What did this?

cherit50

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
4
0
7
I let my 6 hens and 1 rooster out of their caged area for a couple hours (as I've done for years). Within an hour or two I discovered one hen dead with no head, then found my rooster dead with no head (he was huge and very nice), then quickly discovered piles of feathers in various locations but all fairly close to one another. No sign of any other carcass just loads of feathers. This all happened around 3:00 p.m. and within 70 feet of my home. We're in a rural area, have 3 cleared acres in the front and 3 heavily wooded acres in the back and on the sides, the house sits sort of in the middle. The kills happened in the front/side property. In the past we lost one hen to a roaming dog and one (I witnessed) to a hawk. After that, we covered their pen and only let them out for an hour or two every few days, have not had any more problems for a couple years...until this week. I have two very scared hens left. One actually appears to have escaped from this predator...lots of missing feathers but no wounds that I've found. After much reading, I'm thinking some sort of hawk...but would a hawk kill so many at one time? I just don't get it. Also..will the two remaining hens ever lay an egg again? Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

chickencopper

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
104
5
60
GA Chicken Rancher
Dog - basically plays with it like a chew toy, until dead then walks away from it. (as many as he/she can find to chase or play 1-50 per day)
Coyote/Fox - kill and drag off to eat all of it. (one every other day)
Hawk - fly away with it, if too heavy, kill and peck to eat to get to guts. (one per week)
Raccoon/Opossum - kill and drag away to eat all of it. (one per day)
Mountain Lion - kill and drag away to eat it all. (two per day)

Head missing - dog usually uses to drag around and sling to make it run from him/her again. at that point, chicken is usually dead.

IMHO - DOG!
 

cherit50

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
4
0
7
I might add that I never heard a sound and neither did my small house dog which normally barks at anything moving around outside. When we lost a hen to a dog a year or so ago they made all sorts of noise, which I heard and went to investigate. Really odd they were killed so close and I heard nothing.
 

chickencopper

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 18, 2014
104
5
60
GA Chicken Rancher
I have lost close to 100 to dogs over the years, each one I found. some still alive, looked like they had been swallowed and spit back out. thought they would never recover. If you watch a dog with a chew toy, its the same thing. they get bored after no movement, they sling it back and forth, then give up on it moving again. I have lost 10 or so to raccoons, hawks, possums, etc. They are just plain gone, no trace, except a feather killing area. I have watched the dogs attack, since I have a video system outside. No you cant teach a dog not to attack, once a chicken killer, always. My dog has her area and my hens have theirs. If they accidentally fly into her area, BAM, chew toy.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
4,099
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Again this sounds like a raptor attack. If dogs were involved you are more likely find evidence like that given above, or a wing over there, a drumstick over here, a spleen in the backyard and the liver in the flower bed the body it could anywhere but with nothing consumed. To a dog a chicken is not a meal, a chicken is a video game.

Here is a hawk trying to make a meal out of a mink. After a 30 minute battle the mink wins and escapes. (not shown on video) The purpose of me posting this video is to show you that hawks don't have a deadly weapon Anytime the chicken tries to rest or summon its energy the hawk uses the respite to begin stripping the feathers off your bird and begin feeding on your still living chicken. This will goad a still living chicken into renewing the struggle wallowing all over your yard with the hawk attached, marking each location the chicken rested with little piles of chicken down.

Less you doubt me, search this forum under predators and emergency avian medical care and see how many incomplete chickens there are running around who have provided an anti-pasta appetizer to a hawk.
 

cherit50

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
4
0
7
Thanks for this information...We're convinced it was indeed a hawk or hawks after reading this.
 
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