Sounds like a skunk?

PotterWatch

My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
5,470
33
288
Virginia
We lost 10 birds (cornish cross, about 4-5 weeks old), out of one of our tractors last night and several others have injuries. We have had skunks roaming pretty frequently lately. Our neighbor has trapped/shot three in the last week. The birds had holes near their rears with their insides pulled out and eaten. Does this sound like a skunk to you? We don't really have any other weasel-type predators around here that I can think of.
 

featherz

Veggie Chick
Mar 22, 2010
5,376
494
346
Saratoga County, NY
The skunks around my property never seem to bother the chickens, but they are the easiest things to trap. Every time I try to catch the things I NEED to catch (foxes, raccoons, etc) I catch a skunk. :p Probably isn't much help to you, but just in case I'd make sure no other predators are also lurking around.. Maybe a game cam?
 
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littleoak

Chirping
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
161
1
89
Ashmore IL 61912
The major pest that kills and eats like that is a possum. I think you will find a young one is doing that damage. It is possible that a skunk is doing this but not very likely. My experience with skunks has been most of the chicken eaten and a lingering smell in the area.
 

PotterWatch

My Patronus is a Chicken
11 Years
Apr 22, 2008
5,470
33
288
Virginia
I didn't even think of possums. It certainly could be that. We patched up the hole in the tractor that had been attacked (didn't help that one of the feeder doors wasn't latched properly and was found open), and are putting locking hooks on all feeder doors that don't have them already. We'll keep the trap out at night as well though we didn't get anything last night.
 

songbird

Chirping
10 Years
Feb 16, 2009
98
7
94
New England
That's so heartbreaking!
When we had a opossum, it ate the head off our bantam, and stashed her body under the hen house. Opossums like crunchy things.

Somewhere I read that fox often bite a hole in the bum, but in our experience with fox, we lose the whole body...
 

littleoak

Chirping
9 Years
Sep 26, 2010
161
1
89
Ashmore IL 61912
I'm questioning the last post about a possum eating the head and stashing the body. The only predator I ever had do that was a weasel. I was wondering if you caught the possum doing that or just found it in the area.
 

songbird

Chirping
10 Years
Feb 16, 2009
98
7
94
New England
I didn't see the opossum during the attack, so I cannot say 100% that that's what it was. But based on the opossum spending a week in the hen house eating the eggs, then the broody hen disappearing within about an hour since we'd been in there, and my husband finding the opossum back in that nest box looking for eggs while the blood was still fresh on the wall, my guess is that it was that opossum. I also know from my time as a wildlife vet that opossums like crunchy things like heads. Another thing that will eat only the head is a Great Horned Owl if it isn't terribly hungry, but obviously that is not what got into my hen house!
I don't doubt for a minute that a weasel would act in that way too...eat the head and stash the body. I've never seen weasels here, but I'm sure we have them. We certainly have fishers.
 

AlbionWood

Songster
9 Years
May 24, 2010
331
5
111
Albion, California
It doesn't really sound like skunk to me. When we have had skunk depredation, they eat most of a bird before going after another, and they eat mostly the meat first, not the innards. And if they take a second bird, they try to drag it off to their den. (This usually causes them to hit the hot wire that they missed on the way in, so the dead bird is often found right inside the fence.)

I'd suspect opossum as well.
 

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