1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

What kills a chicken and takes it up a tree?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bigoakhunter, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. bigoakhunter

    bigoakhunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    553
    1
    131
    Jul 29, 2009
    Michigan
    I have not posted in quite awhile, but I am stumped....I have a automatic coop door closer that has worked well for a year or more. It failed to close the other night and I failed to check things out after dark. Something took advantage of the opportunity pulled one chicken from roost dragged it out of coop, (you can see feather trail), took it about 20 feet stopped and must have killed chicken. Pool of blood on ground. Then I can track the feather trail into woods. A feather about every 10 feet or so. Took chicken 50 yards from coop to base of large oak tree. Last couple of feathers are right at base of tree. No carcass. But first branch is up about 40 feet. This is a 80-100 foot tall oak.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Danieldude888

    Danieldude888 New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Mar 3, 2015
    Did it actually take it up the tree or did it just eat it at the base of the tree?
     
  3. bigoakhunter

    bigoakhunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    553
    1
    131
    Jul 29, 2009
    Michigan
    Not sure...Like I said I easily tracked feathers for about 50 yards, then 5-6 feathers at base of large oak tree but no carcass and no more feathers. Cant see if it is up on limb as first limb is 40 to 50 feet up. The other limbs are more like at 60 foot starting point. Think large straight oak. .
     
  4. Akrnaf2

    Akrnaf2 The educated Rhino Premium Member

    12,848
    4,726
    441
    Jul 5, 2014
    Center of Israel
    It can be a raccoon or a gray fox, do you have gray fox where you leave?
     
  5. bigoakhunter

    bigoakhunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    553
    1
    131
    Jul 29, 2009
    Michigan
    I live in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.... I have seen red fox or coyotes, but never a grey. I see coons on a regular basis throughout the year.
     
  6. Danieldude888

    Danieldude888 New Egg

    9
    0
    7
    Mar 3, 2015
    The fox could be just traveling at night, so you don't see them.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,459
    2,090
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Raccoons generally do not drag a carcass, and I have never known one to carry a large up a tree. Grey fox would also have difficulty carrying a chicken up a tree. Feathers being in a line as described is consistent with a fox having trouble killing the victim. Great-horned Owl would try to drag a chicken up a tree.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,224
    800
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    My money is either on a bobcat or an owl. Now I also realize that you have some varmints in Michigan that this old country boy isn't familiar with. Help me out here people, what you got other than that there dad-burn Wolverine? [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2015
  9. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    81,035
    8,126
    766
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I would guess owl too but, it would fly with its prey(dead or alive) to a tree. It wouldn't be dragging it on the ground.
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,224
    800
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    Whether it can fly or drag its victim is unknown. Most raptors in the part of the world are unable to become airborne with a freshly killed or captured standard breed hen. The hen weighs more than the hawk, and the air resistance or drag of a dead hen is great. Besides, most hawks and owls are poorly equipped killers of standard size fowl.

    I saved a 4 pound rooster from the clutches of a large male Red Tail hawk, about 2.5 pounds. The Hawk was holding my rooster down with one foot and fighting off a flock of crows with the other foot. This rooster had likely been in the hawks clutches for 10 minutes before I came to the rescue. The rooster looked lifeless but he soon revived and before the day was out, he resumed his rooster business... that is chasing hens. The hawk had my rooster by his neck or windpipe and had him chocked down, but not out.

    It is unlikely but not impossible for the struggle to last from the coop to the tree, but I think something like a Fisher Cat, a Bobcat, a Red Fox, a Coyote, or a Lynx is a better explanation. I also don't think that anything took the hen up the Oak Tree. I do believe however that from the Oak Tree forward that what ever kind of vermin it was that killed your bird was in "Traveling" mode.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by