What killed my cochin?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ErinG, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2010
    Oregon
    I came home on my lunch break today to find my beautiful blue cochin, Bella, dead in my yard.

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    There were a few feathers around the area where I found her body, but otherwise I could find no sign of injury. No blood, no matted feathers. Her neck also felt okay to me, but she was starting to become stiff when I found her, so I couldn't tell for sure.

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    Here is the area where it happened - all covered by leaves, and 2 walls, and a fence on the right. She was between the drainage pipe and the fern in the corner.


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    One eye was closed, the other was open, and the only other odd thing was that her normally red comb was very pale.

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    Predators I know are around are: cooper's hawks, red tail hawks, raccoons and cats. This happened around 10 am. I would love ideas on who did this to my hen who I raised from 2 days old. She is my biggest bird - so I'm not sure why she was the one they targeted, especially since I have a white banty. Please help so I can prevent my other birds from falling prey.
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry about your bird
    I'd say it was a stray dog that killed it by pouncing on it.
    Coons are almost never out hunting in the open during the day.
    Hawks would have eaten some, or at least plucked more feathers, and Cats very rarely attack full grown birds

    Quote: Free ranging birds are always at risk
     
  3. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2010
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    Thanks for your reply. I'd be surprised if a dog got into our yard (obviously it is possible), we are fenced in well - 6 foot cedar or double fencing, and I think a dog would have made a mess out of her by shaking her. I also think a dog would have gotten more than one. We are stumped.
    Yes, we should contain them more when we are not home with a covered run, but were feeling pretty safe with good fencing and keeping them locked at night. Day time predators suck.
    Side note, almost two years ago - before we had our chickens living here - we saw 3 raccoons walk through our yard at 8:30 in the morning. Two of them were young, so I think mama was trying to keep up on feeding them. We do see them out in the day time occasionally, guess we need to get that electric fence set up.
     
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Somerville, AL
    Was she acting normal beforehand? I'd be thinking more of a natural death or illness than a predator with what you described. A predator would have made some mark or at least removed a few feathers. Even if a dog had her, she'd have slobber on her that would be obvious.

    Sorry for the loss.
     
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: I've seen big dogs kill birds with nothing but their paws, and then totally lose interest when the birds no longer run
     
  6. ErinG

    ErinG Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2010
    Oregon
    Well after much thought, I think it was a Cooper's. We see them close every few weeks and it was probably just a matter of time. She had very dense feathers, so I think puncture wounds could have been missed if there were any. I also think that due to her size, it could have killed her by impacting her body. My husband's theory is that it happened while I was home, getting ready for work, and when I went to leave it was scared off, leaving her uneaten. We recently moved something onto our patio, which blocks that part of the yard from view. I easily could have missed it when leaving. It makes the most sense with the timing of it. The girls also seem a bit nervous being out. Keeping them inside until we can get a secure run for them.
    First day time loss ever in 3.5 years of keeping chickens.
     

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