Trying to identify a predator that pulled the feathers off my bird…help!

erika1234us

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 29, 2014
10
2
59
San Diego, CA
I have five 9 mo old chickens that like to sleep on top of the coop instead of inside it. Last night I heard wings flapping at 2am so I went out to investigate. 4 of the chickens were still on the roof half asleep but one was on the ground by the run door and had a patch of feathers about the size of a silver dollar missing from the top of her neck. No puncture wounds or blood. I was surprised that something was able to roust her and lure her off her perch without disturbing the other girls. The location I found her does have a gap about 1 1/4 inches where there is no hardware cloth.

Does this sound like something a rat could do? Or do you think some other predator reached in and grabbed a handful of feathers?
 

chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
285
316
Strasburg Ohio
A raccoon will reach in a literally pull your chicken apart, trying to get it out of a small hole.....So something probably grabbed a paw full of feathers.......
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,047
4,195
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
I have five 9 mo old chickens that like to sleep on top of the coop instead of inside it. Last night I heard wings flapping at 2am so I went out to investigate. 4 of the chickens were still on the roof half asleep but one was on the ground by the run door and had a patch of feathers about the size of a silver dollar missing from the top of her neck. No puncture wounds or blood. I was surprised that something was able to roust her and lure her off her perch without disturbing the other girls. The location I found her does have a gap about 1 1/4 inches where there is no hardware cloth.

Does this sound like something a rat could do? Or do you think some other predator reached in and grabbed a handful of feathers?
If not for the fact that it happened inside of a coop, I would say that you have a great horned owl eyeing your birds. You do have a top on the run don't you? If you don't have a predator proof top a GHO will return as sure as God makes little green apples. Raptors like hawks and GHO like to peel the rind (feathers) off their victims before feeding begins. That is where the bald spot came from. GHOs also commonly begin feeding before the meal is dead, starting with the head, neck, crop, and breast in that order. A three pound GHO has a grip in each foot that will startle you. If you doubt it let one grab an arm or finger and see if it doesn't turn blue. They also don't need talons to make a kill, they crush small prey and commonly strangle larger victims, lacking that the large veins and arteries in the preys' neck are severed during feeding.
 

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