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What Killed My Alpha Rooster?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DBB1, Jan 29, 2017.

  1. DBB1

    DBB1 New Egg

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    Jan 29, 2017
    Hi folks. What killed my Alpha Rooster?

    I went out to feed my free range flock today (2 roosters, 7 hens), but the Alpha Rooster was missing. I looked around the yard and finally found him dead inside an open storage shed. No part of his body was eaten, but feathers were scattered in the immediate area around his body, and he appeared to have a bloody wound in the center of his back. Last year, I lost my favorite hen the same way - she had a deep bloody wound in the center of her back but no part of her was eaten.

    I thought about just writing the first paragraph so as to not color your opinions, but decided to offer some other possible clues (although neither may be related).

    First, I also lost two four-year old ducks this winter. Both were very large, especially the drake. Something killed the female first, left her in tact, and then came back the next night to eat her from stomach to spine (head left in tact). A few days later, the giant drake was killed, left in tact, and again the predator came back and ate him from stomach to spine the following night. I set a trap in the duck pen after the drake was killed and caught a skunk. With this in mind, could a skunk kill large ducks and/or my Alpha Rooster?

    Second, we do have a 10-year old dachshund who we let outside to relieve himself. My neighbor tells me that on the night of my favorite hen's death last year, the dachshund chased my hen causing her to fly up into a tree. Yesterday, I also had to reprimand the dog as he began to get too close to the flock. It's a possibility, then, that when he was let out this morning, he may have tried to chase the hens and bit the Alpha rooster on the back while the rooster was defending the flock. I should point out, however, that I've had a flock of chickens as long as I've had the dog, so I would expect to have lost other chickens with bites to the back over 10 years. The dog also had no access to the duck pen, so there is no way he could be responsible for the duck deaths or eating them.

    Finally, I live in southern New Jersey, so suspected predators that have killed my chickens in the past include: (1) Cooper's Hawks; (2) Owls; (3) raccoon; and (4) opossum. Skunks, feral cats, and domestic dogs are other possibilities. I should point out too that I have no idea whether my rooster was killed in the night or this morning. My guess is the early morning if it was a ground animal b/c the flock roosts 15 feet or so up in a tree at night.

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hawk or owl.
     
  3. DBB1

    DBB1 New Egg

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    Jan 29, 2017
    Thank you. Do you find it unusual that a hawk or owl would kill the rooster without eating it? I'm sorry to lose him: he was leader of the flock for many years. Although I've lost hens to predators, this is the first time I've lost a rooster in 10 years. What would cause a hawk or owl to pick a fight with a rooster rather than one of the hens?
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    If a hole in back of dead bird the killer likely eating, just not whole bird at once. Typically, a raptor will keep coming back to kill repeatedly over several days. Raptors selective for easier victims but sometimes there is element of chance.
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    I wonder if some predator killed the rooster and left(or was scared off) and a different type of predator found the body and took advantage of a quick lunch.
     

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