Pekin killed

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Pekin killed

Postby lindypops » 08 Jul 2015, 14:06

Hello, my first post.

I wonder if anyone can give me any advice as to what has killed my Partridge Pekin bantam yesterday.

I have 10 mixed breed bantams and small breed hens plus a Welsummer cockerel, running on a yard with electric fencing, about 30 metres by 15. Since the fencing went in about 8 years ago I have never had a problem.

Yesterday afternoon I came back and found the body of the Pekin lying in the open. It appears to be very macabre but her neck had been skinned from the body to the top of her skull; think of 'de gloving', just leaving the exposed tissues of the naked neck. In addition her chest cavity had been ripped open and all of her inside organs were missing - oh dear feeling faint! There were no other signs of damage except for one deep puncture mark underneath one wing. It all looks rather 'surgical' if that makes sense? Surprisingly there were only a few feathers but then it was exceedingly windy yesterday. Also the other hens didn't seem unduly disturbed. Perhaps they were a bit quiet but that may be my imagination.

I do have a photograph but it may be considered too gruesome for posting?

I don't think it was a fox or a badger although we have plenty of those. Surely a mink or stoat would have tried to take the body and don't they take the heads off?

I'm thinking a bird of prey? We are in Buckinghamshire and have red kites, buzzards, all three owls and also sparrowhawks etc which (until yesterday!) I have always been very happy to see. Is this killing pattern consistent with perhaps a female sparrowhawk?

If this is the case then I feel it will be difficult to stop it happening again as it's too large an area to roof in. I'm also feeling partially responsible because until this last weekend the area had been very long with summer growth and in an effort to tidy the area up we had strimmed it all only leaving a few bushes and shrubs for them to shelter under.

Any thoughts or advice would be very much appreciated - thank you.
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Re: Pekin killed

Postby Moriarty » 08 Jul 2015, 19:45

So sorry for your loss but my first thought was also that a hawk might have been responsible, eating what it could as the chicken would be too heavy to carry back. I'm not sure what advice to offer to deter birds of prey ... hopefully somebody else will come along with some better ideas.
my chooks: Sage&Onion, Roger the randy cockerel, Squawkbox, Bonnie 'N' Clyde, Pancakes, Custard, Omelette & EggNog. Plus four garden cats and another half dozen feral ones that I feed. And a nursery of pipistrelle bats in the verandah roof ..
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Re: Pekin killed

Postby Fast Farmer » 08 Jul 2015, 20:45

I reckon you have it pretty much sussed out. Agree it sounds like a bird of prey, if you're in the Chiltern area you'll know Red Kites have made a remarkable comeback due to conservation groups and Tiggywinks etc. I know first hand that these groups and Gamekeepers are at odds due to the amount of Pheasants being killed by Kites.......a little Pekin would be easy pickings. I used to be in Bucks but now South Northamptonshire (in the sticks), I still see Kites regularly........and get rather anxious when they circle my run with growing large fowl.

All I can suggest is you buy one of those dummy life-like hawkes and situate it in a prominent position in the run..........Its a method of deterence thats been around for many years.
I wish you luck.
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Re: Pekin killed

Postby CP » 09 Jul 2015, 01:36

So sorry for your loss. :cry:

I would also agree it is probably an airborne predator, though which one exactly I couldn't say.
We also get a few buzzards, red kites, sparrowhawks, etc. & thankfully not had any problems with them but our run has a lot of tree cover plus most of it is also netted.

Some people have had results from hanging old CD's which move & shine in the sunlight, & I remember 1 person used to have a scarecrow in their run, which they said was a good deterrent!

Good luck. ;)
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Re: Pekin killed

Postby lindypops » 09 Jul 2015, 14:48

Thank you so much for your responses. I really like the idea of the dummy hawk I already have a tall post with a metal cockerel 'standing guard" because I thought it looked good and probably does a better job than William, my lazy Wuss of a Welsummer!

I shall replace it with a hawk and hope for the best. I shall also give some thought to the CD's. However I did try that before when we had magpies actually entering the nest boxes to steal eggs. That's a whole other story which was only resolved by using a Larsen trap - horrible things but the only thing that worked.

Thanks once again for your thoughts - wish me luck!
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Re: Pekin killed

Postby Henwife » 09 Jul 2015, 21:40

Sounds like a buzzard. I've had this happen in the past - not a pretty sight, but at least she was dead. String a few old CDs about the place so they catch the light. It is remarkably effective against airborne predators. They are disconcerted by the moving reflections as they catch the sun. Most charity shops have a box of old freebies, available for a donation as they're not allowed to sell them.
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