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UPDATE#4(last post)- Sad hens? SAW THE FOX THAT killed my chickens

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  • UPDATE#4(last post)- Sad hens? SAW THE FOX THAT killed my chickens

    I came home to carnage yesterday.

    Left my little freerange flock as usual around 9A, got home at 6P and they did not come running at the sound of my car,as is their habit, to mug me for treats.
    Just one hen in the backyard, and a huge pile of downy feathers - from the color I knew they belonged to the rooster.

    I followed this trail and found his body, along with 2 of my hens - one my "pet" Houdan - in the bushes they like to hide under to get out of the sun or away from hawks (when rooster sounded the alarm).

    All three had their necks broken and the rooster had been chewed (stomped?) on his back, no other sign of any fight or major wounds. One hen had a puncture on her breast, but not bloodied and she was a white hen (Delaware).
    It looked like the rooster put up a fight, but the hens seemed to have been attacked while they were hiding or just resting - no struggle apparent.

    The four survivors were shaken, but came out of hiding and let me put them into their coop w/fenced yard.
    They will stay there today and maybe from now on.
    Saddest thing was the little white (mutt) hen who grew up with the rooster since I got them as day old chicks, flew onto the window sill and called. I just know she was looking for her pal & protector - the rooster.
    The most upset of the others was the Black Star who hung around with my Houdan.
    Noone can tell me these two were not grieving : (

    If this was not an attack by a dog I'm afraid it could have been a human predator.
    If so, I hope the rooster got in some good licks before he died.
    What else would do this kind of killing and not drag away or eat the kill?

    I am saddened and a little frightened someone would come onto my property, if indeed this was not done by an animal.
    Last edited by 2DogsFarm; Oct. 3, 2012, 07:56 AM.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

  • #2
    To me it sounds like a dog. Perhaps the owner found the dog and removed it before it could eat any or kill all of them.


    • #3

      My cousin had a Gordon retriever for a short time. He would "retrieve" her guinea hens, dead, with no marks on them. He never ate them, just brought them to her.

      She rehomed the dog to a bird hunter. It wasn't fair to punish the dog for what had been a natural instinct, but wasn't fair to the birds to keep it.


      • #4
        So very sorry this happened. It is too bad but I think if you want to protect them you can't let them free range. What a shame.
        What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


        • #5
          I lost my flock of 4 to a fox years ago...Our 9 year old daughter witnessed the carnage (she became a vegetarian that day and still is, 24 years later). That fox killed them all and left them strewn around the lawn. Next dawn, he came slinking back looking for them. Wretched thief.

          Of COURSE they were grieving-why on earth shouldn't they? Poor things.....I'm sorry. It is so sad.

          You don't really think a human could have/would have done this, do you? I'd call CSI........
          Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


          • #6
            I'm guessing dog too. I'm so sorry this happened to you and your chickies.
            You are what you dare.


            • Original Poster

              I'm starting to think dog too - since a dog will shake a bird's neck then drop the "toy" once it stops moving.
              My neighbors have dogs, but I've never seen them offleash.

              I'll probably keep the hens in their fenced yard & let them out for some supervised playtime when I'm home.
              Too bad since they were doing a nice job on the piles in my pastures.

              Your poor daughter!

              I'm glad I did not witness their ends and that they were left for me to find - no matter how sad, at least I know.
              The rooster may have suffered some, but the hens most likely died quickly.

              What made me think human was the way the hens were just laid out - necks skewed, not a mark on my pet and just one wound on the other hen.
              But if a wellfed dog killed for sport then it makes sense.
              I think they sadly chose a bad place to hide from the fight and wound up "sitting ducks"

              Whatever it was is certainly wearing some battle wounds today - that rooster had some spurs on him!
              *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
              Steppin' Out 1988-2004
              Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
              Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


              • #8
                I'm so sorry you lost your chickens. When this has happened to me it seems it's always been my most favorites of the flock.
                I would guess a dog as well. But I have had foxes around too. The foxes will grab and then start tearing out feathers. They don't take the chicken far. I've been close by when it's happened and have followed the feather trail, yelling. I have been able to find the still alive hen and bring her back home.
                Dogs do it for sport. Once the chicken stops running and squawking, because it's dead, the dog loses interest and moves on to the next.
                I use to free range my birds but got tired providing living McNuggets to the predators. Mine are in a big pen closer to my house and I


                • #9
                  This breaks my heart I vote dog too. How sad the chickens paid the price for what is probably someone's pet dog who got out or is always out and roaming. How sad you may well have to keep them in their coop for fear the dog will come back. If it's truly someone's dog who gets let out in the morning to do whatever, then he WILL come back.

                  Can you set up a large pen with electric bird fencing so they have more room?
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • #10
                    I won't free range for this reason. Period. I am so sorry you lost your chickens

                    I've lost 3 over the last 9 years to hawks, so it might have been a hawk--that carnage sounds familiar.
                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                    • #11
                      I vote dog as well.

                      I had a young hen killed the other night by a skunk. I free-range my chickens, but make sure they are up at night. This one hen must have been moving around when I checked the chickens because I didn't see her out. The skunk caught her in the hay barn and I found her body not far from there, partially eaten. Judging by the smudged foot prints in blood and the slight smell, I'm assuming it was a skunk. I havent' had any trouble since then, but have still been checking to make sure everyone is up, added another light, and have let my GSDx out to urinate around the area. That tends to keep the predators at bay fairly well. Thanks to MistyBlue for the idea.
                      Rhode Islands are red;
                      North Hollands are blue.
                      Sorry my thoroughbreds
                      Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                      • #12
                        I would let your neighbor with the dogs know your chickens were attacked.

                        Maybe they know something or heard something.


                        • #13
                          Leaf again, sorry my mouse is having problems, and posted before I was finished. I lock my birds securely in the coop at night.
                          Wild predators are one thing, but I detest dog owners who allow their dogs to free range.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
                            I would let your neighbor with the dogs know your chickens were attacked.

                            Maybe they know something or heard something.
                            Good idea, and at the same time, without being accusatory, you can plant it in everyone's head that if you find out who did it, you will be requesting reimbursement, and if you see the dog around your place again, they might not get it back. You can put that idea out there without making it sound like THEIR dog did it.
                            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                            • #15


                              • #16
                                I agree with Jan-it might be coyotes also, or feral dogs. It might be good to check with the neighbor with dogs, because if their dogs have been upset lately it might be about a roaming coyote or dog and their dogs might be barking more or reacting to some wandering animal.
                                You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                • #17
                                  I second the skunk theory. I once lost the hens in my coop to a skunk. It was just like the carnage you described. It takes some doing to secure hen houses and yards from small vermin, but it can be done. Free range while home, keep them up while at work.


                                  • #18
                                    Do you have bears in you area?
                                    My friend got her whole flock decimated (save 2) in a similar fashion by a bear last year.
                                    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                                    • Original Poster

                                      OMG! No bears here!

                                      I am in a waaaaay-too-civilized part of the countryside for any predator that large
                                      The McMansion sub-divisions have used up most of the forested land near me.
                                      Four - count 'em! - have gone up in ther 8 years since I moved here.
                                      TG, the neighbors nearby are all acreages too small to subdivide.

                                      Would fox attack in daylight?
                                      And leave what they killed?
                                      If a fox thought it would come back later for takeout - HA!
                                      Bodies are waiting disposal in my garage now. Trash pickup is Friday.
                                      I would bury, but really, why?
                                      Even my sweet little Houdan is just feathers and flesh now.

                                      We do have coyotes - saw one in my large pasture maybe 25' from the barn about a month ago.
                                      But do they hunt in daytime?
                                      And again: would they leave a - for the most part - untouched kill?

                                      I do close up the coop at night.
                                      The flock puts themselves to bed as soon as the sun starts to set - lately around 7P.
                                      Coop is attached to a 20X30 fenced yard roofed with netting.
                                      Door from coop to yard is double-protected with hardware cloth and chicken wire behind that.
                                      The only window has a metal grate over it on the outside.
                                      Nothing - except rats - has gotten in there in the 3 years I've had them.

                                      Neighbors all work like me, so nobody home to hear or see, but I will ask when I see them.
                                      The only stay-at-home has a tendency to spin tales, so I won't ask her.
                                      She is also the self-proclaimed overseer/caretaker of my place, so if she had heard anything you can bet she would have called by now.
                                      I will ask the neighbors with dogs if their dogs have been agitated lately, but they are very nice and I feel they would have told me if it was one of theirs.

                                      As for reimbursement - I paid $21 for the first 5 as pullets 3 years ago. Then $4 for the 2 chicks 2 years ago.
                                      They were my pets, not my livelihood.
                                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                                      • #20
                                        I think a domestic dog kill would be messier than what you describe. And coyotes hunt whenever they get a chance, especially the suburban variety. If it was a coyote, then maybe it was interrupted after the kill before it could start dining.
                                        You can't fix stupid-Ron White