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what decapitates without consuming? *new info and new pics Pg.4*

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kari_dawn, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost three birds tonight. My beloved Clover, Ichabod, and Cider all lost their lives tonight. All three had piles of feathers strewn across the yard, and all three were decapitated. None appear to have actually been eatten. The masacre happened some time between 2pm and 12am.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I have a pretty solid six foot privacy fence with no large holes or gaps, and I am in a fairly afluent area. Few neighbors have dogs, and those that do don't let them run loose (in the 20+ years I have lived here, I have only seen 3 dogs loose in my neighborhood).

    I have every type of wild predator imaginable I believe. Everything from foxes and coyotes to skunks and raccoons. Initially I thought skunk, but all but one of the girls I lost tonight roosts on a high pole on a chainlink fence and skunks are not great climbers...and they didnt EAT anything. Just kill. Which makes me think dog, but as the bodies were strewn across the yard, and my family was here all day, I am guessing it happened after dark...that and I have NEVER seen a dog in or around my or my neighbor's yards. AND there were only three distinct feather types, none of my other girls show any damage. Even my brand new broody is still happily setting away on air in the nest box, completely untouched.

    The three birds I lost all roost on the same spot with two others. The others are fine. Apparently my "don't free range them if you aren't going to secure them" speach didn't stick because my coop door was wide open. I saw Ichabod's feathers first, and followed the trail in the dark with a flash light till I found each one. So, what did this?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  2. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    I'm so sorry!!! :( What a beautiful little Faverolles girl you had! (and that EE was gorgeous!!!) The only predator that has ever decapitated anything here was an opossum. BUT opossums will eat all / part of a chicken given a chance, and they rarely kill more than one. Canines kill for fun, as do raccoons.... :( I'm really sorry you lost your girls!! How awful!
     
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks :( They were really darling little things. Im really sad about it. I guess it coulda been a raccoon...it just angers me that they were just killed for the heck of it...they didn't even make a meal for some other creature. They were just terrified and needlessly killed.
     
  4. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    I know this can be SUPER hard to do, especially when the birds that were killed were your pets, BUT if you can get your hands on a live trap, you can use the body of one of the birds as bait, because whatever did it may come back for their meal...at least one of the deaths would not be in vain if you were able to catch the predator with one of them.

    (I did this to catch an opossum once, it wasn't easy, but it worked like a charm)

    IF you do this, wire the body into the trap so whatever it is can't reach in and drag it out... :( [​IMG]
     
  5. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do have a live trap, but I don't know if I can do that to one of my girls...they are still my girls after all. It is my job to protect them, and I failed. I would feel as if I was insulting the gravity of their death using them in that way [​IMG] (though grimmly I see the undeniable merits of the method, I just am not strong enough to execute it). Of course, raising animals like the ones we on this forum choose to raise, we will eventually experience losses. Why does it always seem to happen when my girls reach laying age [​IMG]

    I do so wish it was an opossum. At least then a closed door will be a rather huge deterant to such a slow moving uncoordinated creature...on the other hand, they were spread far across the yard, and the feathers tell the tale of a fast moving coordinated predator (probably more than one)...which makes me think raccoon...foxes I think, would have eatten, and not left the bodies behind...and I think there would also be a lot more dead birds....if it was a skunk, I am in trouble just because they are excellent diggers.

    The only solace I can take at the moment, is that since there was no evidence of them being EATTEN, the predator is most likely well fed, and therefore opportunistically killed because it was fun. If he is well fed, he is less likely to come back determined to get in if the door is closed like it is supposed to be. The very closest I could come to putting one of my girls in there as bait is to use a raw chicken leg quarter. Problem is, once I caught the thing, I would not be 100% sure it was that particular animal (especially with the predator population density in my area), AND I would be unable to dispatch it once caught [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  6. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    Yeah, I totally understand about not being able to use one of their poor little bodies. :( Luckily, the only time I've had to do that it was a cockerel that I was not keeping and not attached to. I was lucky in that respect.

    The only point that I am going to gently argue about what you said is that if you had a chicken thigh in a live trap right next to your coop fence and you did catch something, then whatever you catch IS an immediate threat to your birds out of simple proximity. :/

    Good luck to you, and I hope you do not suffer any more losses. [​IMG]
     
  7. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    this is the truth no doubt, but if I set a trap once a night for a week right outside my coop, I would catch something every night...I live on 3/4 of an acre, and while it may be in the middle of suburbia, there is a creek running down the length of the neighborhood across the street and around the back end, on the other side of the creek, 15 acres of tree covered land owned by one person, and two other large tracts of undeveloped estate land surrounding that entire side of the neighborhood.

    There are over 100 mature oak trees on my property alone...a pond across the other street, and plenty of mature shrubs and trees in every yard in the neighborhood; the smallest lot in the area is a half acre, also heavily treed, and the pattern is repeated for the two streets behind me that also make up my neighborhood [​IMG] there is too much perfect habitat. The trapping would never end [​IMG] Do you think there is anything I can use to startle a nocturnal critter instead? I do have motion sensor lights around the coop, but as the battery fades, so does the strength of the light...
     
  8. Cloverleaf Farm

    Cloverleaf Farm Bearded Birds are Best

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    I see.... :(

    There is a thing called Nite Guard that's a solar powered (so you don't have to deal with dying batteries) red flashing light. Here's the link to the website: http://www.niteguard.com/ I don't have personal experience with it, but I'd say it's worth a shot.

    Other people have installed game cams so they can see exactly what they are dealing with, but that can get expensive.

    The only predators I have had success in deterring are hawks...
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  9. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I definately know what you mean about game cams...I just priced some on amazon and man are they pricey! They really would be helpful in determining what kinds of predators I am dealing with, and in turn giving me specific defenses I can focus on [​IMG]

    Thanks for the link, and for the chat...I really appreciate it. I really am going to miss my darling Clover, and Ichabod...I know Karma is going to miss Cider...they were best buddies. [​IMG] I guess this is a good excuse to get another bantie to keep Karma company though

    [​IMG]

    Oddly enough, Cider and Karma roost on the ground usually...Karma has difficulty getting up on the roosts cause she can't really get any lift...that and the big girls kindof accidentally sqeeze her out...so Cider sleeps by her and keeps her company...Karma didn't have a scratch on her.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2012
  10. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

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    A fox will decaptiate and leave the bodies as will owls I believe. I had a fox massacre a couple of years ago, it left 24 headless bodies for me to deal with in the morning (my own fault for not securing them enough). I'm sorry you lost your pretty birds, hope you catch whatever it was!
     

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