What killed Dolly? Survey

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by oopsydaisy, May 29, 2008.

  1. oopsydaisy

    oopsydaisy Hatching

    Aug 31, 2007
    Buffalo, MN
    Yesterday me and my girls were out enjoying the day about 3 pm; I was mowing the lawn about 100 yards from them. I don't know what made me look, but I saw a figure that initially made me think it was my old black shepherd Kyro out pacing the chain link. Then I realized he was in the house and saw 4 hens running mad back to the barn, and I knew what I had seen up there had run into the weeds then woods and I needed to get up there. I've never run so fast in my life. I found white feathers I knew belonged to my beloved Dolly (leghorn beauty). I am a police officer, so I grabbed my service weapon and went after that thing. I found Dolly sadly in weeds and under a tree about 20 feet from where she was taken. She had obvious injury to her rear, and some blood near her beak. I never found the culprit.

    I know we have coyote and fox here. I used to raise fox as a child and know they hunt at night. The mice and bunnies are plentiful, so I doubt they need to hunt during the day. Same goes for the coyote. I have only ever seen them during early morning or early dusk, and howl in the night. Like I said, I swore it was a dog but my mind may have interpreted that since I thought it was Kyro. I would think I would have seen one dumbing around the place instead of lurking in the weeds and take off like a chickens**t after grabbing my girl. I only know of 2 dogs in the 'neighborhood' (I live in a very rural area), and one is a police k9. If that thing is running around, we are all in trouble around here.

    Has anyone had run ins with big dog like predators at the 3 o'clock hour? If it is a dog, I can strategize. If its a wild animal, my girls can never go outside again. Wouldnt whatever killed her take her with? I read the predator sheet, and some things fit but others dont.
  2. debbyluvschickens

    debbyluvschickens Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    eastern arkansas
    Im not sure what your predator is, but I have had a fox kill my chickens in broad daylight, killed 80 something of them, sometimes with me out in the yard..wasnt afraid at all. Even checked out my deer while I was sitting on the porch, bottle feeding her, another time my mom was feeding the deer on the porch and the fox came around the corner of the house after a rooster and my mom actually threw the bottle at it. So I wouldnt rule a fox out. As for a dog, we have a few strays that a neighbor moved off and left behind, that Ive been feeding for months, but as soon as you step outside they take off, so it could just be a really skiddish dog. Sorry about your girl. Hope you dont lose anymore chickens.
  3. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Don't know where you are-- but, I vote coyote.
  4. Cuban Longtails

    Cuban Longtails Flock Mistress

    Sep 20, 2007
    Northeast Texas
    I vote coyote. They are notorious for snatching prey and leaving little evidence. It would have been trying to take her some place it could hide and eat. If it was sickly, perhaps it couldn't catch it's normal prey (rabbits, mice, etc..). That would also explain why it would have come into your yard while you were there, out of desperation. Sometimes they're opportunistic hunters, your chicken was there and it was hungry.

    If it was a dog, stray or otherwise (not sure if you live in an area where people dump "pets"), you'd likely have lost more than one chicken.
  5. mcg30_40

    mcg30_40 Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    We have a "big cat" around here that I've only seen once in my life but it was in middle of the day. He looks like a black panther only slightly smaller. I've been told about them all my life but never saw one, only tracks. If he hadn't been running through a clearing in my back field I would have never know he was there. I can see the clearing from my back porch and he just happen to run through as I was going out the back door.

    Anyway that might explain it looking like a dog to you.
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Could perfectly well be fox or coyote. We're getting into the time of year when predators often DO hunt during daylight because they have young 'uns to feed. I have quite often seen red foxes out hunting, or playing with the kits, in the sunlit middle of a lovely spring afternoon (dunno about gray foxes, have no experience with them) and have seen daytime coyotes (and raccoons for that matter) this time of year too.

    It could also perfectly well be a dog, either strayed from someone a little further away, or let loose by someone new to the area, or dumped out in the country by idiot owners, or a long-term feral one moving into or thru the area.

    I know that doesn't narrow it down, sorry. I'd say you're going to have to be real careful for at least a few months [​IMG]

  7. Standard Hen

    Standard Hen Songster

    May 17, 2007
    I have seen coyote during the day, last summer as a matter of fact in my horse paddocks which are surrounded by woods. I never saw them before and not since. I get a little worried when seen during the day as my first thought is that they are rabid and not right.
    I would check on the 2 dogs that you know of in your area just to rule out whether it was them or not.
    From there I would have to surmise like the others, coyote or feral dog or whatever might be in your area for predators.
    Like you said you have children to consider.
    It seems people do not know they have predators until they get chickens sometimes!
  8. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Crowing

    Mar 25, 2008
    I'm with d.k. I think it was a coyote as well. He was in the tall weeds watching you and your chickens. When he felt quite certain that you were preoccupied he made his move. It probably left your dear Dolly behind when it heard you coming. I used to live in Colorado and whenever we went up into the hills, we would see coyote's all over in the daytime. We have some that run around here during the day as well. It would naturally be sneaky, because they don't like to be seen. Definitely coyote, in my book. Sorry about your girl. [​IMG]
  9. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    I say coyote. Coyotes and foxes do hunt during the day, especially when they are feeding babies.
  10. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    We had our first coyote siting when my DS was like 4 or 5...He was like who's that dog in the yard? It wasn't a dog...so I got him in the house. The coyote just watched us.

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