What killed my Wellie?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JenE, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. JenE

    JenE In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2008
    Graham, WA
    Hi, new poster here. (I've been reading for months, getting lots of info and answers. I guess that makes me a Lurker?)
    This morning I found one of my Wellsummer hens dead in the run. (Half covered with netting, half not). It was obviously chased, I found a trail starting with a clump of tail feathers and ending with a headless, tailless body. I found the head by the coop door. Not eaten, mind you, just killed. I have 6-ft high chain link around the area with no obvious entry holes. Had previously been a dog run and the previous owners had it fortified pretty well. I know there are hawks and possums around, and probably raccoons though I've never seen one. What kills a bird and rips its head and tail off and leaves the body? Any ideas?
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  2. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    I would guess a raccoon probably reached though the chain and grabbed it. You will want to reinforce the bottom couple of feet of the run with hardware cloth.

    Sorry about your bird.
  3. JenE

    JenE In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2008
    Graham, WA
    No, something was IN the run...it's about a 300 sf area...but several huge fir trees in there, too...Easily accessible by raccoons and possums...is this what 'coons do? Kill, but not eat?
  4. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    They would usually eat it. But, it could be that whatever killed the bird got scared off before having a chance to eat it. That would suggest that it couldn't carry the bird off and did come in down the trees. That would count out foxes or coyotes. A raptor would probably carry it off. So, my guess is still raccoon or opossum.
  5. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Coon killed and tore off head of some of mine and left the body. [​IMG]
  6. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    when I first saw the title I thought it said "What killed my WIFE".....LOL!!!
  7. chookchick

    chookchick Songster

    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    So sorry about your hen, hope your others are okay!
    As you probably know, we have tons of coons here in WA. Do some searches here for "raccoon proof", "predator proof" and you will get lots of info on making your run and coop safe--such as covering the run, using small holes at the bottom, skirting or burying the wire at base, and using padlocks or carribeaners on all your doors, and electric fencing. Good luck, he will come back!
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Sorry to hear your loss.....can it be a weasel? I know coons can do the job too!
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Sorry about your loss. [​IMG] How we become so bonded with them. I suspect a coon. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  10. JenE

    JenE In the Brooder

    Oct 26, 2008
    Graham, WA
    Thanks everyone for your input. Chooks, I'm in Graham...born and raised in Oly, tho.
    My covered run and enclosed coop are situated inside the much larger chain-link area, and I had not been closing the coop door at night. I definitely am now, though! When I first brought my banties in, I kept them inside the coop for several days before letting them into the smaller enclosed run. They had only been outside for less than 5 minutes when a red-tailed hawk swooped down, less than 5 feet from where I was standing, and tried to carry one of my babies off! I happened to have a stick in my hand and was able to scare him off before he carried away any of the chicks. The bird netting went up immediately! I waited until they were much bigger before I let them out into the uncovered area. This was a 5-month old Welsummer that got killed today, though, and they're bigger than the hawks, so I really don't think that was it. Unless it got caught totally by surprise.
    Anyway, here's hoping some creature has not decided this is the place for a free lunch!

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