what killed my chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DonnaB68, May 25, 2016.

  1. DonnaB68

    DonnaB68 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    May 25, 2016
    I went out this morning and found one of my new layers dead in the yard. A few feathers scattered around, body cavity completely cleaned out and the head and neck completely gone. I have lost 2 to hawks before but they made a huge mess and ate most of the bird. The door to the coop was open and no other chickens were harmed or missing. Wondering what I am dealing with.....Thanks
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Probably raccoon, opossum or owl if it was at night.
    Where do you live?
     
  3. DonnaB68

    DonnaB68 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    May 25, 2016
    We live in south eastern Ontario, Canada. It was before 8am and the carcass was not stiff at all, so killed very recently I would guess. No other chickens missing or harmed, but bird netting has now been hung over the yard just in case it was airborn....
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Since there were a couple hours of daylight in the possible time frame, it could have been a hawk. She could have been the first bird out of the coop in the morning.
    If ground based, I'd say probably opossum. They eat like that. Raccoons do too but they usually kill more birds than one. Sometimes the whole flock.
     
  5. DonnaB68

    DonnaB68 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    May 25, 2016
    We hung bird net over the entire yard the other day, and this morning, 2 dead in the yard this morning and one hiding in the coop with multiple injuries to her head. Both bodies were missing their heads. What is getting my birds? I am certain it can't be airborn with the netting so something must be getting into the yard by coming under the coop (it is set up on blocks) I thought that all the biggest holes were blocked, but obviously today I'll have to do something to completely seal it up.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Raccoon.

    They have to be locked in the building at night.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  7. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,375
    103
    236
    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    I'm a rank newbie and have no chickens at the moment, but from what you've said and from many accounts that I've read I'd think that it is coons. But, realistically, if you prevent coons from entering you will most likely prevent possums, foxes, and other small/medium sized predators from getting into the chicken proper, also.

    Years ago I ran up on a really large possum in my open-ended garage. I had no chickens and wasn't really concerned about the possum being there. There was a vent-hood for a hotwater heater laying beside the wall from a recent project. As the possum sulked around the edge of the wall trying to avoid me and exit the garage it encountered this hood. The hole in the hood was something like 3-4 inches in diameter...the possum was big,..easily 10-12 inches (or more) in diameter through the body. When the possum encountered the hood, rather than going around it or over it it decided to go through the hole. I panicked in thinking that I was about to have a live possum hung up in that hood inside my garage...oh boy. Well, the possum entered the hole in that hood and is was like it was a fluid that just flowed through the hole...water wouldn't have flowed any easier through the hole!!! I was stunned by the ease by which that possum passed through a hole that was much, much smaller that it was. That big possum could have easily fit through a hole a good bit smaller than that vent hood.

    Having witnessed that possum slide through that vent hood with such ease makes me wonder about 2x4 welded wire...with a strand of wire bent to one side from a lawnmower bumping it, installation bump, or whatever, it seems a 2" wide mesh could easily be changed into a 2-1/2" to 3" wide mesh which a possum could pass through easily. Fence/perimeter inspections should be a routine, I would think.

    Can a raccoon and a possum that are the same size pass through the same size holes?

    Ed
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,699
    2,648
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    If anything, a raccoon can get through smaller holes.

    When I find it I'll post a video of a raccoon pulling open a garage door and sliding through a 2 inch opening.
    Weasels and mink can fit through a 1" opening.
     
  9. JRSherlock

    JRSherlock Just Hatched

    14
    0
    14
    May 28, 2016
    In my experience, a missing head adds up to weasels. If the chicken looks like it exploded from the inside, I always bank on raccoons.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by