What takes a chicken without leaving a trace?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hannakat, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    My 4-month old rooster is gone....everyone else is accounted for. We free range and they were all there at 9 a.m but one was missing by 10:30 a.m. We were home but not outside. If there is a chicken ruckus, I usually hear it but being young, I guess they didn't know to make noise. [​IMG]

    The 2 older birds don't socialize with the younger ones and they apparently weren't nearby or they would have been screeching.

    We looked all over the place but didn't find even a single black feather. They don't range far from the house. Our indoor dogs didn't pick up on anything either. Took them out sniffing and neither found any area of interest. [​IMG]

    I'd like to know if it was by air or ground.... we have had hawk attacks in the past but without losing a chicken.
  2. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Ive had both coyotes and foxes take adult chickens without leaving a thing behind.. though the fox usually leaves a pile of feathers.. she has also taken them and left nothing behind..
    raccoons have taken smaller birds through wire and didnt leave a trace

    my first guess would be a fox though..
  3. CatDaddyAlbert

    CatDaddyAlbert NoFeathersRuffled

    Apr 22, 2011
    Gumboro, Delaware
    In my opinion you have a "winged" predator. Hawk or Owl.

    If it were a ground predator, like a raccoon or fox it is very likely there would be some kind of a trace.

    If you have free range birds as I do, while also having some in the coop, there is not much you can do about it. I wished there was a better asnwer but there is not.

    I live on 40 wooded acres with my free range birds secured coops being in the trees. About a year ago I was standing in amongst my birds when a hawk came down through the trees right beside me and snatched a Guinea and carried it off. This was not a keet but a full sized birds.

    We have some large hawks here in Delaware and I know you have them in PA.

    Wished I could offer something better, but it is what it is.

    USDA APHIS Wildlife Services
    Oregon Division
  4. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    Birds of prey can snatch young chickens right up off the ground and fly away without leaving a trace. If you lived in the Pacific Northwest I'd assume it was a bird of prey, most likely a hawk.

    Raccoons often eat just the crop and leave a bloody mess behind. They're nocturnal but I've seen them out during the day time, especially when they have kits but it's highly unlikely that they'd quietly take one bird in the mid-morning, without leaving a sign.

    Coyotes typically take just what they need to eat (they don't kill for sport/fun like dogs do) and it's possible that one grabbed your chicken and ran without leaving a sign. That being said, it seems odd that your dogs and the other chickens didn't put up a fuss. Also, coyotes tend to hunt at night. That doesn't mean they don't come out during the day because they do. We occasionally see coyotes out hunting at dusk or dawn and we've seen them slinking away with feral cats, no sign left behind at all.

    Those are the primary predators that I'm familiar with here in the Pacific Northwest. I don't know what you have in PA. Anyway, my guess would be a bird of prey. I'm so sorry for your loss. [​IMG]
  5. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    Thank you for the responses. I'm at a loss on what to do. Our run isn't large enough for them to stay in 24/7 and knowing how chickens natural instincts lead them throughout the day with eating, scratching, dusting, visiting..... I'm not sure if I could keep them penned.

    Oh, but this has been a hard day [​IMG] .... poor roo.
  6. kinsey228

    kinsey228 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2011
    Chesterville, Maine
    I've lost 2 to a fox. [​IMG] They just simply weren't there when I went to make sure they were in their coop at the end of the day. No feathers, no mess, nothing. (Luckily) Foxes are so sneaky. They'll probably try again [​IMG] The ones around here have tried, but luckily they can't get into the coop or run. So sorry for your loss [​IMG]
  7. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    My guess would be a hawk or an eagle. We have a nesting pair of bald eagles a few miles down the road. They fly over every now and then and at random times. I lost my favorite hen Goldie a big fat EE to one of them. [​IMG] They do not leave a trace. We also have bobcats but they always leave a few feathers. A lot of feathers if they are young.
  8. Lizl

    Lizl Out Of The Brooder

    May 8, 2011
    We lost our little silky hen last week. They were a little group of six. She also just went missing, no traces of feathers or anything. We don't have foxes around here, but sometimes a certain type of small hawk hangs around here. Sure it was him!! Hope he gets a very bad heartburn!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2011
  9. ScaredOfShadows

    ScaredOfShadows Chillin' With My Peeps

    3 choices. Flying predator i.e hawk or eagle. Fox, or bobcat. All are quick to run in, snatch, and go. Fox and bobcats do this when they are experienced with humans, they know to get in and get out and then eat. If you live on the outskirts of a city or suburb like area - I'd actually say they're your first choice for predator. Country - I'd definately say a flying predator - usually in country foxes and bobs aren't familiar enough with people to learn the nab and run, and will leave a good few feathers and signs behind.

    Set you out a baited live trap, if its a 4 legged predator - you may very well catch them.

    Have you noticed any birds of prey hanging around your property?
  10. chickenlady08

    chickenlady08 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 27, 2009
    Eastern Shore, VA
    So sorry for your roo. I lost a duck last year without a trace of anything. My husband saw a fox running in the field behind us so I agree on it being a fox. I hope you may get lucky and find your little rooster.

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