chicken predators, takes just headgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Last night we forgot to close the chicken coop. The big, valiant rooster did his job of protecting the flock. He's the only one we lost. We found him out in the yard. Whatever killed him had taken only the head. I'm pretty sure there's more than one predator that does this. What ones do you know of? We also lost a clutch of nine eggs one night last week, and I'm wondering whether it could be the same varmint. Thanks for ideas.
-- mary (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2002
Look for tracks in soft / damp ground. Look for hair caught on coop fence. Look for scat of the predator. Usually, a hungry predator like a coyote or wild dog will take the whole carcess but a nasty neighboor's cat or dog may just take the head for the fun of the kill. Also, coons love eggs and are very smart at getting inside a coop. Set up a box trap, Haveheart Trap, or good ol fashion leg hold (where the kids and pets cannot get to it of course).
I thought I read somewhere that members of the weasel family are notorious for just the head removal of chickens...
The eggs may have gone to a snake.
Hoepe this helps. Otter
-- otter360 (email@example.com), April 23, 2002.
check out this page, it is very helpful: http://www.18james.com/rural/predator.html Hope this helps. LQ
-- Little Quacker (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2002.
Racoons have been known for taking just the head. Hope you catch whatever it is! Best wishes.
-- cowgirlone in ok (email@example.com), April 23, 2002.
There are lots of ideas already in the "Poultry (Predators)" section of the "Older Messages" at the bottom of this listing.
-- Don Armstrong (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2002.
owl,, with only the head missing,, and feathers arent ALL over the place,, it was an owl. Something else is taking the eggs
-- Stan (email@example.com), April 23, 2002.
We had a rash of killings where the head was taken, and it was an owl. Dang, I know they gotta eat, but why are they so wasteful?!
-- Shannon at Grateful Acres Animal Sanctuary (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2002.
I'm not sure an owl would go into a chicken coop. I could see if the rooster was outside but inside on the roost? I say it was a raccoon, and I bet he got the eggs too, or a skunk could have gotten the eggs.
-- Susan in MN (email@example.com), April 23, 2002.
Stans right. owl did the rooster in, something else on the clutch of eggs,possible skunk. Regds Bill in SE Mich
-- Bill in SE Mich (Billshsfrm@aol.com), April 23, 2002.
-- milam (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 23, 2002.
Racoons are famous for going for the blood, they can leave a whole coop of dead chickens, with their necks sucked dry. They are so quite that the dog won't bark. A flashlight, duct taped to the '22 and an all night vigule may solve the problem,(a bottle of Yukon, may or may not help)
-- lacyj (email@example.com), April 23, 2002.
Skunk is the only one that will just take the head like that....it will also take eggs. Owls will carry off whatever they kill to eat it.
-- Amanda (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 24, 2002.
I had the same problem several years ago. Anywhere from 1 to 3 chickens would be decapitated at night. Even if I left the body, and it came back, it took another chicken's head and never touched the body. I was tearing down a wooden box that was built into the barn and found all those chicken heads-over 100. All the time this was going on, I had thought my hens had quit laying, but the shells were there to prove they hadn't. What had I stumbled upon? The den of a mink. I lay in wait that night and shot that booger.
-- Gayle in KY (email@example.com), April 24, 2002.
I'm with Gayle. Most probably a weasel, although their relatives (eg. mink) are similar. Mink usually stay fairly close to water, so if you are 1/2 mile or more away from a running water source, it is more likely a weasel. An owl will not fly into the coop, unless it is poorly protected. A weasel will enter anywhere there is more than a 1" opening, maybe less. GL!
-- Brad (Homefixer@SacoRiver.net), April 24, 2002.
Yep, mink or weasel...they always decapitate their prey.
-- Cabin Fever (cabinfever_MN@yahoo.com), April 24, 2002.
Do you folks mean an owl won't fly into the chicken house? I know they will fly into the pen if there is an opening in the top that they can find. They fly in and can't find the opening to get out. Makes a nice owl trap because they are just sitting there, waiting for me to shoot.
Racoons, skunks, weasels -- could be any of them. Set a trap at the opening or sit up all night. Only way to know for sure unless you find tracks you can identify.
-- Robin Downing (Southpawrobin1@aol.com), April 25, 2002.
definitely an owl. had the same problem. owls generally have a territory of about 10 miles.
-- geegee (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 26, 2002.
I've had the same problem with dead chickens in the coop and I used a trap set at a small opening that was just big enough .The next day guess what I found in the trap. Skunk! No more dead chicken's after I dispatch this one. They also like to break eggs and don't eat all of it. I raise 150 laying hens and 200 broiler chickens. the best protection, a tight housing and fenced in yard with top netting works the best to keep out unwanted diner guess.
-- jay minnesota (email@example.com), April 26, 2002.
Well, I'd say Gayle sure got the evidence to prove that at least hers was a mink. But I know that owls will indeed also decapitate and leave it like that.
Funny thing about weasels. They do have a well-deserved reputation as chicken killers, and you sure would think that here on the edge of the tundra there's precious little for them to go after, yet I and my one other chicken-raising 'neighbor' (two houses and twelve miles away) both have them living in absolute harmony with our chickens. Never bothered a one of them - can't say why they prefer the voles etc. that are the ones eating the chicken and dog food - but it's fine by us!
-- Audie (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 27, 2002.