* Added Video of Owl v. Peacock** What to do about a predator you can't shoot, you can't catch and i

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by furbabymum, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. furbabymum

    furbabymum Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2012
    Burns, Wyoming
    I posted weeks ago about our new great horned owl problem. It's gotten worse. We put a door on our barn and were locking the birds up tight at night since the big discovery and chicken killing. I was letting them out during the day though. Now we can't do that as the owl has no problem picking them off during the day. So they are on 24/7 lock down in our barn (which is a large area so not too bad). We've got a great pyr we are in the process of poultry training and an akbash puppy that is also in training. We have plans to leave them with the chickens together to guard. My husband went out last night to feed the poultry. It was around 8 and pitch black. He took the dogs with him. He opened the door to the barn and left it open since the dogs were wandering about the chicken run and barn. Out of the darkness the owl flies right in the door and perches in the rafters. My husbands yelling and the dogs didn't bother it at all. My husband finally threw a dinner roll at it and the owl grabbed a roosting chicken and flew out, completely unbothered. We are officially down 8 chickens. This is getting to be a problem. We've no idea what to do. Obviously the dogs aren't going to be able to guard from this owl. It flies and perches too high for them. What to do?

    So our barn is apparently not secure. Found the owl in it when we went out to check the poultry. We've no idea how he got in but we did a lot of extra security measures in places we thought it might be possible. This is the male (as he's smaller than the other owl we've been having problems with).

    Since these guys aren't scared of humans we harassed him a fair amount before letting him out of the barn. Sprayed him with vinegar water (we keep around for LGD training) and kept him running about by tapping him with a broom handle (not hard enough to hurt him at all).

    Anyway, he didn't get any birds. When we went in most of the chickens were still sleeping. The peacocks were on the ground though and they usually sleep in the rafters. They did get VERY brave though. Caught video of one of our juvenile peacocks in the rafters confronting the owl. The peacock sought the owl out. Found it rather interesting. Follow the link to watch.

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2012
  2. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh NO! :( What a horrible thing to be experiencing.. here are some things I can think of... may be useful, may be not. [​IMG]

    A sonic low pitched pest deterrent? I have seen them on Ebay, may deter the owl? May disturb your chickens though...

    Netting of some sort seems to be the only real option. Aviary netting is too available on Ebay, I get mine from there. Somehow fix it to the barn door as a kind of walk through curtain so that when you go in, the owl can't get in?

    Build a run extending from the barn using netting on the roof and chicken wire on the side and bottom? big enough for you to get in and yet it gives chickens some time outside without the threat of mr Owl.
    Good luck!!
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Dogs won't help against airborne predators. I'd start by calling Wyoming Game and Fish at 1-800-842-1934 and discuss the issue with them. There are local numbers in this pdf
    I have a supply of bottle rockets that work well to scare off hawks, crows and any birds that otherwise would ignore your presence.
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That's good advice too.
    I have long hoop pens I've built from 10' sections of remesh. A big owl can't get in the 6X6" mesh and strong enough to keep dogs, foxes, coyotes out.
  5. furbabymum

    furbabymum Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2012
    Burns, Wyoming
    I called them the first time we had the problem and he told me to "enjoy" them. I told him they were eating the chickens and he just said sorry but it's our problem. :(

    My hubby went out after that and shot the shot gun in the air but I'm sure by that point the owl was back at it's nest enjoying our last Americauna.
  6. Wishing4Wings

    Wishing4Wings Isn't it Amazing? Premium Member

    May 7, 2012
    Sonoma County, CA
    Sorry about your chickens. How frustrating. I know in our area they will take cats and small dogs too.

    The first thing I thought when you said the owl roosts too high would be to spray water up at it. We have a nozzle on the garden hose that can shoot a stream pretty high. Anything that will make it uncomfortable to hang around. Other than the netting that's already been suggested, I'm afraid that's the best I've got.

    Unfortunately, with winter approaching, our chickens are going to be very tempting to all sorts of predators.

    Good luck to you!
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Sorry for your losses. You'll need to practice strict vigilance on your security. When going in the barn, the door is closed behind you, etc. I know it would be a chore but what about making a pop door in the barn? That way you wouldn't need to open the barn doors to let the birds out. Also, try to get most of your chores done before dark.

    Netting over an area for the chickens during the day and plenty of hiding spots should help. Are you sure it is the owl that is taking them during the day? Thats unusual for owls.
  8. UrbanScratch

    UrbanScratch Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 25, 2012
    I do not mean to sound heartless in regards to the owls...but a problem like this is one that you do not post about or ask anyone about. You just take care of the probelm and let it be. Its sort of along the same lines as the guy that shot the bear that was about to attack his kids, then got arrested. Had he not said anything, and gotten rid of the evidence, noone would have known. Animals should NEVER have more rights than humans when it comes to safety or well being IMO. And IMO eggs keep you healthy and well. ;)
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Dogs work very well for me against even great-horned owls. Key is birds small enough for owl to fly off with must not be accessible. For my great-horned owls, anything more than 3 lbs is too big to pack like OP describes. If owl has to grapple larger bird with action going to ground, then dog has no trouble distinguishing between owl and chicken with owl, despite complaining with talons is told to go. I do not loose birds to great-horned owls even when they roost in trees because dog shuts them down.

    In you situation, you can be careful about who is allowed to enter door and you can make so vulnerable birds have a second container / pen they can go into while on roost providing another barrier for owl. Get birds off rafters as well.


    I had to re-read OP's comments several times to swallow and process. Can you build large walk-in coop starting with a modified stall? With owls, even chicken wire will work. Position roost so birds can not roost close to sides / top of the coop thus denying owl option of grabbing through with talons. Keeps birds confined to it for a few days and upon release treat birds as if they have been moved to a new location making sure they are properly imprinted on the new location. Owls are ballsy but not all that bright. If done properly, owl may not even be able to figure out how to get into coop with door open yet chickens will retreat to it each evening to roost. Such a design will make so even when owl does beat you through door it no longer has straight shot at roosting birds.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012
  10. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    So... I think the best idea (combining all of our ideas[​IMG]) is:

    Put a "pop door" in the side of the barn, extending from that pop door is a run which is covered in chicken wire/ netting. Then, for the chores, you can nail netting to the inside of the door creating a huge flap curtain of netting, allowing you to negotiate it in order to get into the barn but stopping owls flying past you and/or chickens escaping past you.

    Or kill the owl, but once one has gone another will take its place and I'm guessing you don't want to kill it (you're like me there...)otherwise you would have done it already.

    Keep us informed? XX

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