What killed her?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by GammaPoppyLilyFlutter, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. GammaPoppyLilyFlutter

    GammaPoppyLilyFlutter Love Comes with Feathers

    Jun 26, 2010
    California
    My Japanese bantam hen Koka was killed today... She was laying an egg and then something got her. When I let the hens out at around 4:00 PM to range the yard, and Koka didn't come out. I figured she'd probably just found a bunch of worms in the run and didn't want to come out (our run is pretty big with lots of cover), but then when I went outside to take her out of the tree she likes to roost in she wasn't there. We looked all over until we found her body, in the run.

    Her head was torn off and missing, her chest ripped open, the egg still sticking out of her tiny body.

    I would say it was a cat that did it, since it was in the middle of the day and none of my large hens were hurt, but the remains don't look like a cat's work. It looks like a raccoon, but raccoons (from what I've heard) typically kill more than one chicken at a time and she was killed probably in the early afternoon. We live in the suburbs, by the way.

    What do you think killed her?
     
  2. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
    You're right that, if given the chance, the raccoon will kill multiple birds. Have you ever heard owls in your area? They will go right in your chickens area and kill them. This is from the website: Chicken Predators, A Complete List Of Animals That Want Your Chickens For Dinner,
    How will I know that an Owl killed my chicken?
    Hawks and owls kill in similar ways. If you find a dead bird it will have the head and neck eaten and will have deep almost surgical looking cuts on the breast from sharp talons. Here is the address: http://www.raising-chickens.org/chicken-predators.html That is not the one I usually use, but I can't seem to remember what it is! Keep in mind that once they find a meal, they usually return as long as they can keep eating...
    I am so sorry you had to go through this and I really hope you figure it out and find a way to keep them (whatever they are)away from your chickens! Good luck!
     
  3. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2011
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  4. GammaPoppyLilyFlutter

    GammaPoppyLilyFlutter Love Comes with Feathers

    Jun 26, 2010
    California
    We do have hawks in our area, unfortunately... yes, the cut from her throat to her tail was pretty neat. Looks like I'll have to put some bird netting over the run for a while...

    Also, we have one large owl- I've only seen it once, and it was swooping so I didn't get a good look at it- that I believe is a Great Gray, but it only comes out at night. I saw Koka this morning, but when I let the hens out after school she was missing
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  5. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
    I am truly sorry for Koka! The hawks tend to leave a mess of feathers behind also. It sounds a bit like an owl but I am unfamiliar with a Great Gray. Good luck and keep watch! I put poultry netting over the top of my entire chicken coops...it was tricky where it had to overlap, I tied it about every 6 inches with baling twine and I also used the thin wire that is wrapped around a new roll of poultry wire and weaved that through the overlap to close it off so no one could fly in or out! I also have 2 Great Pyrs that I got for my goats and my male is very aware of what is overhead and barks non-stop until the threat is gone. (Sometimes that is an airplane!) That may be another line of defense for you to think about. However, not all livestock guard dogs are aware of what is overhead or they do not see it as a threat. Also, they would have to be carefully trained to be with poultry. Again, I'm so sorry about Koka and I hope you are able to stop the predator!!
     
  6. GammaPoppyLilyFlutter

    GammaPoppyLilyFlutter Love Comes with Feathers

    Jun 26, 2010
    California
    I conclude that it was a hawk. It came back this morning and perched in an oak tree near our yard, staring at the chickens (who we have been keeping in the tiny totally-enclosed part of their run, thankfully!). We also hung old CD's from the trees to scare it away and I think I'm going to put a shiny balloon out there as well. The Ladies aren't happy being cooped up, but it's for their own good.

    And I went into the run today and snooped around under the oak tree I found her body under. Lots of feathers. I think she was laying an egg and at the point where she's pretty much immobile and puffed up like a beach ball when a hawk landed on the fence. The other hens probably ran for cover and Koka put up a hard fight (it's many patches of feathers and they go on for a little while), but the hawk got her anyway... then either got full or heard something and flew off. I buried Koka under her favorite bush.
     
  7. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
    Awe, God love her! That just really makes me so mad! ( I know that is stupid! It is nature and the hawk will look for the easiest meal.) It just angers me that it went after a vulnerable hen! At least now you can be pretty darn sure just what did happen and work on fixing the problem! That is the one good thing and it is good to look for the positive in a situation like this. It would be so much worse if you were not aware of the hawks and were concentrating on land predators and then lost others! Maybe while you are working on the cover for the chickens, you can distract them by hanging a head of cabbage in their coop! Maybe they won't be so upset! Good luck getting that covered for them! Let me know how it goes!!
     
  8. Desirai

    Desirai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Awww that poor little thing... so sad!!
     
  9. mkeawsh

    mkeawsh Woody Hollow

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    I am so sorry about Koka. It is a terrible feeling. I used to have it happen all the time - day and night. But with Buddy during the day and the NiteGuards at night, I have not lost a chicken in three year.

    I also have a Great Pyrs that is always looking up. He has thwarted at least two hawk attacks when they were coming down. He's always looking skyward for predators to guard the chickens and on the land to guard the goats. :)
     

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