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Owl IN My Coop!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

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!!!!!!  :ep  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.  

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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post #2 of 9

I'm glad everyone's alright, i would've had a panic attack. Your gonna have to be real careful now! Maybe hang CD/DVD all around i read that helps.

post #3 of 9

I am not all that educated on owl behavior, but always thought that owls searched out small prey like mice.  That  maybe was what the owl was looking for???   They have a superior hearing, that they can hear a mouse or vole that is tunneling under snow.   They fly down and grab precisely right thru the snow surface. ( saw a PBS program about owls)..  Other thing about owls that was said is that they swallow their victim.   They cough out their victims bones back up the throat.   I suppose that it is possible with a mouse, but other food,, larger would be a challenge to swallow whole.  It can be  that the visit was just a scare and nothing more.   According to the program I watched,  If the owl wanted one of your chickens, it would have gotten it.  They are soo precise they hardly ever miss. ?????? (their statement, not mine)  Here where I am there are no owls nearby.  Only thing to do as preventive,  is to  avoid locking coop  LATE..   I know that it sometimes happens.   (happened to me more than once.)  A possible solution is an automatic pop door closer like Ador1  for about 200 bones.

WISHING YOU BEST :thumbsup
 

post #4 of 9
Owls are Very dangerous chicken predator. Barred owls and great horned, I've lost plenty of chickens to owls the big ones will just pick them up and fly off with them.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Makes me ill.  Probably going to have nightmares about owls now.  Mostly what we see around here are Barred Owls.  

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

Reply

"When raising chickens you must think like a chicken...NOT like a human!"

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies-diseases-injuries-before-they-happen 

 

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post #6 of 9
So glad all your babies are safe smile.png

1 Cor 2 : 9      3 John 2      1 John 4 : 4                 

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1 Cor 2 : 9      3 John 2      1 John 4 : 4                 

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post #7 of 9

HaHa I was visualizing the munchkins when you were describing that.  Too funny! :lau

Isn't it amazing that they know it's safe when we are there and start coming out.

Glad everyone is okay...it's not always a happy ending so you are lucky there.

Just because you caught it in a trap, doesn't make it the killer of your chickens.

 

Poo chart:  https://uconnladybug.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/scatlayout_bottom-worthadam.jpg

Foxes climb:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6YQdi5gbFg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt8FG9Fblis

Possums eat ticks  http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/opossums-killers-ticks

A Chicken's Life:  https:/...

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Just because you caught it in a trap, doesn't make it the killer of your chickens.

 

Poo chart:  https://uconnladybug.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/scatlayout_bottom-worthadam.jpg

Foxes climb:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6YQdi5gbFg and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt8FG9Fblis

Possums eat ticks  http://www.caryinstitute.org/newsroom/opossums-killers-ticks

A Chicken's Life:  https:/...

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post #8 of 9
There is a thread on here that is very informative about the habits of owls.

centrarchid is the author. I can't post links, but if you type his name in the search bar, you can find it.
Edited by enola - 12/27/15 at 4:52am
post #9 of 9

Glad everyone is safe, but I would plan on a roofed/neted run soon. Owls are clever and like most preditors they learn quickly. We have companies here that provide special nets for poultry owners. They are happy to customiese the net and they start with around 1€ for 10sqf. As far as I know it is the cheapest and easiest way to keep owls and hawks from using our yards as fast food restaurant. 

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