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Daytime Owl Attack

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Today as usual I came home for my dinner break. It was about 2:30 pm. And as always I went down to check on the chickens and collect any eggs they had left me. As I approached I saw one of my black australorps laying in the lower covered run next to the fence and it was obvious something had been eating on her. My first thoughts was she had stuck her head through the fence and a neighbors dog had gotten her. As I got closer I could see it was a lot more than that gone and she had to have been attacked from inside. To get to where she was you have to go through an open door to the fenced in garden which I have been letting the chickens clean off for the last  month or so. Then you have to go through the upper run and through a small door I have cut in the fence to get to the lower run. This hole is only big enough for chickens to freely go back and forth. Anyway as I got inside I was looking down toward her and heard a flapping. There was a barred owl setting on a perch in the upper run. All my other chickens was inside the pen in a corner. So theres no doubt what happened to my australorp but I have a couple other questions. Isn't is a bit unusual for an owl to be out in the day ? Also I have a Rhode Island Rooster. Am I wrong to think he should have attempted to fight the owl off rather than running and hiding behind the other hens while one of his girls was murdered ? I have always made sure to be home and close off the door to the garden with no top before dark because I know an owl will go inside a pen after chickens but didn't know they came out during the day.

2 barred rock hens, 1 golden comet hen, 1 rhode island red hen, 1 cuckoo maran hen, 1 barnyard mix hen,1 buff orpington  hen, 2 black australorp hens a rhode island red rooster, 5 rhode island red heritage breed pullets and 2 rhode island red heritage breed roosters.
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2 barred rock hens, 1 golden comet hen, 1 rhode island red hen, 1 cuckoo maran hen, 1 barnyard mix hen,1 buff orpington  hen, 2 black australorp hens a rhode island red rooster, 5 rhode island red heritage breed pullets and 2 rhode island red heritage breed roosters.
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post #2 of 9

it is strange to have an owl attack during the day. but it could have been very hungry. if your rooster is usually protective of the hens then he should have protected them but if not then that would explain why he didn't defend them. but most roosters would hide after all it was probably smaller then the owl  

post #3 of 9

I don't know what your weather has been like but many days of rain interfere with their hunting and if it was a young owl, desperate due to poor weather conditions, they will on occasion hunt during daylight.  2:30 is a bit unusual (must be a teenage owl who likes to stay up past their bedtime), as usually they will extend later in the morning or head out earlier than dusk.  Sorry about your loss.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
desperate due to poor weather conditions, they will on occasion hunt during daylight.

Talithahorse sounds like you pretty much nailed it. Today has been dark and cloudy with over 3 inches of rain just today. Hate not to let my chickens in the garden any more but if thats whats going to happen they are better off in the covered runs. At least space isn't a problem for them so they will be much better off that way I guess. I do let them free range a hour or two late in the afternoons if I happen to be home and can stay outside with them the whole time.

2 barred rock hens, 1 golden comet hen, 1 rhode island red hen, 1 cuckoo maran hen, 1 barnyard mix hen,1 buff orpington  hen, 2 black australorp hens a rhode island red rooster, 5 rhode island red heritage breed pullets and 2 rhode island red heritage breed roosters.
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2 barred rock hens, 1 golden comet hen, 1 rhode island red hen, 1 cuckoo maran hen, 1 barnyard mix hen,1 buff orpington  hen, 2 black australorp hens a rhode island red rooster, 5 rhode island red heritage breed pullets and 2 rhode island red heritage breed roosters.
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post #5 of 9

If you keep them under wraps for a few days of good weather,  the predators may not be so desperate and so your losses might be less.  I typically will watch very closely and be more protective when I feel like the predators are likely to be hunting in mass (like after 2-3 days of rain or after a brutal cold snap,  or right after a big storm).  

post #6 of 9
As day length gets shorter and sunlight less intense many owls become increasingly diurnal. Barred owls I see routinely during winter days especially when sky is overcasting. Such day time hunting often associated with wooded areas as they provide protection from more mobile diurnal hawks. My roosters (as full adults only and when not in heavy molt like now) are effective against hawks on ground but with owls I am not so confident about. My birds also in molt this time of year.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #7 of 9

4:30am, 11/11/2015

 

my big Roo and 2 hard headed chickens INSIST on sleeping about 20 foot up in a tree at night. My roo is great about alerting for anything...rabbits, dogs, hawks, etc.

But when I heard the roo going nuts and chicken in distress, I run out and see a HUGE barn owl carrying off one of my good laying chicken:\  Owl dropped her when flashlight hit it, so I was able to recover her poor body.  30 minutes later, the roo is still squawking!  I read on here earlier about changing up outside light routine to thwart the owls, along with chimes in the trees.  I have a predator lite, but I think I have too low. Higher up in the tree?? On the fence under the tree?  I plan on another attempt to capture my roo and hen to put in the coop and tractor.  But that means no more free range for any of them?  I love owls, but DANG IT!

 

very sad to have lost my very best laying hen :(

post #8 of 9
If rooster continued making a racket then he could see owl.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Kravitz View Post
 

4:30am, 11/11/2015

 

my big Roo and 2 hard headed chickens INSIST on sleeping about 20 foot up in a tree at night. My roo is great about alerting for anything...rabbits, dogs, hawks, etc.

But when I heard the roo going nuts and chicken in distress, I run out and see a HUGE barn owl carrying off one of my good laying chicken:\  Owl dropped her when flashlight hit it, so I was able to recover her poor body.  30 minutes later, the roo is still squawking!  I read on here earlier about changing up outside light routine to thwart the owls, along with chimes in the trees.  I have a predator lite, but I think I have too low. Higher up in the tree?? On the fence under the tree?  I plan on another attempt to capture my roo and hen to put in the coop and tractor.  But that means no more free range for any of them?  I love owls, but DANG IT!

 

very sad to have lost my very best laying hen :(

Hello Ms Kravitz and welcome to BYC,


You may need to train your chickens with treats at dusk to encourage them to go into the coop at night. As long as they "insist" on tree roosting you are going to lose more (it's not if, but when). Near dusk take some scratch (or other favorite treat) and sprinkle just outside and some inside the door to the coop while calling them over. Chickens respond well to food. Once you get them in lock them up.

You win some and lose some. When at first you don't succeed: try... try... try... try and try again.

 

How to Provide Emergency and Supportive Care        

Maintaining a Healthy Flock

Chicken Injuries & Diseases

Poop Chart 

Emergency Helpful References & Links

Reply

You win some and lose some. When at first you don't succeed: try... try... try... try and try again.

 

How to Provide Emergency and Supportive Care        

Maintaining a Healthy Flock

Chicken Injuries & Diseases

Poop Chart 

Emergency Helpful References & Links

Reply
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