American Farm and Larder at Amy's Farm

7698 Eucalyptus Avenue

Ontario California 91762

Feed pick-up locations are offered throughout riverside, orange, and san Bernardino counties.
FEED PICK-UP HOURS at Amy's farm:
Monday through Friday by appt, 
Saturday 9am until noon (by appointment after noon). 
Please check the Calendar page or call for other locations, days, and times.

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What Killed My Chicken?

May 20, 2019

Did something get one or more of your chickens? Naturally, you want to know what it was and, more importantly, how to prevent it from happening again. We need to know all the possible killers and go through a series of questions to figure out what did it.


Examples of Land Predators:

Fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, rat, feral pig, dog, people, bear, coyote, 

snake, bobcat, cat, weasel, wolf, and tiger.


Examples of Aerial Predators:

Hawk, owl, eagle, and crow (usually only go after chicks or small breeds). 


That’s a pretty exhaustive list of all the possibilities, and yes, there are more.

But, how can you possibly tell what killed your bird?


Here’re a series of questions to help narrow down the possibilities…



Did it happen at night or in the day?

Night – Human, fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, rat, feral pig, bear, coyote, bobcat, weasel, wolf, snake, dog, tiger, or an owl.


Day – Human, bear, dog, snake, cat, weasel, hawk, eagle, or crow.  


Are chickens missing and leaving no signs of their death?

Human, snake, owl, eagle, hawk, coyote, pig, bear, tiger or wolf. If it’s a small chicken, it could have been a snake.


Is the head gone (and maybe some innards) and everything else is left behind?

Think raccoon, hawk, owl, or eagle.


Are guts scattered all over the place? 

Consider opossum or a weasel.


Is the bird gone, but there are feathers left? 

It could have been a fox, coyote, feral pig, bear, tiger, or a wolf.


Are the inside of the eggs gone and the shells cracked? 

It’s most likely a skunk.


Are the eggs completely gone? 

Almost definitely a snake but could be a rat or a human.


Is the chicken seemingly unharmed? 

This bird probably died from its own health issues.


But all these killers can be narrowed down to just 2 things!

Land predator or aerial predator…


Most killers roam around at night, so it’s going to be essential to secure the flock at night. For the daytime aerial attacks, securing netting or shade cloth is a smart option.


 Mobile Chicken Coop is available at American Farm and Larder!


What Killed My Chicken?

Clue                                                                                   Possible Predator


One or two birds killed --

Entire chicken eaten on site                                                                     Hawk


Bites in breast or thigh, abdomen eaten, entire bird eaton on site         Opossum


Deep marks on head on head and neck, or head and neck eaten, maybe feathers around the fence post                                                                                                           Owl


Entire chicken eaten or missing, maybe scattered feathers                    Coyote


One bird gone, maybe scattered feathers                                                Fox


Chicks pulled into fence, wings and feet not eaten                                 Domestic cat


Chicks killed, abdomen eaten (but not muscles and skin), maybe lingering odor                                                                                                                                                    Skunk


Head bitten off, claw marks on neck, back, and sides; body partially covered with litter



Bruises and bites on legs                                                                         Rat


Backs bitten, heads missing, necks and breasts torn, breasts and entrails eaten; bird pulled into fence and partially eaten; carcass found away from housing, maybe scattered feathers



Several birds killed —

Birds mauled but not eaten; fence or building torn into; feet pulled through cage bottom and bitten off                                                                                                            Dog


Bodies neatly piled, killed by small bites on neck and body, back of head and neck eaten



Birds killed by small bites on neck and body, bruises on head and under wings, back of head and neck eaten, bodies neatly piled; faint skunk-like odor



Rear end bitten, intestines pulled out                                                    Fisher, marten


Chicks dead; faint lingering odor                                                          Skunk


Heads and crops eaten                                                                        Raccoon


One bird missing —

Feathers scattered or no clues                                                Bobcat, cougar (aka catamount,                                                                                                    mountain lion, panther, puma), fox, hawk, owl


Fence or building torn into, feathers scattered                                     Dog


Small bird missing, lingering musky odor                                             Mink


Several birds missing —

No clues.                                                                                       Coyote, hawk, human


Feathers scattered or no clues                                                              Fox


Chicks missing, no clues                                                                      Snake


Small birds missing, bits of coarse fur at coop opening                      Raccoon


Chicks or young birds missing                                                             Cat, rat


Eggs missing —

No clues                                                                                      Human, rat, snake, squirrel


Empty shells in and around nests                                            Dog, mink, opossum, raccoon


Empty shells in nest or near housing                                                    Crow, jay


No clues or empty shells in and around nests, maybe faint lingering odor



All of these killers can be narrowed down to just two things: Land predator or aerial predator. Most killers roam around at night, so it’s going to be essential to secure the flock at night. For the daytime aerial attacks, securing netting or shade cloth or using a chicken coop are smart options. 


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