I just had the SCARE of my life!!! (Well, with my chickens anyway!) It gets dark here at about 4:15-4:30. My daughter or I usually go out at 4:30 to close up the coop. Tonight we were late, she went out about 5:15.
Well...there was a FLIPPING OWL IN THE COOP!!!!!! A huge flipping owl! My daughter came yelling back to the house, "An owl, an owl! I can't find the chickens!!!!"
You would never see me move so fast running from the house to the coop!! Just yelling, no, no, no... I get over there and we see that one of our RIR was hiding IN the coop under a ramp. The other 9 chickens were all over the place outside. They free range, no covering except the ground cover which is TONS of ferns, everywhere. The chickens start coming out of cover when they hear me. Think of the munchkins that start coming out of hiding after the Wicked Witch of the West leaves. Funny, when I think back to it, but NOT funny at the time! So I start picking them up and putting them through the coop door one at a time. Big Mama, Nickel, Dime, Shimmer, Rose, Polly, Chickaletta, Lacy...where's DUCK! Nooooo, where's Duck?!?! My precious Splash Andelusian!!! MY baby! She was nowhere to be found! I was frantic! Looking everywhere...somebody get a flashlight!! I'm calling Duck, Duck, Duck looking everywhere! I go further in the woods and then I hear her, she hears me! She's looking for me, but it's dark and she can't see well. I run to her and she's completely freaked, hackle feathers up and everything...but thank the Lord, not injured! Oh thank goodness! All my babies are SAFE! My heart is still pounding!
I'm pretty sure it was a Barred Owl. I didn't see it, but the way my daughter explained it and the size I'm pretty sure that's what it is. We have many owls here in our forest. I see them often hunting in the daytime. Just two weeks ago I saw one grab and fly off with a squirrel.
We don't know what happened before my daughter got there of course. We have two sides to our coop, human side and chicken side. There is a cut out in the chicken side that the owl got through to the human side. So when my daughter walked in it flew up and smacked into the window and then flew out the door. Our dog chased after it as it was flying away. As you read above, none of our chickens were injured and after we got them all in the coop we threw down some BOSS which they happily gobbled up. I seemed to be more shaken than them.
What now?!? Dumb owl knows we have chickens now, knows how to walk through the pop door and will probably come back! Only my Chocolate Orpington (Big Mama) is full grown, the rest of the flock is 14 weeks old (on Monday).
Just a repeat from above...they free range, there is no outside run. The part of the coop they live in is 8x17.