The age old question: who did it?

Tobymartin601

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
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26
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Here are the facts: One chicken, a year and a half years old, named kitty, found beheaded inside the hens' fenced off portion of the yard. Some feathers strewn about, neck feathers on the body were wet.
My mom heard sqwuaking earlier in the day, but didn't check on it.
Suspects: The family puppy, who has a history of chicken killing since we got him last april. But he has never killed inside the fenced area, because he can't get in the gate(and close it again how I found it), and the other chickens are unharmed. The kill looks like his usual style however.

Greg, the opossum that I nicknamed after sighting him four nights ago in my backyard at night. I've only just attributed the broken shells in my coop to him. He's my primary hunch, but I've never had an opossum kill an adult chicken before, and the placement of the body is away from the shed where I saw him escape (I've been baiting a trap every night to get him, so far I've caught a young raccoon and my cat) Also my mom's testimony that there was a commotion in daylight hours makes me think the killing took place during the day, which would be a weird time for an opossum to kill. But that sqwuaking could be unrelated.

Other possibilities could be a raccoon, even a hawk. Do hawks normally just take the head? I've noticed them recently in my neighborhood. I live in a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but as mentioned wildlife isn't uncommon.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate any thoughts or questions.
 
Jul 18, 2018
491
1,603
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Nebraska
Sorry about your chicken :(. I'd guess a raccoon. They usually kill at night, but it is possible he was out in the day, especially if he decided a chicken was an easy meal. Dogs normally kill by snapping the neck shaking the bird. Your puppy may be different, but I find it unlikely he got into the yard and out without someone noticing. As far as Greg goes, it doesn't really fit an opossum's MO. If they work up the guts to try and take down a full size chicken, and actually succeed in killing them, the remains tend to be a lot more... messy. As in the bird may be eviscerated, it may have detached body parts strewn around, etc. If it was a hawk, you'd either find a still living hen with a bloodied up back or no hen at all. Hawks take all or nothing. So that narrows us down to a raccoon, which I have had decapitate a chicken and leave the headless body. Raccoons can be real pills like that, killing something and only eating one part of it. I don't know about you, but while I absolutely hate losing a bird and will do everything I can to prevent it, I'm of the opinion that if something is going to kill it, they better well eat it and not waste it.
 
Sep 30, 2021
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Utah
I vote raccoon too. They can climb and I've had them attack during the day. Which means they are very comfortable and you have a bigger problem than just one raccoon. And since he was successful he'll be back. You could set a live trap but then you have to be prepared to dispatch the critter.
 

eas2

Songster
11 Years
Aug 25, 2010
27
44
114
Richmond CA
Long ago, a weasel killed our rooster & ate only the head…got in during the day by chewing through wire cloth. Tiny hole!
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
30,010
31,924
971
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
So sorry for your loss. If it was inside your pen and your pen is not covered then I would suspect an owl since none of your other birds were hurt or killed. If you have a camera put it up because whatever it was will be back and then you will know for sure what you're dealing with. Good luck...
 

Geena

Free Ranging
7 Years
Aug 17, 2014
973
5,957
521
Maryland
What kind of fencing is used for the run? I'm thinking, since the chicken was beheaded, that perhaps it stuck it's head through the fence and puppy seized the opportunity.
 

feather13

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 4, 2012
767
1,344
351
southern california
I would guess opossum. We've had them get into the coop before we doubled down on security. They tend to kill a single hen by biting its head off and leaving the rest of the bird. We've also had dogs kill our chickens and they generally just kill the bird and leave it.

When a raccoon kills, at least in our experience, it kills as many as it can in one go and leaves a huge mess... chicken feathers and parts everywhere. I mean, everywhere. We don't trap or kill wildlife, so have found the best deterrent to be as much coop-proofing as possible.
 

Tobymartin601

In the Brooder
Sep 11, 2021
11
26
21
What kind of fencing is used for the run? I'm thinking, since the chicken was beheaded, that perhaps it stuck it's head through the fence and puppy seized the opportunity.
It's less of a run and more of a makeshift pasture-and after I posted this I went out the in the morning, and found a large part of the fence fallen down in the corner. So you're probably right, the puppy got in and made away with the hen. Sad to say
 

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