Who's the culprit?

North Slope Farmer

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 14, 2010
My 6 Ameraucanas have been happily free-ranging for a year, going into their electrified pen and coop at night. Paradise was lost yesterday when one of my hens was killed during the day. Here's how I unhappily found her: She was behind some bushes, with the feathers and skin stripped off her sides and back and, except for a few small scattered pieces, these parts were gone. Her neck may have been broken. The rest of her was not eaten.
Here are my questions: What animal could have done this? I've seen a feral cat around. Is that a possible culprit? Could I have surprised a predator in the act, which never got to finish its meal? And last of all, can I continue to let my chickens free-range? I hate the thought of confining them full-time, since they love their freedom and I love watching and hearing them as they make their daily rounds.


In the Brooder
10 Years
Oct 29, 2009
I had a similar experience but lost 7 chickens and a duckling during a daylight attack. Everyone thought dog initially but some trapping caught a feral cat and an old raccoon with cataracts - appeared nearly blind. Reminded me that old, weak animals will behave out of character because they are essentially starving. The young might too because of the competition with established adults.

Anyway, sounds very much like a coon to me. I would set up at least one, and preferably a few live traps.


9 Years
Apr 18, 2010
Henderson, NC
sounds like the feral cat to me. Set some traps and see what you come up with.

BTW, if you don't have traps you can contact your local animal control or your cooperative extension agent.

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