What killed my rooster? Updated

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by megalomaniac, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. megalomaniac

    megalomaniac Songster

    May 16, 2010
    Got up this morning to give the kids a little scratch and freshen up the water jugs at 7:30. I heard the hens in the coop making alarm sounds, so I knew something was up. When I got to the coop, all the hens (12) were still in the coop, which is very unusual for them. I figured out what was wrong when I saw my rooster dead in the run.

    My rooster was a 7 month old Black Australorp, quite large, and VERY protective of his girls. He and I had a tussle a couple weeks ago after he tried to flog me, but since he was put back in his place after that episode, he's been respectful.

    He was cold and stiff, so he had to have been killed during the night, and not after the sun was up. Whatever killed him did not eat him, except for the skin and meat around the neck and waddles. In fact, for about a 3" stretch, all that was left of the neck were the vertebra. There was also a patch of feathers missing off one shoulder, but the bulk of the carcass was undisturbed.

    In the coop, there were no excess feathers scattered, no blood.

    I gathered eggs last night after dark (7pm) and the light was still on in the coop, but all the birds were on roost and seemed calm. I didn't specifically see the rooster, but I'm sure if something had happened to him yesterday afternoon, the hens would have been just as upset as they were this morning.

    A little about my setup...

    The coop is 4x8x5', windows covered with harware cloth, but chicken door into the coop remains open at all times. The run is 5' tall welded wire approx 25'x 40'. There is no sign that anything dug under the wire or tore through the wire, so whatever killed the rooster must have either flown in or climbed over the run.

    At this point, the only predator I can think of which could have climbed the wire and gotten into the coop would be a raccoon, but I would have thought a racoon would have eaten more of the chicken. I don't think an owl would have walked in through the chicken door.

    Based on the carcass, it really looks like a dog killed the bird for sport, but again, there is no way a dog could have gotten over the wire without leaving some evidence.

    I'm going to set up a trail cam and live trap tonight, but I'm certainly fearful for my girls now. I will probably go ahead and add the chicken door and lock them in the next few days just to be safe.

    I have trapped 4 racoons over the past several months after I had 3 young pullets killed 3 months ago.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2011
  2. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    Lancaster PA
    racoon. sorry about your boy. [​IMG]
  3. rungirl

    rungirl Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Columbus, Ohio
    Sounds like a raccoon.
  4. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I've never heard of a cool leaving the head on though - I guess its possible. They climb anything. The owl theory is interesting - I've seen pics on this site of an owl inside a coop - so that is possible.

    Seems more like something taking small bites too - since the neck was skinned but the head not removed do you have mink or weasels? All my chickens taken by coons were headless.
  5. ms.cluckling

    ms.cluckling Songster

    Dec 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
  6. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    If it happened during the day, I would bet hawk or some type of raptor.

    If it happened at dusk or night, I am betting owl.

    Birds of prey and ravens will strip the carcass like you described, starting with the head/crop area and working their way down the body if they have time.

    The same bird returning, even circling above will/would have sent your girls to the coop in a hurried, worried rush.

    [​IMG], sorry about your cockerel.
  7. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia ~Delight yourself in the Lord~

    Thats a very good idea about closing your girls in at night, with all the predators we have around here mine would be dead in one night if they weren't locked in, now what ever got in will be back for sure. Sorry about your roo.
  8. megalomaniac

    megalomaniac Songster

    May 16, 2010
    Everyone's fine this morning, although it took the entire day for the girls to settle back down.

    I must have happened during the night prior, so I don't think it was a hawk... besides, I don't really think even a red-tailed would go after a large BA roo.

    Nothing on the trail cam I put up last night. I loaned my live trap out to a friend a couple of weeks ago, and I'm getting it back today to set it up.

    My 8y/o girl cried for 15 minutes yesterday when she found out 'Mr. Roo' was gone. We hatched him from an egg and he bonded with the kids immediately. When he was 3-4 months old, he wouldn't roost with the other birds outside and had to roost inside the garage to be closer to the house. I'm still pretty angry.
  9. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Crowing

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Wow, I'm sorry for your loss, tears a person up reading about a little girl crying over a loss...........I'm so sorry
  10. puredelite

    puredelite Songster

    Sorry about your roo, most likely was a 'coon that did him in altho they usually aren't content to just kill one. They do normally eat the neck area first. A mink and weasel have the same killing habits as they like the blood so start at the neck too. If it was a 'coon he will return as he has found a source of easy prey. Bait a sizeable live trap with sardines or cat food and scatter some of the roo's feathers around and you will most likely get the culprit. You may want to consider doing what I did and cover the top of your run with 2"x4" welded wire. I also put chicken wire up 2' all around the bottom of my run. That is mainly to keep young chicks from getting out of the run and being an easy target for hawks. Go get the culprit!!

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