Can anyone explain this?
We have Rhode Island Reds - just a few. We had nine and a rooster until last night. Yesterday my dh let the chickens out to forage and romp as he usually does. Later he rounded them up in the pen and counted them to make sure all were home. They were.
This morning he went out and found two chickens out of the pen. One was standing by the gate...casually waiting to get to the feed trough. The other was over in the back yard. She was plucked completely - not one feather anywhere but no bite marks...no blood...no disfigurement of any kind. There was a line of feathers across the yard to where she was and there she was...dead, naked but unmarked.
We have two dogs - an Australian Shepherd who herds the chickens gently when they are out and an Australian Cattle Dog who ignores them completely. The chickens are out often in the yard and the dogs don't chase them or pay much attention at all. Our Aussie will very quietly nudge them out of the flower beds - she knows from flower beds. But neither dog has ever been agressive toward the chickens.
The Cattle Dog has caught and eaten rabbits out in the woods. He did NOT skin them first. He was not neat about it. He takes care of all the moles and voles around the garden. But he isn't polite about eating them. Blood, gore, hair, hide and all. He leaves the bits on the lawn to roll on. It's his thing. Would he have plucked this chicken neatly and then left it uneaten? I don't think so.
What animal would do that? I didn't see the chicken - had to go to work early - but dh said it was cleanly plucked without a feather anywhere. Not even on its head or wings. It was completely naked but unmarked.
If it wasn't our dogs then why did they not alert? They are out there guarding the property. They bark when anything or anyone comes too near but I heard nothing - and I was awake a lot last night because it was cold, the window was open (just above where the chicken was found) and I couldn't get comfortable in my bed. Why didn't I hear anything? What in the world happened here?
Help. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone.