Still has head but neck is missing

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jcm309, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. jcm309

    jcm309 Hatching

    Dec 11, 2015
    I lost my best guard yesterday - a huge rooster that always sounded the alarm before anyone else knew there was danger. I found him with head still intact but all of his neck muscle was gone. Whatever took him also broke into his crop but didn't take it. Spine was still intact too. He put up a bit of a fight - feathers scattered about tell me that but not as many feathers as I would have expected for his size. Any ideas?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Raccoon is my first though. Weasel or mink are also possibilities but in my experience they don't eat anything, just kill.
    A raccoon may not kill everything in the building but members of the weasel family usually do.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
  3. BlklogVlygirls

    BlklogVlygirls In the Brooder

    Jan 27, 2017
    Black Log Valley, PA
    I had two of my birds killed at night the end of last summer. I caught a skunk first and then after the second killing I caught a coon. Both chickens had the same wounds you describe. I thought this was very strange that it could have been a skunk because I have a 6 foot fence around the coop area. Then January 30th I lost another chicken. I heard a ruckus out front, the girls free range when I am home, a cat killed a third chicken down in my window well late afternoon. Believe it or not the exact same wounds. Head intact, neck meat eaten away down to where it meets the body, no real wounds on body, feathers all over the place. The only way I knew it was the cat is because I ran out the door and saw the cat following the last 3 chickens. Obviously I was way to late and I hate myself for it. At any rate I put the live trap out again and caught a cat, not the cat, but a cat that night. Determined to catch the cat I set the trap again the next night, and so it goes. We caught 7 cats in 20 days. Yes I caught the cat, but I am not going to stop until I get a real dry spell. I am galled at the fact there are so many 'outside/feral' cats. In the last 3 days I have had a Cooper or Sharp Shinned Hawk, not a Red Tailed, attack two of my remaining hens a huge BR and an EE. Fortunately I caught it in the act and ran out before there was much more than mental trauma and a bunch of feathers. My BO and BCM were the first two killed, large birds and the 1st EE that was killed by the cat wasn't real small. Kinda tired of this. Good luck.
  4. Allisha

    Allisha Chirping

    Mar 2, 2013
    Do you have any idea if the attack happened at night or during the day?
    It doesn't sound like a weasel or a mink to me.
    Possibly a raccoon or even a cat, but I know there are different instances, but in most cases I hear about hens being killed by cats, not roosters.
  5. jcm309

    jcm309 Hatching

    Dec 11, 2015
    Allisha - I am pretty sure this was a daylight attack. They free-range during the day but are secured in the coop at night. This morning, I realized I didn't see him yesterday afternoon and then I found him when I went looking this morning.

    I have LGDs with them but I guess the dogs were at the other end of the farm when this happened. So frustrating.

    But thank you for your responses.
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    The mink that killed 6 of 15 chickens in one of my coops last week at the backs of their heads, and then dragged one hen to where it had dug under the coop to get in. (That will be remedied as soon as weather permits...). When I found it a few days later, the head and neck had been completely eaten. I suppose the mink was just feeding on it when it got hungry. (The mink has been trapped and is no longer a threat to my flock, or anything else for that matter)
  7. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Songster

    Nov 25, 2010
    From your description, sounds like an aerial attack (hawk). So sorry for your loss.
  8. Eps32

    Eps32 Songster

    Dec 22, 2015
    North Carolina
    I agree I've had hawks eat out the neck of my chickens before same as you describe in OP

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