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Crows and Chicks

Do corvids take 5 week old chicks? One of my first time Mums just lost her only chick. I heard the scream but by the time I got there there was no sign but a black corvid type flew off. They were in the courtyard, very few foxes here and the birds of prey usually take them in the field not in a walled courtyard. Like most of my mums I expect by the time she gets to second and third batch of chicks she will be more canny and watchful.

I've seem Magpies take down an adult blackbird, so feasible.

Lots of recently fledged corvids around trying to fend for themselves right now. At least round here it's just trashing the big bags.

corvids will hunt as well as scavange

I've known big rats take fully feathered five week chicks.
But I've never known them to do it in daylight.
Big corvids like carrion crows, rooks & ravens could easily kill a chick that age & carry it off, but I've never experienced any trouble with them myself.
Are you sure it's not a member of the weasel tribe?

I haven't seen any weasel types at my place but it is possible. Not a lot I can do about it really I guess. I can't be watching all the time and it is the price they pay for being free range.

I'm pretty sure we lost two chicks to a pair of crows some years back, mum was crossing the paddock with a cluster of chicks, I heard her yell, two crows were on the ground near the family in longish grass (blocked my view a bit) and then two chicks were missing. After that mum was a total sergeant major for keeping her family in the cover of the hedges, and yelled warnings any time a crow was anywhere near. No more lost.

I once saw a crow kill a London pigeon in a park. Grabbed it round the neck - I looked over and there was the crow with its beak across the neck and the pigeon's head flopping over.

Weasels - they will take chicks too, as will rats. You can often not see weasels even though they are around.

Other than that, yes, free range chicks do go missing. The survivors are often pretty canny.
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