ethel, any ideas? No pics

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PeachygirlGA, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

    May 25, 2012
    Fort Valley, GA
    Friday I had somewhere to go so hubby shut the chickens for me. When I went to let them out Saturday morning I counted and one was missing, Ethel. Couldn't find her anywhere and finally yesterday I found a pile of feathers near the edge of our property. None of the chickens seemed freaked out or anything! The feathers had no blood on them and no blood trail. I walked around in the woods and surrounding areas and never found a trace of anything. We live out in the country and have seen different animals like coyotes and foxes, hawks, racoons, possums, etc. but in the 4 years of having chickens only one hawk attack and the chicken was not killed or hurt since we were in the yard when it happened. I have not seen any stray dogs and walked around the neighborhood yesterday and didn't notice any dogs out. I sure don't want this to happen again so any ideas would be much appreciated.
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Where you are, could be coyote, fox or bobcat. My friend in KY had her 12 lb rooster taken off her porch in the space of a few minutes by something that didn't even leave feather evidence! The only thing that could have taken a huge, vigilant rooster silently that way, IMO, was a bobcat. The rooster didn't even have time to alarm and none of her other roosters were even nervous.

    In your case, I'm doubting a dog, would be something more stealthy. Sorry about Ethel.
  3. PeachygirlGA

    PeachygirlGA Chirping

    May 25, 2012
    Fort Valley, GA
    Thanks for the reply. I'm thinking coyote or fox, not a dog. Especially since the other chickens didn't even seem aware.
  4. gawildlife

    gawildlife Chirping

    Nov 3, 2014
    Hampton, GA
    Sounds like a hawk to me. They tend to pluck their kills.
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    There would still be the hit resulting in a blast of feathers where a canine made the grab, not necessarily blood. If it was a hawk, it would eat on the head and you'd probably see some blood. Most hawks don't carry away a full size hen. My money is on either fox, coyote or bobcat still, but you'll probably never know what it really was unless it comes back for another snack.

    When a coyote grabbed one of my friend's Cochin hens, all she saw was the pile of feathers in the yard and searched the field across the street where she found part of the torso. There was no blood, only feathers where the coyote grabbed the hen. That coyote didn't live long when she came back for another meal due to my friend's steady aim and her brave rooster drawing it away from the coop and into an open area. It was pretty amazing. But the point is, only feathers, no blood where she was grabbed.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  6. When something was grabbing all the free ranging hens in my neighborhood, all we saw were a few handfulls of feathers here and there. The killing stopped after 3 foxes were shot by neighborhood teens.
  7. They do pluck their kills and with as much time transpiring between the time that she went missing and when you found the feathers the hawk or hawks could have returned to feed multiple times.

    Also another predator could have come along and cleaned up the scraps.

    What kind of hen was Ethel?
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Karen, checking in with you. Have you seen any other signs of what could have taken Ethel? I still say not a hawk in this case, but you'll probably never be 100% certain. Hope you have no more losses anytime soon.
  9. CliffB

    CliffB Songster

    Oct 5, 2014
    Would this be a bad time to quote Ray Stevens?
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    It's never a bad time to quote Ray Stevens!

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