What would kill a chicken and then leave it completely untouched?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sparkleyhead, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Sparkleyhead

    Sparkleyhead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2013
    So yesterday I was heart broken to find my sliver laced Cochin bantam rooster, Fancy, dead in my yard. I for the life of me can't figure out what killed him. The theory that I am currently running with is that a hawk or something tried to pick him up, but either didn't have a good grip or he was too heavy and then dropped him and he landed on his head and broke is neck. When I did my chicken autopsy I could only find one small puncture near his tail that looked like a talon and then a few tiny superficial bloody patches where some feathers had been. What would kill a chicken and then just leave it? Any thoughts guys?

    Several times his week I have seen 2 big birds of prey (solid dark brown underneath) circling over my backyard. My neighbor up the street who also has chickens has seen them too and thought them to be hawks. But when I looked up hawks and eagles native in Maryland, none of them had a solid brown coloring underneath except for the Golden Eagle. First, may I state that I'm surprised golden eagles are even on that list and secondly, I seriously doubt that I have a mating pair of golden eagles scoping out my house. If I did, I wouldn't know whether to feel honored or terrified. I also thought they might be vultures, which would fit the size and dark coloring, but these birds were far too majestic and circling low and clearly hunting.

    I live in southern Anne Arundel county, Maryland if that helps with narrowing down different species.

    Oh yeah and for an amusing, dramatic visual, as soon as I scooped up my dear dead Fancy, it stared to pour down rain.
  2. Krazzy

    Krazzy Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 27, 2013
    my guess would be a dog, or coopers hawk. sorry for your loss.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  3. chickenboy190

    chickenboy190 Overrun With Chickens

    May 31, 2013
    Weasels will kill the animal and drink/suck it's blood so it won't eat it and it will look like nothing touched it.So sorry about your loss [​IMG]
  4. youngchooklover

    youngchooklover Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 10, 2013
    yo momma
    [​IMG] hope the overs are ok.
  5. Sparkleyhead

    Sparkleyhead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2013
    Thanks guys :) He has been buried next to our other family pets. Thankfully the others are all safe and sound. My step dad scared off a hawk watching my chickens with a bb gun today so hopefully he will think twice before hanging out at my house! I also have two more 5 month old roosters that are just starting to figure out what they are. I'm hoping that they will eventually scare some predators off.
  6. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Below find a video of a red tail hawk and two turkey vultures, the three looks like they are jousting over territory.

    Notice how the hawk has a buff under belly while the vulture's belly is much darker.

    Also look that while on the wing that a vulture carries its wings higher on its body than a hawk does. While gliding or soaring a vulture's profile from right to left resembles that of the letter V, A hawk on the other hand is more like a straight line or a slash.

    This may be the best look of a red tail hawks' name sake (its tail) that I have ever seen except for in person.


    I hope this helps some of you backyarders.
  7. smarsh

    smarsh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    lexington, KY
    You may have interrupted a hawk and not know it. A hawk will not try to carry off a live chicken, so it would have been killed first. And very seldom will they carry off the dead animal either, at least not before consuming most or some. Most birds of prey would have trouble carrying a rooster, even a bantam.
  8. Sparkleyhead

    Sparkleyhead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2013
    But would a hawk leave him there for two hours without coming back? I let them out just before 8 and when I came back out at 10 he was already dead and rigor had set in.
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Since chickens, especially bantam chickens are able to fly, I don't think that your rooster died from a broken neck because a hawk dropped your rooster on his head.

    After capturing a chicken if a hawk is anything he is exhausted. Your roo likely died from shock and or internal blood loss in the grip of the hawk, then the hawk was frightened off, likely by you. The other possibility is slow strangulation from the hawk squeezing the rooster's wind pipe and large blood vessels in his neck.
  10. Sparkleyhead

    Sparkleyhead Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2013
    There was no blood anywhere though and his head was under him at a funky angle. Plus he had already been sitting out there long enough for rigor mortis to set in when I found him. Unless hawks come back hours later to eat their kill, I don't think I scared anything off. I do believe that a heart attack is possible though.

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