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Two of my 4 month Barred Rock pullets have been getting out of the yard.

One came up missing a couple of days ago. There were some feathers outside the chicken yard and nothing else.

This evening my wife found this one outside the yard.
 

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In my experience, when the crop and breast are eaten out first, it's raccoons. Maybe more than one. I've had up to four together in a group terrorize my chicken pens before. I have seen them with my own eyes pounce on a chicken and carry it away in their mouth.

Try to put some DE or powder or something down on the ground around your pen at night and see what footprints show up in the morning. That's the quickest way to find out who your predator is.
 

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driver
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It could have been a hawk or eagle. They will pull the feathers out and eat the meat leaving the entrails. Check the head and see if it has been pecked.
 

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My vote is for a young ****. I don't think it was a predator much bigger otherwise more of the chicken would have been eaten.
 

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If there are birds of prey involved:
If there are some tall trees nearby you can look around at the base for droppings (A white spray) and feathers of a bird of prey. If they are there then use an accurate varmint rifle and pick then off at your leisure.
 

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Something else to check for, and don't everyone go 'oh gross, nasty!'. If you are familiar with the smell raccoons leave behind when they poop, it's a smell you'll never forget. Check the area near the pens for the odor of raccoon poop. If it's there and from overnight or that morning, you'll still be able to smell it. It will be quite strong.

I had problems for years with them until I finally built my pen like Ft. Knox so it is literally impenetrable to raccoons, but I still smell the odor of them when they have been prowling around at night.
 

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trapper
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best thing to use to combat *****, is a dogproof raccoon trap, they will catch ***** and possums, have heard of a skunk getting caught in one. I've used them on my trapline and they work great, 90 times out of 100 I had a **** in a trap, plus they are pet friendly you won't catch snuggles the cat or fido in one. here is a link, http://www.fntpost.com/Categories/Trapping/Traps/Dog+Proof+****+Traps/ just put some bait in them, like marshmellows, I use fish food, for pond coys from tractor supply. anchor them down, set, put in some bait and wait. I use the z-traps, couple of guys i know run duke's. bridgers and freedom brand, haven't heard anything bad about them yet.
 

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Pot-stirring nest-poker!
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Alien abduction. Aliens hate chickens.

Seriously though, that's far too clean a carcase to be a dog or other large predator. It depends upon whether it was eaten where it was killed or was carried away. Most raccoons and possums will eat them where they kill, as will most hawks unless the chickens were small and the hawk could carry them into a tree to eat in peace.

Was there any tree cover where you found the carcase? Can you see any blood on any branches immediately above?

I don't see any feather carnage in the immediate vicinity, which leads me to think the eating happened elsewhere and the carcase was dropped, which would seem to indicate an avian predator.
 

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Numquam Succumbe
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In my experience, if the head wasn't eaten and you found the carcass, it's a bird of prey.

I've lost 40 free range chickens over the last two years in the school of hard knocks, lol. Saw pullets carried off by birds of prey while I watched with my mouth open. And I've seen them perched on top of my free range ladies in the front yard, and the carcass looked exactly like that.

Every time it was a bird of prey the head was still attached, and the body meticulously picked at.

Every time it was a **** the head was missing.

Grey fox was just a trail of feathers. Interestingly, grey fox only hit me during the day. Everyone else was a night.

Coyote was always a whole mess of feathers in one spot and no carcass.

So, my vote is for bird of prey. :)
 

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Your move Sparky...
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What twiggy said...this has been my exact experience as well.
 
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