What Animal Bites Heads Off Chickens

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Chickens are domestic animals that live among people, in farms and poultries. Chickens are not wild animals, but they can become aggressive in the face of imminent danger. And despite their gentleness, some predators still hunt down chickens. It is, therefore, interesting to find out what animal bites head off chickens without provocation?

Animals most likely to kill a chicken by biting its head off are owls, raccoons, and hawks. Other predators like foxes, coyotes, and dogs do not necessarily care about chicken heads. Chickens are at a disadvantage because of their tiny heads and larger body.

Hence, it is an easy snatch for a predator that does not want to bother itself with the weight of the chicken.

There are several reasons why the head of a chicken is the most sumptuous for some predators. Therefore, we will consider why and what animal bites heads off chickens in the remaining sections of this article.

What Animal Bites Heads Off Chickens

Chickens are harmless animals that are often domesticated by many. They eat seeds, insects, and small animals like earthworms. And while some keep them as pets, others rear them for their meat and eggs for commercial and consumption purposes. For this reason, poultry farming has become very popular among people to meet the general demands for chicken meat and eggs in society.

Despite the efforts of poultry farmers and other chicken owners to protect their flocks, many chickens have been found dead and headless around farm settlements. This clearly indicates that some predators who enjoy eating chicken heads are hunting chickens in their surroundings. 

what animal bites the heads of chickens

Those predators include foxes, owls, raccoons, hawks, coyotes, and cats. But why would any animal prefer the head of a chicken to its delicious body that most humans crave? Let us keep reading to find out.

Although rats don’t bite the heads of chickens, they are a nuisance. If you feel you have pests such as rats then the article, do chickens attract rats may be the answer you are looking for.

Why Do Foxes Bite the Heads Off Chickens

Foxes are nocturnal animals that often prey on chickens at night. They usually use a pouncing technique to catch their prey. They crouch down to camouflage and then use their hind legs to leap up with force and pounce on their prey.

Generally, foxes kill more than they can eat, store up their kills, or bury them for later. Therefore, they tend to bite off chicken heads in their attempt to kill as many birds as they can in a frenzy when lucky enough to encounter a flock of chickens.

Foxes usually attack a bird at the throat, but sometimes, it kills a chicken by dealing several bites to the neck and the back of the chicken. The fox will carry the dead chicken away to its den most of the time, leaving drops of blood and feathers for the owner to find.

Why Do Owls Eat Chicken Heads

Chickens are species of birds that are not capable of long-distance flight. They are slow, non-aggressive and they move around together in a flock. These qualities have made them desirable targets for other species of birds that can fly long distances and descend at will.

Owls and hawks are birds that have a thing for chicken heads. It is the easiest target for them as compared to the whole chicken. And they have an advantage over the land birds because they can swoop down and snap off the head of an unsuspecting chicken with their sharp talons. 

And aside from chicken heads being an easy target for the flying predators, Owls also eat chicken heads because they enjoy eating brains. Brains are high in protein and essential fats. Owls have been seen hunting chickens during the day and likewise at night.

Why Do Raccoons Only Eat Chicken Heads

Raccoons are small, round, and fuzzy animals with bushy tails and black fur around their eyes. They lurk around in the dark at night because they are nocturnal animals. They have very sharp claws and teeth with which they attack their prey. Raccoons are seen as clever animals, and no chicken can stand a chance against them.

Raccoons aim for the heads of chickens because they usually attempt to drag the chicken through the coop with their heads when they try to kill the bird. Raccoons only feed on the bird’s head, chest, and crop and leave the body for their owners to find.

Best Way to Protect Chickens from Predators

Due to the risk of untimely death and attacks posed for the chickens, the only way to keep the flocks safe is to protect them from dangerous predators.

Foxes are one of the main predators to chickens and I wrote a whole guide on ways to keep foxes away from chickens

There are a number of ways to provide a safe environment for the flocks; some of them are highlighted below;

  • Create an enclosed space for your chickens, erect a fence around the space where you plan to keep your chickens. Or you can also use a wired fence with tiny holes that cannot let through a chicken’s head.
    You can buy premade chicken coop runs but, honestly, the steel wire gauge is usually pretty weak and probably wont prtect your chickens from predators. I would reccomend using something like this 23 gauge galvanized steel mesh (Amazon link) and create your own chicken run.
  • To protect against flying animals, cover the chicken run with a welded wire fencing.
  • Always shut the chicken coop door every night once the birds have settled.
  • Make sure to carry out routine checks regularly around the fence and mend any loose or deteriorated areas to avoid penetration by crawling and digging animals.
  • Consider providing night light that will flood the run after dark. It will help deter nocturnal animals and keep chickens safe during the night. I love this motion activated with flashing LED light and sound (Amazon link) for day and night protection against predators


Unfortunately, even though they are calm, chickens tend to lose their heads if other animals high up in the food chain visit. While chickens are perceived as meals for most higher animals, keeping them safe by their owners is the only way to rear them successfully.

What Animal Bites Heads Off Chickens? Owls, raccoons, and hawks are likely culprits of biting a chickens head off.

To avoid finding your chickens devoured by predators, dead, and lying headless around your farms, it is essential to take precautionary measures. Protecting your flocks against animals that bite heads off chickens will help eliminate the threats to your investments. 

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