1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

What eats heads off of ducks and Chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mascoma, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. mascoma

    mascoma New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Dec 1, 2011
    Just like title says. Woke up this morning to 3 ducks and 1 chicken with missing heads and a 4th duck with a wounded neck.
    They are in a 5ft tall chicken wire enclosure. There is no sign of how the beast got in or out of the pen. There is a tree inside the pen whose canopy touches trees outside the fence.

    Seems very strange for an animal to eat the heads and nothing else. All carcasses where left behind intact.
    What the heck would do this?

    any input would be great!
     
  2. Hedwig

    Hedwig Out Of The Brooder

    66
    3
    33
    Aug 17, 2012
    Massachusetts
    What part on the country are you in? Here in Mass we have to watch for hawks, and fisher cats. We saw an eagle once but it never came near the coop. It also could have been a loose dog. I known a basenji mix to kill a rabbit rip the head off like a toy but she left it in the field.
     
  3. downsm75

    downsm75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    833
    19
    128
    Apr 23, 2012
    Louisville Ky
    Chicken wire leaves room for a raccoon to reach through and grab a head. I've heard weasels will eat just the head... Replace the chicken wire with hardware cloth.
     
  4. mascoma

    mascoma New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Dec 1, 2011
    I'm in New Hampshire.
    We have lost some birds to hawks before, this is not a hawk attack.
    Went right for the neck.

    Thanks for the thoughts folks.
     
  5. texastee2012

    texastee2012 Out Of The Brooder

    49
    1
    24
    Aug 21, 2012
    Nasty little skunks love to bite the heads off....do you ever smell them around your home or coop? They can get through even the smallest of holes and even the wee ones are chick killers. We caught a very small one in a live trap and it was all tail and just too cute. Never offered to spray us and was actually acting so friendly...It would have been young enough to take to the vet and deboxed but we could have never trusted it with our birds...it is just their nature to kill them....so we had to dispatch it. I live in Texas were there is so much wildlife...my sis called me from Florida and lost several birds exactly the same way. Their pattern is usually kill one day...miss a day and return the next day.....a can of tuna and a live trap will usually catch your critter at night. Good luck.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. CovertChickOps

    CovertChickOps Out Of The Brooder

    32
    4
    26
    Jul 18, 2012
    Undisclosed, Virginia
    Where my wife and I used to live, there were free ranging bantys that roosted up in the trees. Raccoons would climb the trees, rip the heads off the chickens, and eat what was in their crops. See if the crops on your chickens/ducks are empty. I think you have a raccoon problem and would definitely trim that tree back.
     
  7. littleoak

    littleoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    161
    0
    89
    Sep 26, 2010
    Ashmore IL 61912
    A weasel takes the head. It can go through a very small hole anywhere in your pen or house. It could also be climbing in through the tree or over the fence.
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    61,943
    3,605
    646
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Great horned owls will also kill and eat the heads of poultry. Several years ago ducks were being decapitated in Central Park, NYC. Initially authorities thought t was the work of a 'Satanic Cult'. Eventually they determined that a GHO was the predator.
     
  9. emsdial911

    emsdial911 Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's what was eating mine and I caught him last night. Made me mad because he would just eat the head and neck leaving all the meat to go bad. I told him we could have shaired when I slaughtered them but noooo. So I relocated him. [​IMG]

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/702514/lost-a-duck-last-night-but-got-a-new-bird
     
  10. LarissaSlates98

    LarissaSlates98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    144
    2
    81
    Feb 23, 2012
    Every time I have had this happen it was either a raccoon or opposum
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by