Something killed one of my hens this morning

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Talon830, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Talon830

    Talon830 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 18, 2013
    My wife and I are new to raising chickens. We have had them for 6 months now. Sometime this morning we lost our first hen. When I came home for lunch today I found a hen dead in our fenced in area. Something killed her between 8 and noon. She was decapitated and her side was ripped open. There wasn't a lot of blood, which is really confusing to us. What ever it was didn't go into the coop and cause any trouble in there, thank goodness. The predators that I have come up with that are most likely to have done this are a great horned owl or a weasel. Since this happened during the morning I am leaning more towards a weasel. We live in southern MI, not really sure if there are any weasels in our area or not. If anyone has any guesses as to what could have killed her please let me know. Thanks.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] Sorry for the circumstances. If feathers were scattered around the carcass, it was very likely a bird of prey - GHO or hawk.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    There are several types of weasel in Michigan, although they tend to be nighttime predators (like hawks). Do you have netting over your run? Do you use hardware cloth around your run?

    Hope you stop by the Michigan thread and say Hi - look in the Where am I - Where are You section of the Forum.
     
  4. Talon830

    Talon830 Out Of The Brooder

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    There is some feathers scattered around, but it has also been really windy the past couple of days. We do have a lot of hawks in the area. I was thinking if it was a hawk it would have taken the carcass with it. Looks like I am going to be putting some type of cover over the run. We have a lot of pine trees overhanging the run so I am not wanting to go with the poultry netting. I was thinking of stringing up some thin wire across the top every few inches.
     
  5. Talon830

    Talon830 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have hardware cloth buried one foot below our fence and it extends out a foot underground also. What ever killed out hen didn't dig it's way in the ground wasn't disturbed at all. It either came from above or squeezed through the fence. But what ever killed her did it during day light hours.
     
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    If a hawk, the chicken may have been too heavy to be carried away. Netting is not a huge expense, and can be hung around or under trees. Predators have been known to figure out how to get through strands of wire, but it may be worth a try - many birds of prey are migrating this time of year, and may just move on if they can't get an easy meal.

    As well as underground, it is a good idea for the bottom several feet of your run to be made up of (or covered with) hardware cloth. Some varmints can reach through chicken wire, grab hold of birds, and drag them to the fence, killing them through the wire - raccoons are good at that.
     
  7. Bodee

    Bodee Out Of The Brooder

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    Eather a minx or a raccoon do you have a pen for them ?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Just remember that netting, depending on the size of the opening in the mesh, can hold snow...until it doesn't and comes crashing down.

    I used 2x4 welded wire to cover my run, hasn't been thru a winter yet but I'm hoping it lets most of the snow thru or at least easier to bump it off of.
     
  9. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

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    So sorry for your loss! Sounds like a hawk! I have hawks where I live too. I've put wire over the top of the run so far so good.ive seen hawks circling in the sky where I live. I don't let my girls out to free range unless I'm watching. Where I live its just too big of a risk. Hawks have excellent vision and can see their prey way before the prey sees them. Again I'm very sorry for your loss.
     
  10. Talon830

    Talon830 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 18, 2013
    I am going to be putting some type of cover over the run. We have several pine trees and deciduous trees that overhang the run, now that most of the leaves are gone I think that is why the hawk was able to dive into the run. The run is 20x30 so I need to make sure what ever I cover it with will have enough support for that large of a span. I have been leaning towards putting a 10' 4x4 in the center of the run and running thin wire (electric fence wire) from the top of the pole to the fence all the way around. I did move my plastic GHO to a new location close to the area where I found my hen this morning, hopefully the keeps the hawk away till this weekend.
     

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