Was it the cat?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by reginak, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. reginak

    reginak In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2007
    Hi, all. Today I lost a smallish hen (a blue araucana) to a predator. The head was missing altogether, and she was ripped open. It happened in broad daylight, next to the back fence of the yard. I live in an urban area, but have a big back yard that backs up to the train tracks, so it's a tiny little wild zone. Foxes have been seen here, also raccoons of course and possums, lots of hawks. I found the chicken with a big yellow cat sitting next to her, but I'm not convinced the cat killed her. First of all, that cat comes wandering through my yard all the time and I've never worried about it attacking the chickens b/c I didn't think cats were something to worry about ... am I wrong? I don't know if the cat is domestic or feral. Secondly, because would the head be missing? I thought raccoon, after reading through that predator ID sticky post, because of the missing head and the crop was at least ripped open, I didn't see if it was missing. But broad daylight? I thought I saw a pair of foxes messing around the coop the other early morning, but it wasn't light enough to get a good look. If a fox killed her and couldn't get her through the fence, might it pull off the head?


  2. Chickengal505

    Chickengal505 Songster

    Jan 4, 2010
    Bolivia N.C
    Hhhmmmmmm sounds like a possem but in brod daylight? Maybe the stinker was starving and just wanted a chicken sandwitch but only had room on the bread for the head hahaha sorry sick joke! [​IMG] sorry the baby lost her life to somthing that could have eaten vegatereain style!
  3. DragonFeathers

    DragonFeathers Songster

    Jul 27, 2009
    I would say coon (missing head) in broad daylight, not to sure about that? Would also think hawk (rippen open) but not a missing head? Were there alot of feathers around? or was this a clean kill?
    BTW I'm sorry for your loss......[​IMG]
  4. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    I don't think the cat killed her, but would definitely have tried to eat her once she was dead
  5. Ibicella

    Ibicella Songster

    Nov 13, 2009
    Everett, WA
    Raccons and possums CAN hunt in daylight. Its not usual, but it happens either due to sickness or hunger, since its winter now. So it is still a possibility. A hawk will often eat the neck and breastmeat.

    It sounds like the cat is innocent to me. Maybe scavaging or just curious.
  6. reginak

    reginak In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2007
    Quote:Thanks, DragonFeathers & everyone who responded. There were a lot of feathers, but all pretty much close to where the body was. I've lost chickens before and found nothing but a scattered pile of feathers, no body, and figured that was a hawk. Yes?
  7. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Not the curious cat that killed...probably racoon. They will pull heads off through fencing. Had it happen here to one of my pet hens.
  8. kayri

    kayri Songster

    Jul 6, 2007
    I'm sorry about your hen. I'd bet on a hawk if it was ripped open and some meat gone. My hunter cat is scared to death of my chickens. I don't believe a cat could take a chicken more than 3- 4 months old. Chickens are quite formidable if they could get into their little chicken brains not to be afraid.
  9. CTChickenMom

    CTChickenMom Songster

    Jan 5, 2009
    SE Connecticut
    My father just sent me pic of a possum eating out of one of his ground feeders, during the day time. If they're hungry they'll go looking. I have also seen mink/weasel out during the day. I believe they take off the heads to drink from the neck. They don't need but a whisker's worth of space to get in either. I don't think the cat would have taken her out. I think you would have seen damage to the cat too, if she had tried.

    Maybe a mink/weasel took of the head and something else took over after the hard work was done.

    Sorry you lost your girl.
  10. reginak

    reginak In the Brooder

    Mar 3, 2007
    I wouldn't think the raccoons and possums would be hungry, even in January, because I'm in an urban-suburban area ... lots of trash cans and dumpsters to go diving in. But it sure does look like a coon kill, with the head gone right next to the fence. Not a fox, huh? Whatever killed it, I suppose the cat could have ripped into it some, once it was dead. Well, I'm sorry. The other chickens still seem nervous, I hope they get over it soon. One stopped laying and went broody.

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