What got in my yard?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TLWR, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I came home this afternoon and didn't see Oliver around anywhere. Then noticed a bunch of feathers that seemed much too much to have been from ducks plucking out their feathers. Then another bunch. Then another bunch. So I went out to see if I could find a body. Hoping to just find her hiding under a bush with not as many feathers.

    I found her body. Some of her innards pulled out about 10 feet away from her body. Head gone. Neck mostly missing.
    Laying there.
    She was just starting to become a nice girl again and ran after me every morning to get picked up for a ride to the deck. I left before it was light out this morning, so DH let the birds out. She had been sleeping up in a tree and he saw her out this morning.

    So something at her today.

    Something flew in or something hopped the fence and got in?
  2. TLWR

    TLWR Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    I'm thinking hawk. Does that sound correct?

    The ducks and other chickens see flying stuff pretty easily. Oliver, not so much with her head of hair.

    The pile of feathers was about 200' from where I found her body.
    Opened her up, but all the organs and stuff were still there.

    What does this mean for my remaining 3 chickens and the 5 ducks?
    Do I need to keep them cooped up tomorrow?
    They are free range birds.

  3. Couture Family

    Couture Family Out Of The Brooder

    I'm so sorry that happened to you. [​IMG]I don't know what I would do if anything happened to my girls.

    My husband says doesn't sound like a hawk. He said a hawk wouldn't have taken the head off and fly away with it would have taken more of it.

    He says it sounds like a dog that just wanted to be rotten since it didn't take the whole thing. If it had been a hungry animal it would have taken more. I've also read somewhere on here that weasels only take heads.

    I'd coop up my chickens for sure just in case. Sorry for your loss. Hopefully it wont come back whatever it was.
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Sure sounds like a hawk to me. Hawks almost never make a clean kill on a grown chicken, and hawks certainly don't eat feathers.

    It is likely that every little pile of feathers represents a place were the life and death struggle between the hawk and your chicken took place with the hawk holding on and slowly plucking the chicken's feathers out while at the same time eating it alive. Hawks and other predators are not concerned with humane kills, their only concern is what's for dinner?

    If you doubt me and wish you can search here for threads about half eaten chickens that survived the initial hawk attack. Their feeding customs is why I hate hawks and keep a 3 inch 12 gauge in the feed room to kind of, sort of, even out the odds in my chickens favor.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  5. Cluckysnap123

    Cluckysnap123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2014
    It was a hawk. RIP Oliver :(
  6. txls

    txls New Egg

    Feb 11, 2014
    if it was a dog it probably would have just killed it and left it in one spot.
  7. Carpenter

    Carpenter Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2013
    It could have been a raccoon or an owl. Sorry for your loss. If you are letting them free range be diligent about letting them out after first light and locking them up before it is completely dark. I learned this lesson with my first flock. My buff cochin rooster was protecting his girls and the feather trail was similar to your description. I have a coon skin hanging up inside my barn as a little reminder.
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Yea, and the yard would have looked like the aftermath of a frat house pillow fight.

  9. maxpedley

    maxpedley Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 31, 2013
    Its not a hawk. I would say an owl. two misconceptions on this sight that i have seen enough of is people saying hawks eat the head then carry the body away. They do neither ! However an owl would do both although they don't always carry the prey away. It sounds like it had just begun to start eating before it was spooked
  10. crazyfeathers

    crazyfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2013
    Auburndale, Wi
    My guess would be an eagle. My girl friend lost 5 chickens to eagles. She would find them about 250 from her yard in an open field with the only thing eaten was the head. So sorry about Oliver he was very handsome.

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