Topic-icon Murdered Orpington

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06 May 2012 18:48 #31628 by griev

Grr my prize Orpington hen is dead

She was the matriarch of my lot. She was nice and big, she laid a lovely big - (avg 75gm) egg 4-5 days/week,

She was found dead mid morning!

I am very very angry, something has had it by her neck, killed her and then started eating her abdomen.

By the look of all the feathers, she didn't go without a fight, and it is possible that when I let Penny (our dog) out (approx 0930hrs) that she (Penny) disturbed the intruder as when I looked for and found her shortly after, she was still warm.

Her final gift to me was an egg that she would have been soon about to lay, the perpetrator didn't get that far into her to have it before being disturbed off.

The offender has underestimated the tenacity of the egg gathers in finding the culprit, technology will be your undoing! please just revisit the scene of the crime!

Revenge will be swift and brutal!


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06 May 2012 19:02 #423990 by Stikkibeek

Well that's a bitter blow. I sure hope you catch the murderous critter that did this, or your other hens will not be safe.


Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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06 May 2012 20:22 #424015 by griev

we will CCTV etc oh and OO...


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06 May 2012 22:01 #424027 by Simkin

Very sorry to hear this. Ferret or harrier is my guess.

Ferret kills by biting the neck but is mainly active during and after dusk, harrier eats gut first and hunts during the day.

You need a trap asap because if it is a ferret it you were lucky it killed only one chook.

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06 May 2012 22:15 #424028 by griev

Hi Simkin

I don't think it was a Ferret as the hen was killed in daylight, and i understand them to be more like bloodsuckers and don't necessarily engorge themselves on the body, the gnawing signs were not typ bird like pecking etc so I though about a hawk or other such raptor, but the damage just didn't add up, they have a distinctive look to them, these looked more like chewing as dog, cat or other small animal.

But we will see

Know anyone with a big lovely EGG LAYING - (not show) black Orpington hen?

the neck was a mess as if it had been shaken about and chewed on as well, I would like to see a ferret do that as she was a big hen


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06 May 2012 22:27 #424030 by Simkin

griev;421699 wrote: the neck was a mess as if it had been shaken about and chewed on as well, I would like to see a ferret do that as she was a big hen

This excludes the harrier /hawk.

We've lost a fully grown pair of Sebastopol Geese to a ferret and an Orpington hen is easy prey for them. Ferrets do eat the bird, often intestines first but if the neck was chewed I'd suspect a dog, too.

A ferret does very little visible damage to the neck.

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06 May 2012 23:07 #424035 by griev

Yes I do suspect a dog, i am very suspect of a neighbours dog, I do admit after the last episode with it, we have had no issues with that dog again - not that I am surprised as the owners were delivered the message that it will be destroyed on sight if it is seen on the property again 'have a nice day'.


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07 May 2012 06:43 #424038 by RichardW

Sad news griev,ferrets still do get around in the daylight if the are hungry.

i had one get a hen about a week ago and it ate the head first,luckily i went outside to car for something and heard the hens going off,i let the dog out and she killed it before it killed any more


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07 May 2012 06:48 #424039 by Trace

Sorry to hear about your hen griev.

Simkin I'd always thought my orpy's would be relatively safe from hawks (because of their huge size), so that's an eye opener for me.

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07 May 2012 08:57 #424052 by Simkin

Trace;421711 wrote: Sorry to hear about your hen griev.

Simkin I'd always thought my orpy's would be relatively safe from hawks (because of their huge size), so that's an eye opener for me.


The harriers who killed adult Orpington roosters at our place were very skilled at doing so. Not many harriers have learnt to kill prey 12 times heavier than themselves.

The best thing anyone can do to not 'train' harriers to take chooks is to not let small chooks run around 'free range'. At our place it started with one bantam hen who we let raise her chicks 'free range' as she was a very good mother. However, when one chick stays back and then chirps it attracts all kinds of predators, including harriers. As the chicks grew the harriers learnt to deal with bigger and bigger prey. And as winter approached road kill ran out and they took risks - and always won. Until we bit the bullet and locked all our chooks up into covered runs.

A friend of mine has witnessed a harrier attacking an adult Barred Plymouth Rock rooster but this rooster fought the harrier off. Must have been interesting to watch.

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07 May 2012 09:23 #424062 by RichardW

Good thing our dog wont let harriers land anywhere on our place,for some reason she's got this thing about them, in yet a seagull can fly over and she wont even bother with them.


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07 May 2012 18:42 #424127 by brodie

The last Harrier on our place was trying to kill one of my pigeons-I actively discouraged it from persisting with its folly by means of a well aimed sneaker round the back of the head.Haven't had any trouble so far(touch wood)with them taking the chooks and ducks.Hope you catch whatever it was,losing a pet hen isn't nice.


2 dogs,2 kids,goldfish,20-ish chooks,2 axolytl,2 turtles,Lotsa free-range pigeons, budgies, pekin, cayuga & muscovy ducks + their babies, 5 horses,a cockatoo called Charlie and no money...[:D][:D];)

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07 May 2012 19:04 #424128 by griev

Hi all, well the CCTV is up and running, we do have a Harrier about the place however he doesn't fly too close to the hen house as he is often hurried off by the local magpie clan, if that harrier did the deed, and yes I am suspect on him, them there magpies will be getting treats for defending the hens!


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07 May 2012 19:31 #424133 by Trace

Yep, we find that too! It's our resident pair of magpies that chase off the hawks - however until reading this today (and a previous PM from a member down the road) I hadn't been worried about the hawks getting the chooks because of their huge size.

I do have a huge rooster as well now, so that will probably help keep them at bay.

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07 May 2012 19:55 #424138 by griev

Trace;421824 wrote: Yep, we find that too! It's our resident pair of magpies that chase off the hawks - however until reading this today (and a previous PM from a member down the road) I hadn't been worried about the hawks getting the chooks because of their huge size.

I do have a huge rooster as well now, so that will probably help keep them at bay.

Hi Trace, unfortunately the best guard Rooster we had ended up in the pot due to his umm attitude. I do miss his guarding ability, I am sure he would have made any Hawk run away very quickly!

My other roosters are chickens!- excuse the pun, try scaredy cats! they run faster than their shadow! and they are big too, maybe they might get a bit of balls later on.

My Orpington that was killed was the biggest hen I had, she was huge, I have been only to a few shows and have yet to see one her size, she cert stood out from my other Orpingtons, And her egg was always so big - 75gms avg!

I was down there this morning watching all the hens and roosters running around, and you can tell she is missing, she wasn't the boss, I think she was 2nd in Command, what is odd is that it was her, I wouldn't miss any of the others anywhere near as much, so I assume she was the one that possibly stood up to the intruder and simply came off 2nd best :(


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