What killed my hen???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by a1doll, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. a1doll

    a1doll Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 14, 2011
    Today my son came home from school to find his favorite hen "Freindly" dead in the back yard. Our house is in the middle of a old farmfield without a lot of cover. The coop is very secure and inside a 6 x 15 ft. dog kennel with lattice over the top (for security) of it and around it covering the chain link (for curb appeal!). Friendly would wonder from the coop, over the 300 ft. trip, to the patio every day. She would even go to the front yard and sit on our porch! The other 10 hens and 1 rooster stay pretty close to the coop. Friendly was about 25 feet from the back of our house and her side torn open and insides eaten. feathers were all over to. Her head and neck were in tact. We do have Hawks so just wondering if anyone has any experience with this, we don't know what got her and are trying to figure it out. We don't know if we should let the chickens free range anymore while we are not home. Please help!
  2. M.sue

    M.sue Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2011
    Hawk possibly. We never let ours free range when we're not home.
  3. TinyTotsSeramas

    TinyTotsSeramas Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2011
    sounds like a Hawk.. She was probably too large for it to carry off so it fed off her at the kill site.
    Did you check the body for puncture holes? Talons can to alot of damage.
  4. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I am sorry for your loss.

  5. darin367

    darin367 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 1, 2010
    Shelton, Wa.
    does not sound like a hawk...sides torn open, and insides eaten, feathers everywhere..... you've got some other culprit around there.... dog, weasel etc......
  6. MEchickenfarmer33

    MEchickenfarmer33 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2011
    Quote:i agree. doesnt sound to me like a hawk attack
  7. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    Hawks will generally go after the neck and breast areas first. It could be a hawk with an unusual method of operation, or a juvie that hasn't figured out the choicest bits yet. The fact she was killed in the spot where she was eaten rules out your larger predators that would have carried her away to eat her- fox, coyote, bobcat. That leaves raccoons, possums, fishers (which may or may not have carried her away), weasels, skunks (which are pretty lazy and may already be in hibernation depending on where you are at). Feral animals (dogs and cats) are always a possibility, too. You would know that the feral animals are around, though, and since you didn't mention them I assume they aren't.

    Whatever killed her will be back tomorrow, so if you keep an eye out you will likely figure out what your culprit is when it returns to the scene of the kill. Lock up the remainder of your flock or you may lose some more birds.

    I am sorry for your loss. I'm very sorry for your son's loss. It's always tough to lose a favorite.

    Good luck.
  8. littleoak

    littleoak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2010
    Ashmore IL 61912
    This is usually the work of a possom. It will be back every day until you get it. They always seem to come around the same time each day.
  9. a1doll

    a1doll Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 14, 2011
    thank you all for the input! I tend to think it was a opossum based on what I have read on the web. We had another hen killed on Halloween the same way except her neck was also chewed up. Friendlys neck was in tact. Aren't opossum nacturnal though??? That is throwing me off. We do have Hawks to, one flying over earlier today. Friendly was attacked by a Hawk once before but I was home and saved her. Very strange how this happened. I really need to figure this out so other chickies are safe.
  10. deserthotwings

    deserthotwings Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Queen Creek AZ
    Whatever it was that got Friendly will be back. Best bet to keep your flock safe is to keep them in the pen. A lot of critters (wild and domestic) get mighty hungry when it starts getting cold and free rangeing birds of any type are easy pickens. Sorry bout Friendly and Good Luck Amigo..

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