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What would do this? UPDATE

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by UrbanEgg, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. UrbanEgg

    UrbanEgg Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2009
    MY TRAP CAUGHT A POSSOM. WOULD IT HAVE DONE THAT SORT OF DAMAGE? OR DID IT JUST HAPPEN TO WANDER INTO MY TRAP CAUSE MY BAIT WAS TASTY? SO DEAD CHICKEN WITH BREAST EATEN/HEAD INTACT, OTHER CHICKEN CARRIED OFF BY HEAD AND LEFT WITH SWOLLEN/BLINDED EYES, NO OTHER INJURIES. PULLED OFF COOP...OPINIONS ANYONE? POSSOM OR RACOON? I GUESS I'M HOPING I CAUGHT MY AGGRESSOR OF THE ATTACK.

    I had 2 chickens attacked at dusk, I got delayed coming home to put them in (they were probably in, just their run wasn't closed yet). Couldn't find them that night. Next morning I found piles of feathers all over the yard, finally found a trail into the greenbelt (we have 20 feet of forest in our backyard, even though the entire yard has a 6 foot fence). So one chicken was there, breast gone, but head still there (I was reading that racoons usually take the chickens head off??). I looked over about a foot away and hidden in some ferns was the other chicken, looking like it was roosting. I thought it was dead, and then I saw it was breathing!! So I pulled it out of the ferns and it had been attacked and it looks like its eyes were scratched/poked out? Either that or they are really swollen shut? In any case, it can't see. It was literally a foot fromthe other chicken. Would it have been carried away by an animal who had her head in its mouth and blinding it, leaving it to finish off "fresh" for antoehr meal? I took care of her all day, spoon feeding her oatmeal mixed with scratch, and giving her water, keeping her in a box in the shed. Do animals do that? Keep their prey alive, but maimed to come back and finish the job? I set a raccoon trap out last night, thinking if it was going to come back and finish her up, I'd deter it with cat food and a relocation. The only other thing I could figure is she got hurt by brambles or blackberry bushes while trying to get away and maybe smelled her dead coop-mate and made her way to her? I thought they had a bad sense of smell?

    thanks for your thoughts on this!

    p.s. with our 6 foot fenced yard, I really don't think it was somethign big like a coyote, and we live in a pretty urban area. Mostly we see racoons, but also see skunks and possoms. And our coop is set up 3 feet off the ground and the only door that was open was the one the birds have to jump/fly up into that's 3 feet up. They always go in by about 4-5:00 so I'm sure they were up in bed before the attack happened.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  2. Elite Silkies

    Elite Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 17, 2009
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    My Coop
    If you have racoons then I would say that is what it was. Racoons love chicken. They will do a lot of damage to one. You might want to get a live trap and see if you can thin the coons down.
     
  3. UrbanEgg

    UrbanEgg Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2009
    I did get a live trap from my neighbor and set it out with catfood last night, but I dont' know if it was in too open of an area? I just moved it out into the greenbelt, right where they had thier meal (of my poor chicken) and where the other one was left alive, but blind. This morning her eyes seem even more swollen, so I'm really hoping its just that she got pretty injured (its only her head though, she has some scratches onher head and face and thats it) and that when the swelling goes down she'll be able to see. Otherwise we'll have to stop her suffering. As crues as it sounds, I just don't have the time or space to keep an injured chicken seperated permanently and spoon feed it and water it several times a day. Whatever the predator, picked 2 of my oldest chickens--about 6 years old. The one they got was so old she had cataracts and was already picked on by the other chickens, so we were going to have to get rid of her soon anyways. She hasn't laid in a long time either. It just boggles my mind that they didn't kill the other one. Are raccoons really so coniving that they'll blind a bird to come back for it later?
     
  4. UrbanEgg

    UrbanEgg Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2009
    update in first post
     
  5. texas_is_home

    texas_is_home Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2009
    Boerne, Texas
    Sounds like a bird of prey. Owl or hawk. A coon or a possum would have eaten the whole chicken.
     
  6. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Virginia
    I've been having a problem with a fox and sometimes I just see a pile of feathers, sometimes a mangled corpse with the head detached or the body partially consumed. I didn't know what was doing it at first, but we bought a game camera and saw the fox. He mostly got spare cockrels. I used to use a seperate pen for the extra males, but the fox treated it like an all-you-can-eat buffet, so now I have to keep them locked up in the main coop.
     
  7. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

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    Loxahatchee, Florida
    Opossums can & will kill & eat adult chickens, so will raccoons. But I don't think the predator purposely blinded that one hen in order to immobilize it for later consumption. It probably just grabbed her by her head & injured her eyes in the process. Then perhaps something scared it away from the bird it was eating, & it never came back.

    If you're in an urban/surburban area near some woods you'll have more than your share of both opossums & raccoons. Their numbers actually increase with development of their habitat. Make sure you & your neighbors do not leave cat/dog food out in dishes overnight, and keep your garbage cans closed tight with bungee cords. Do what you want with your trapped critters except please DO NOT RELEASE THEM AT ANOTHER LOCATION!!!!
     
  8. SteveH

    SteveH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2009
    West/Central IL
    Some predators will leave what they " think " is a dead or mortally wounded victom to kill another that tempts it . Occasionally wild predators will go on a killing frensy with domestic animals simply because domestics lack natural instincts or abilities to survive in the wild . Predators instinctivey seek out the weakest , most easy kill and an entire herd or flock may just trigger a mass killing frensy . The possum might have been the original culprit returning for the meal it left behind , or just attracted to the smell of an easy meal . I would reset the trap in that spot and see if anything else shows up . By the way , I've live trapped a raccoon that had a leg that apparently healed with a bad break . Feeling sorry for it and admiring its will to survive , I relocated it several miles away . The next week I caught it again in the same location . No more relocations for me , I think its illegal anyway .
     
  9. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    I would think possum rather than coon. In my experience, coons eat the head, so you dont usually see a trace of it around. The people I know with birds and possum attacks all say that the heads are left on, and the breast meat is eaten. Coons eat practically the whole bird.
     
  10. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    East Tennessee
    Coon would eat the head. Was the pen secured? If so, was a climber or an aerial pred. I do not know if a possum would climb a 6 ft fence but a coon would. May be if after dark, an owl. But the other birds head was in the mouth of some land pred that could climb. A fox can climb a 6 ft fence as can a coyote and some dogs.

    No doubt you need to electrify that coop. Could do a hot wire on the very top of the fence too. Nail them as they cllimb over. That will most likely eliminate all ground preds and you will only have to put up with owls or hawks. Mine is electrified and I also do a nightly lockdown at dusk. No way do I trust that electricity will not fail some night or a tree maybe blow down and crush the fence.
     

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