Barn CSI (Warning: Bloody Photos)

This morning I found evidence of a murder in our barn.  Above is the outside and top of the door to our chicken pen.  Note that the blood is still quite red and liquid and drips down the front of the door.  There was no blood trail leading away from the door and no arterial stray seen.

This next photo is of the top of the wall between the chicken pen and the pregnant sheep pen.  Again it looks like there is fresh blood and dripping on the wall this time toward the chicken pen but no blood found in the sheep pen itself.

Next is a photo of the base of the door to the chicken pen.  There are a few thin feathers that appear to be side feathers from one of our Phoenix roosters.  There is a little pooling of blood at the base of the door but no trail.

But there is no DB.  So what does this evidence point too?  Do I have a bird of prey that flew into our barn, attacked a chicken roosting there and then flew out of the barn with it?  It would be unusual for a bald eagle to want to fly through a barn door but maybe if it was hungry enough.  And we have smaller hawks and owls here too.  What about a racoon or possum?  Can they scale walls like this and kill a roosting chicken?  Can they pull it away from the barn without leaving a trail?  What about rodents?  We certainly have them but they have plenty of chicken food they can eat and would they attack a full-sized chicken?  What about a bobcat or cougar?  I would think they would try for a goat or sheep instead of a chicken? The last suspects are the other roosters.

Our young roosters are almost 6 months old.  I did witness a fight today in the barn.  Could a rooster fight have led to a badly injured bird that then limped away to hide and die and I cannot find him?  I guess I will now that answer in a few days, if you know what I mean.  Could this be the murder weapon?

While I was examining the evidence I heard footsteps from above me.  I was kind of freaked out that maybe the murderer was up there.  But then I saw this:

It was just the peahen walking on the roof.

So what do you guys think we are dealing with here?  I would especially like to hear from those of you that have dealt with chicken predators before.  I would like to know what we are up against.

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9 Responses to Barn CSI (Warning: Bloody Photos)

  1. Krista M says:

    Hmm,hard to say. I would suspect a bobcat or cougar, bobcat could get in and out with little to no visible tracks, BUT there shouldn’t be blood all over from a bobcat. So that would lead me to believe it’s a raccoon or something of that nature. Can’t imagine roos attacking roos and not having one dead right there. Good luck on your hunt. I know this is aggravating, which is why we borrowed the hunting cam, I would highly suggest doing that or putting on the baby monitor and listening.

  2. margaret says:

    Id say maybe a weasel or a coon
    Sorry about your chix

  3. Tammy says:

    I’ve had some trouble with a hawk this year. First time in 20 plus years. Actually flew into the hen house via the little chicken door! But it sounds like your attack took place in the night, so couldn’t be a hawk. Good luck figuring it out before anyone else gets taken.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Tammy! It seemed so fresh that it could have happened this morning. I wonder about a hawk or an owl with no evidence of the chicken being drug out of the barn. Thanks for your help trying to figure this out. What did you do about the hawk?

  4. Jackie Craw says:

    You said there is no dead body. Have you counted heads to see if all are there? We had a similar situation about a month ago. About the same amount of blood, it was a lot, and dripping down the sides of the wall. We looked all over for the chickens that roosted there. We found them all, and one had a broken toenail. It bled a lot. It took a while for us to get it stopped. We bandaged it and kept it in the house for the day. I was surprised at how much blood a broken toenail can produce. You might want to check the chickens for a broken toenail.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Jackie! I am embarrassed to say I am not sure how many chickens we have anymore. I am not noticing any obvious absences though. I have looked at all the chickens running around and have not noticed any bleeding, but maybe tonight I’ll go out and look more closely at their feet when they’re roosting. A broken toenail would be the best answer to the case.

  5. Liz says:

    I have no input re: a suspect, but I love the feet on the roof! I remember when Midwife Mary heard something on her roof and freaked a little. Then she saw a raccoon walk across the skylight.

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