What could have gotten my girl?


7 Years
Mar 21, 2012
Northern California
Last week a predator managed to get one of my girls. (Just one, thankfully.) It has been bothering me ever since, I don't quite know what got her and I was hoping someone else had some input.

Stupidly, I left the chickens out in the yard while I was inside. We live in the city (nowhere near a rural area) and our yard is completely fenced in, so I thought it would be safe. (Lesson learned. I don't do it anymore.) I let them out of the run after I got home from picking my daughter up, and about 1/2 hour later I went out and found pieces all over the yard.

I'm a bit confused as to what would have torn her apart, but left all the pieces. It was in the middle of the day, so I can rule out raccoon and we don't have foxes, weasels, fisher cats, ect. because we are so urban. Could it have been a cat? My neighbors have chihuahuas that are pretty vicious, so I suppose it could have been one of them sneaking in the yard somehow, but wouldn't I have heard something? It's been bothering me that I can't figure it out. Any input would be appreciated!

Wow, that is strange. A hawk or bird of prey would have just taken it away, and I think a cat would too. I might guess the neighbor's little dog, if you think it could get in somehow.

You'll probably never know, and that is definitely unsettling. I've lost a few chickens in my six years of chicken keeping, and I never know what got them. Just had a missing chicken and found a few feathers. I could tell something was wrong when I went out because my flock was all hiding and very quiet.

One time though, I happened to look out my kitchen window into my back yard, and I saw the neighbor's dog with a white hen in his mouth! I hollered, and ran out! He dropped the hen and ran away. My neighbor came running over and apologized. I showed her there were feathers all over the place where he had pulled them out of her tail, but luckily, I saw him in time, because the hen was fine--just a bit shocked.

That's what makes me think it was a dog--they will run crazy with the bird and pull feathers and such. I'm sure he would have torn her apart if he had time.....
Yes, it is quite unsettling. It was hard to lose one of my girls, but not knowing what did it makes it even worse. All parts were still there, just separate from each other, which is what is so confusing. Perhaps it was the dog.
I'm new to chickens, but have worked with many, many dogs. Did you say your neighbor has more than one Chihuahua? This sounds like the work of two or more dogs. A single dog would probably stop playing with the chicken once it stopped struggling. Multiple dogs might fight over it and tear her up that way. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost a chick today to a hawk...
Yes, they have two rather vicious chihuahuas. I've rarely seen them not snarling and lunging at something with their lips curled. Thanks for the input everyone, it does make me feel a bit better to have an idea what did it so I can protect them from now on. Lavendar, I'm sorry for your loss as well. :(
Thank you, I am sad about it. Chickens are difficult in this way. It's like keeping cheeseburgers as pets, the way everyone wants to eat them.

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