Urgent! Hen Killed Overnight in Roosting Tree

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GlockGal27

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
9
0
7
Hello All,
I am new to this forum (sorry I am posting this twice) and somewhat new to raising a backyard flock. We have a small flock of about 10 chickens (all mixed) that are free ranged on our small farm. The entire flock roosts in a tree in our horse paddock. Until last night, we have never had any issues with losing a bird.
This morning, I noticed one of my favorite hens, Wilimina, was dead underneath their roosting tree. Her neck was completely eaten away, from the base of her skull to her breastbone. No other part of her was gone. It appears whatever killed her got her in the tree and killed her beneath.
What could have gotten her? We live down in a wooded area, so my first thought is an owl. But, dont they usually take their prey off?

Please excuse my ignorance, I only want to provide what is best and safest for my birds. I feel horrible about this.
Any suggestions, remedies, etc. would be deeply appreciated.
Christine
Dallas, NC
 

Glenbogel06

In the Brooder
12 Years
Jan 16, 2008
79
0
39
Berkeley Springs, WV
Probably a raccoon got her. If you leave your chickens out at night roosting in a tree you will absolutely lose a number of them to all kinds of predators. We free range our chickens during the daytime when we are around but they are locked up right and tight in their covered run & coop at night time. It's your choice if you want to leave them out at night, but you will lose them to predators, and especially now that something (probably a coon) has discovered where dinner is.
 

Ibicella

Songster
10 Years
Nov 13, 2009
578
40
176
Everett, WA
Owls and hawks often do take their prey off, but they aren't adverse to dining on the ground if they aren't able to pick it up.

My guess though is a possum or a raccoon, but I will tell you this much, whatever it is has found the free buffet, and will keep coming back until all your chickens are gone. Your chickens need to be locked up somehow from now on, and rent or buy a havahart trap baited with some sardines or something and see what you catch.
 
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fordmommy

Dancing With My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 16, 2009
3,810
7
189
Wisconsin
Raccoon is my first choice. But it could have been an owl too. Sorry for your loss
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