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Unknown predator

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jwratch, Nov 12, 2008.

  1. jwratch

    jwratch Hatching

    Oct 9, 2008
    Fults, IL
    Wondering if anyone can help me solve the mystery of 2 recent attacks from some type of predator. Last week, a 3 year old New Hampshire Red hen was found dead in our horse pasture, a short distance from the chicken coop, with her head gone, lots of feathers plucked and lying about, and about half her body eaten. Her legs and body were intact otherwise. We blamed the family dog. This attack happened in the middle of the day.

    Yesterday, a small Silkie went missing. After searching long and hard this morning, we found her remains in a grove of pine trees to the side of the horse pasture. This time, all feathers were strewn about, and the only signs of anything left were the entails in a neat pile. Unfortunately, my daughter looked up to find the chicken's carcass hanging from one of the lower pine tree branches, stripped clean except for bones and feet. We do live in a very rural area and, of course, have plenty of predators around. I've lost a few hens to dogs, some eggs to snakes, etc..., but have never seen what I saw today. My first thought was that this had to be a hawk or owl, but that wouldn't explain the kill last week....Has anyone had a similar experience or any thoughts on what we might be dealing with?

    (Sorry to be so graphic in detail, but I'm hoping for some help...) Thanks!

  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Sounds like the work of a coon to me.
    They will hunt in the daytime.
  3. From some of what you say...it reminds me of the time I was being "hit" by a oppossum.
    The oppossum would eat the head off the chicken and up into the breast meat.
    I hope you catch the culprit!
  4. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    Could be a coon. We had some trouble with coons this summer. But the coon hit us at night and got 3 young pullets, only thing left were the feet and some feathers. We found the feet at the bottom of a tree and the feathers at the edge of the cage.

    Hope you get whatever it is because the coon came back on 2 occasions here!

  5. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Hmmm, could it be an owl? Or a bird of prey!? Sounds like a hawk to me. Set traps...for the " crawling predators" See whatcha get! Oh, and I am so sorry for your loss.
  6. PitterPaws

    PitterPaws Songster

    Nov 29, 2007
    Sounds like two different predators the one up the tree could be a hawk or other bird of prey. the one on the ground could be a raccoon, fox, or ?
    Sorry for your loss,
  7. If it is a day time attack and they way you describe the remains I would say Hawk. They usually kill with thier talens and then take the head off. The signature is plucking the feathers and the taken the carcuss to the tree is pretty much a give away. Hawks will attack and will dismantle the bird so they can take off with them especailly if they have young ones to feed. i would go get a OWL statue pronto and a few guinea fowl asap. You can wait or look to the skies for the birds. I use a 20 guage shot gun with light game loads. I have NEVER hit a hawk and do not intend too. The scare of the shotgun is usually enough for them to leave for several days. I also have 5 or so REALLY big roos and 10 guinea fowl. They guinea fowl alert whenever there is a hawk about. I have not had a problem and have seen several hawks above my flock. They just move on.

  8. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    When a hawk gets a hold of it's prey it usually plucks it to where the feathers are in a circle or a pile around the kill.But it could be anything. Friend thought a coon was crawling under the fence and getting his birds but it ended up being a barn owl at night/ early morning.
  9. jwratch

    jwratch Hatching

    Oct 9, 2008
    Fults, IL
    I think you might be right. The two attacks were completely different, but both during the day. Perhaps the first time, it could have been a hawk that was scared away before it could get too far. The Silkie, though, was like a surgical room. The feathers were individually plucked all over the place, and the body picked clean, except for the intestines.

  10. Attack Chicken

    Attack Chicken [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Hu

    Sep 25, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Maybe an owl? I lost a mallard to an owl once and it plucked the feathers and ate everything except the bones,feet, and wings. Never did find the head.

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