The mystery of the vanishing (and reappearing) chicken

Tuppemor

Songster
10 Years
Jun 4, 2009
138
1
109
Norway
I bought four brahma pullets and a cockerel last week, around four months old. I recently had a hawk attack, so I have been keeping them closed up in their pen rather than free ranging.

Unfortunately, the pen is not yet hawk-proof as I haven't got money for any net yet. They have a tiny pen just outside their little coop. The big pen is outside that, and there are two little sections that are closed off for future breeding pens, but the doors are now open on the inside.

I decided to let them out into the pen, because the alternative is really not good enough. And at least this way, they would all be right next to the coop to run for cover.

Two days ago, mid-day, I heard squawking and went outside to scare the hawk away. No hawk to be seen, but then the pen is behind the garage.. Not a feather out of place, everyone seemed happy enough - but one of the new pullets were missing! Just gone. I found it odd that a hawk would just swoop up such a big chicken without scaring the others, but she was gone. Checked the entire run, no sign of her. The first hawk kill was a faverolles pullet, much smaller than this one - and there was just a big feather pile left.

Today I go to let them out for a bit, if the hawk can get them in the pen, there's no point in keeping them in there.. A few hours later, around 6PM I go out to share some leftover dinner. Haven't heard a sound, when I round the corner a hawk flies up and disappears. And left on the ground is a half-eaten chicken with a green foot band. Oh no, it took ANOTHER one of my new pullets?! I check the coop to find everyone huddling - including all the new pullets but one. I can't understand a thing, if one was taken two days ago, and one is out there now, dead - how can there still be just one missing?
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I check around and find some feathers and a leg outside one of the breeding pens. Inside is another feather pile, obviously the starting point. In the corner, the ground is scruffled, I'm guessing kill site.


What on earth happened? The bird was fairly freshly dead, no rigor mortis and no really clotted blood, she can't have been dead for two days. I can't wrap my head around this, she was GONE two days ago, but now back in the pen killed by hawk.
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Needless to say, my chickens are now back in the tiny pen, and as soon as money hits my account I am getting netting and seriously restricting their freedom.
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LoreenH

Songster
10 Years
Jul 10, 2009
413
15
121
Oregon
Sorry for your loss. If you have any old CDs, try hanging them so they move with the breeze/wind. They do help in deterring birds of prey.
 

Tuppemor

Songster
10 Years
Jun 4, 2009
138
1
109
Norway
Crazy indeed!
By the way, there is a huge tarp right next to the pen and we have had serious wind the last few days. I honestly can't see how CD's will be more of a deterrant than that, but I'll hang them anyway. Have some broken DVDs to spare.
 

deanna&rich

Songster
10 Years
Jun 2, 2009
106
4
109
chimacum, WA
maybe your girl was able to escape the hawk the first time (especially if it was a juvenile hawk) ... and she was so shocked that she hid for a couple days. Maybe she even found her way back into the pen. But the hawk remembers where he found a meal, and came back.
?????????????????????
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Tuppemor

Songster
10 Years
Jun 4, 2009
138
1
109
Norway
deanna&rich :

maybe your girl was able to escape the hawk the first time (especially if it was a juvenile hawk) ... and she was so shocked that she hid for a couple days. Maybe she even found her way back into the pen. But the hawk remembers where he found a meal, and came back.
?????????????????????
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That's what I don't understand. She could not have gotten out of the pen three days ago. It is chicken-secure.
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