What decapitated my chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sciencediva, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Sciencediva

    Sciencediva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last week I lost one of my silkies but I don't know what it could have been

    When I got home I found the silkie decapitated and pretty much eviscerated. A lot of feathers had been ripped out and the guts were spilled. However, the majority of the carcass was still there (the head was gone).

    That day (as every day) the chickens spent the day outside in a fenced in area around their coop. I checked the fence and nothing had dug under, so something came from the top. Could it have been a hawk? What predator kills like that?
     
  2. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    im going to guess weasel or mink. if this is your case your pretty much going to have to hunt and find it.

    im more familiar with mink, they dont have a large hunting radius. chances are it will be within 30-50 feet from where the chicken was killed. they will move often, and stuff remains of their kills between rocks or even foundations and the ground. minks also spray similar to skunks- not near as strong of a smell, but easy to smell.
     
  3. KrazyChromatics

    KrazyChromatics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that sounds like a classic coon actually....
     
  4. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ive never had a coon remove the head (that i know of) they usually just make a small slit in the neck and drink the blood. however i guess if a mother coon was trying to feed a litter, she may take parts of the chicken with her.
     
  5. loveourbirds

    loveourbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i found this on another site, thought it may help you along.

    Playing Detective In many instances predators leave clues to their identity when they have visited a poultry house. From these clues the poultry producer may be able to identify the culprit and take the necessary steps to prevent a reoccurrence.Dogs. A dog usually kills chickens for the sport. Several dead birds with much mauling of the carcasses is usually evidence of a dog. Dogs usually visit the chicken pen during daylight hours rather than at night.Mink-Weasel. Birds usually show signs of attack on the sides of the head if a mink or weasel has visited the poultry house. With these predators, several birds will probably be killed and piled neatly together. The back of the head and neck are frequently the only parts of the carcass consumed.Raccoon. If a predator visits only once each 5 to 7 days and eats the head and the crop of the dead birds, a raccoon is probably responsible. Sometimes more than one bird will be killed at each visit.Opossum. The opossum generally attacks only one bird at each visit. Usually, the bird’s abdomen has been eaten. Eggs may also be the object of the opossum’s raid on the chicken house.Owl. The only likely culprit here is the great horned owl, which does sometimes attack poultry. One or two birds are usually killed, with the talons being used to pierce the brain. The owl will usually eat only the head and neck. Feathers found on a fence-post near the chicken house or pen may provide an additional clue.Fox-Coyote.The old sayings about the sly fox were not by accident. The fox and the coyote are very smart and difficult to catch in the act of raiding the flock. Since birds are frequently carried away with little evidence left behind, the only way of determining losses may be a head count. Visits from these predators will usually be very early in the morning. Keeping birds in a secure pen or poultry house until late morning is good insurance against losses from a fox or coyote.Skunks. Skunks do not usually attack adult birds. They may kill a few chicks and eat the abdomen. Eggs may also be the targets. If skunks have been in the poultry house the odor is usually a clue.Humans. Unfortunately, there can be problems from people as well as animals. If birds are missing with very little evidence, particulary from a predator proof pen or house, the possibility of humans being involved should not be over-looked.Preventing Repeat VisitsDetermining the identity of the predator is essential in preventing repeat visits. Once identification has been made, appropriate steps can be taken. Eliminating the point of entry is the first deterrent and eliminating the source of the problem by trapping or other means is the second. Trapping should be done properly to minimize the chances of catching an innocent animal. Seeking advice from a wildlife specialist is desirable if individuals have no experience with trapping.Again, prevention is the best solution to the predator problem.

    Read more:http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/608855/#ixzz2kvtGe8BJ
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I had one a lot like that recently, at dusk. It was an owl. Head just totally pulled off. Owls normally don’t hunt in the middle of the day, but they are active at dawn and dusk as well as at night. You didn’t say what time of day you found it.

    Of course it could have been something else and not all predators of a certain species always acts the same way.

    Good luck. These are sometimes challenging just to figure out what did it, let alone protecting the chickens.
     
  7. Sciencediva

    Sciencediva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everybody for responding. I think it might have been a raccoon since we do not have weasels or minks in our area. I am not sure what time this happened but am certain it was during the day. So now I am super worried about having another visit....
     
  8. Sciencediva

    Sciencediva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday I lost my other white silkie. Unfortunately I was too late when I went out to check on them after I heard them squawk, but after removing the freshly killed hen (she had no marks on her and just lost some feathers) I watched the coop from a distance and saw a huge hawk come back and swoop right into the same area.

    The hens are locked up in their run for the time being (and very vocal about how upset they are about that) and we are working on figuring out how to enclose their entire yard. Yup, I am creating a 20' x 30' fully enclosed chicken yard and because I want this to be pretty as well as functional, I will be eating the worlds most expensive eggs from truly spoiled but safe hens. My hubby loves me [​IMG]

    This is my starting point... will keep you posted...

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Sciencediva

    Sciencediva Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 16, 2013
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  10. FrozenFeathers

    FrozenFeathers Out Of The Brooder

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    I've only seen mink/weasels do the head thing. Coons usually destroy and eat most all I the bird
     

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