What killed my 7 wk. old RSL roo?


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
Gilbert, Arizona
Here's the scenario: Found the little guy far outside of his run in our yard. Feathers everywhere, he had basically been skinned from the neck down to his abdomen and along his side, up to his wing. It appeared as though whatever killed him hadn't started eating him yet. The dogs were inside at the time. Rigor mortis was just barely setting in, so I suppose it *could* have been one of the dogs, although I scanned the yard when I let them in earlier this morning and I really think I would've seen the roo. I went outside to double check the run after I found him and all the other birds were fine, but I found a weak spot in the fence where one of the dogs had started to dig. There was a very small opening, that I think he very well could have squeezed through if he really wanted to. Although, he always ran around with his turkey pals...and only seemed to go where they would go. I'm stumped.

My dog has killed two of our chickens before, but in dog fashion...he just killed them, didn't rip them apart. There is very aggressive tom cat in our neighborhood that terrorizes our two house cats. He's on my list...one more bad move from him and he's in for a case of lead poisoning. Up until today I hadn't seen any hawks around, but wouldn't you know it...I was at the kitchen window and saw a very strange looking pigeon swoop down. I took a second look, and that was no pigeon...definitely a hawk. That was no more than 20 minutes after I found my roo.

I really liked this little roo too.
I don't think it was a hawk and I don't think it was a dog. Hawks grab their heads and dogs seem to "play" and don't skin like that, as far as I know. It was something vicious and it was probably interrupted by your dogs or cats before it was finished.
A dog, cat, or bird of prey is the only thing that I could think of that we have around here. I have a fairly big yard (1 acre) but I still live in a very suburban area. Our yard is totally surrounded by a 6 feet tall cement block wall. We don't have raccoons, or weasels, or rats. There are bears, coyotes, mountain lions, and jaguars in Arizona...but they are far away in the mountains or way out away from the city.

Just had a thought...could he have been trying so hard to squeeze through the tiny opening, that he caught himself on the wire and did all this to himself?
I'm only 30 minutes away from downtown Phoenix. Now, I've only been in the desert for 3 years...but I haven't heard of our large predators (like bears or mountain lions) getting this close to the city. For my own sanity...I'll just keep believing that all the big cats, coyotes, and bears stay where they are!

I suppose if the little roo did that to himself...well, natural selection, right? I patched up the weak point, so hopefully it won't happen again. I swear, the whole protecting your flock thing comes with a lot of "learning things the hard way".
One of my cats managed to attack a chicken a while ago, it had it for just a second, but the chicken had a huge skin tear on its underside, that could be "flipped over" and the entire muscle was visible. Obviously the claws on the hind legs just ripped it open.

I was right there and managed to stop the attack immediately, so I have no trouble imagining a cat could have done this to your roo. The scattered feathers make no sense if he did it to himself.
Excellent point about the scattered feathers. And that sounds just like what I found...the way you described it exactly. I'm almost 100% sure who the culprit is. That cat's days are numbered. It's bad enough that he tries to break through my screens on my windows...this is more than I'll put up with.

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