What are we up against- BURIED chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by moenmitz, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. moenmitz

    moenmitz Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Two weeks ago, something (opossum or mink we suspect) killed 5 ducks, ate the abdominal cavities only. We have set the trap every night since- nothing. Tonight, I had to leave a few rebellious hens who would not follow the rest into the barn loose in the yard with dusk approaching to go pick up my son. We got back shortly after full dark. Here is what we came home to.

    One headless Wyandotte in the run next to the barn, no other injuries to its body. A small pile of Buff Orpington feathers near the barn door, and next to the fence, where they always wait to get in at night. Out in the goat pen, about 25 yards away, a Buff Orpington wing and another small feather pile. The two Buff feather piles are most liekly only form one bird we think- doesnt look enough to be two. The first feather pile appears more from a struggle wher it was pulled thorugh the fence than a kill. About twenty feet from there, another Wyandotte, about half buried in the dirt. This is the puzzler. Whatever buried it did a hurried job- just dug a shallow dip really, shoved it in, and shoved dirt over it, but not very well. We spotted the white feathers showing through in the dark. The bird had a little blood on its back, but was otherwise untouched, just dead. Both Wyandottes were stiff, but still pretty warm. We dug around in the "hole" it was buried in, trying to determine if it was maybe a well hidden den or burrow, but it did not appear to have an entrance hole if it was, though the ground did feel fairly "squishy" DH fired a shot into the ground to try and see, but seems to be just a hole. If the Buff feathers were from one bird, we still have 2 Buff Orpingtons that are unaccounted for. We found two others hiding in the bushes, and are hoping that the other two may be hiding out as well. I can't see whatever it was being able to carry off more than one at a time, and we cant find any more kill evidence (in the dark anyway)

    So...what is the msot liekly culprit? Coon? Do they ever bury a chicken and stash it for later? Fox perhaps? We set the trap with the buried chicken inside it next to the hole it was in, hoping it comes back for it. Since our trapping thus far has been unsuccessful, I appreciate any suggestions. Pretty sure we are dealing with at least 2 different predators anyway...
  2. WriterofWords

    WriterofWords Has Fainting Chickens

    Dec 25, 2007
    Chaparral, New Mexico
    I don't know what kind of animal would take the time to bury a perfectly good meal. I hope you solve this fast and take care of it. I'm sorry about your birds, stubborness can really be a bad thing at times.
  3. ella

    ella Songster

    I know foxes and dogs will bury prey, don't know about other predators. Eating just the head sounds more like a weasel. [​IMG] Hope they're not teaming up. [​IMG]

    Canned cat food especially seafood or fish works best for me in a live trap. But preds around here have never seen a trap before, that helps.

    Hope you find the culprits. [​IMG]
  4. Rainman

    Rainman In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2008
    Woodinville WA.
    Quote:Weasles do
  5. moenmitz

    moenmitz Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Pretty sure we are looking at a fox for this attack now from the research I have been doing-occasionally they take a head, often they just break the neck and store it in a shallow depression for later. They hunt in pairs, which would make it more feasible to explain the missing chickens. We did find one Buff Orpington hiding out this morning thankfully-she wont come out from her hiding spot and we cant catch her yet, but at least she is alive. Hoping the other is still out there as well.

    Nothing in the trap this morning still. How does one best catch a fox? I need to check into laws about trapping them here too-worried they might be protected. Really worried since I read they are bold enough to come into the yard in the daytime too, and can clear an eight foot fence! Nobody gets to free range until we catch this thing-I am not taking any chances.
  6. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Songster

    I'm kinda thinking its a fox, after reading some of the input, but was wondering if you have coyotes in the area?
  7. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Quote:I was wondering the same thing. I have heard they will bury too. The kill and eat what they can and then the rest they bury for later.
  8. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Foxes usually cache...I don't think coyotes do.
  9. moenmitz

    moenmitz Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    We do have coyotes, I have heard them way back in the wooded area, though I have never seen one come close to the property. We have a big dog who I thought acted as a deterrent to them. He was locked in the goose pen last night though to protect them as tehy do not have a secure area to be locked in at night. They are scheduled for processing tomorrow, so I only have to keep them alive another night!

    Whatever it was was is able to either jump, or go through a 4 foot woven wire fence- which seems to indicate more fox to me-pretty sure they could fit through those big squares without much trouble. It appeared they first pulled a Buff Orpington through the fence, then came inside the fence and killed the Wyandottes. The Buffs tend to cower and pile, wheras the Wyandottes always panic and scatter, so it had to chase them down.
  10. kwynn's birds Alaska

    kwynn's birds Alaska Songster

    Aug 6, 2008
    Kenai, Alaska
    [​IMG] It sounds like dogs to me...I know dogs will bury their stuff...stash it for later.

    (I had a Rott that 1/2 buried her giant bone, and left 1/2 sticking out of the ground, so she could chew when she wanted. I had another beagle that would eat her fill on treats, and bury the rest. we'd find treats under the pillows and couch cusions. My blood hound will find her self something stinky, roll in it, then bury it too , I think to hide it from our pitt. )

    Coyotes and foxes do it to, but I would think they would take it closer to their home, rather than bury it in your yard, but then, i'm no expert.

    Was there any tracks in the dirt by where it was buried?

    And do your neighbors have dogs?
    :thun Irresponsible neighbors chap my hide!!

    I'm sorry for your loss though. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2008

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