What killed my chicken?


10 Years
Sep 24, 2009
Last night, I returned home to find one of my four chickens dead in my backyard. Something had attacked the chicken and left it dead where it lay in a pile of feathers.

I examined the deceased chicken to determine what preadetor caused the death, but I am now more confused.

1. The chicken had two dime/quarter size holes on its back behind the shoulders, slightly under the left wing.
2. There was no blood, anywhere, even around the puncture wounds, or on the ground in the yard. The chicken was still warm, but there is no blood in the body.
3. The neck was broken.


4. The yard is basically impenetrable for a dog.
5. I have seen raccoons in the neighborhood, but they have not caused a problem in the past 6 months.

Can anyone help me determine what kind of animal may have killed my chicken?
That's a tough one. Normally dogs will kill and leave the body without eating it. Also the broken neck would be from a dogs "head shake" when it catches and kills the hen.
Coons, on the other hand, will kill the hen, drag her off somewhere to eat her usually leaving a feather trail, which can be followed but usually ends without finding anything.
Possums, generally will kill all the hens they can catch and eat portions of the hens and sometimes drag them off.
Bobcat, very little evidence, maybe a few feathers but that's all.
Fox,Coyote, same thing, just a few feathers.
Hawk, owl, just a few feathers where they hit the hen and that's all but generally a few more feathers than a bobcat or fox.
My guess would be that you may have scared the dog off when you drove up? Can you expand a little on what your coop/yard is like?
Concour with dog. Its possible that a big hawk or owl hit and and was scared off when you got home. But there would be damage to the back of the neck where they tried to kill it by crushing the back of the skull or breaking the nerve in the spine. Dog grabs and shakes. Breaks neck and leaves the holes.
I am sorry for your loss.
They will be back !
I feel sorry for your loss.My friend told me that her parents chicken flock had attack by weasels couple of times.I remember this beacuse she mentioned that they love to drink blood.But I am not sure about broken bone of chicken.
Be careful .Put some traps at the night time when chickens are secured in their coop.And remove the traps before they are out in the morning.
Hope you dont have any loss in future.
Also Weasles can get through v.v.very small holes.The holes in your fence is very big and easy for them.
Last edited:
Mink/Weasel: they kill just by a swift bite on the back of the neck, ive had issues with these things. i had an outside giant penned in are topped with netting for a bunch of pheasants i had. i couldnt figure out what was killing the birds, i would check everything at night, leave the outside light on and everything, just to get up in the morning and find 5 or 6 birds placed neatly in a pile in the middle of the pen. none of the birds had any visible puncture wound til i moved some of the neck feathers. none of the birds had been touched otherwise. mink kill for blood
I also had issues with owls, the owls would swoop over the pen and scare the pheasants so bad they would go straigh up to the net and get stuck by the beak blinders they had to prevent picking and while they were stuck by the beak the owl would come down and do their thing. i would come out in the morning and find bodies without heads and head stuck in the netting. i even stumbled across an owl that had some-how some-way gotten into the pheasant pen. owls drink blood also, but the way they kill their prey isnt as quick and swift as a mink.
Just had to share my frustrations, you could have lost your chicken to either one of these predators.
sorry about your loss
Thank you all for your help.

The holes on the deceased chickens back suggest a dog or weasel attack, but I can't imagine how any dog could get into my yard. It is likely that a weasel found my ladies, because the blood was consumed and the chicken was left where it was killed.

I also found several weasel sized holes in the ground while digging raised garden beds in my backyard.

So now, how to I trap the weasel without indangering other animals, such as cats.
I also have a predator problem. they are disappearing in the daytime and i will only find a pile of feathers in the wood or in the near by creek no body parts just feathers. Any ideas?
Use a live trap. I had a opossum problem and it worked great. Get the trap, put some food in there and set it, disguise it so it just looks like a hiding place that is loaded with food just for them and there you go.... check it after a day or two and you should have the culprit. Good luck.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom