Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by juliawitt, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. juliawitt

    juliawitt Songster

    Aug 9, 2009
    My husband went to let the chickens out yesterday morning and he took a picture of a giant barn owl in the tree above the chicken run. The pic was very grainy so I did not post much of a threat are they to my chickens? Should I be concerned? He said there was at least 3 in the general area.

  2. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    they will definitely eat chicks. I am not sure how much damage they do to full grown hens but would be a bit worried. They will eat full grown rabbits and squirrels. Gloria Jean
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    I recall reading somewhere that Great Horned Owls are the only ones to prey on domestic poultry. Not saying another type of owl wouldn't snatch up a chick, but I think as long as you're not dealing with a Great Horned Owl, you're adult birds(assuming they're standard sized) will be okay. Could always lock the birds up tight at night, then you wouldn't have to worry at all.

    We have great horned owls spotted around our house ALL the time. I can hear them in the backyard, sitting in the pine tree watching the yard. So far the only things that have gone missing are a couple of free range adolescents and a free range male mallard. I think a fox grabbed them honestly, because usually an owl leaves a mess, and these birds were just gone.

    I have noticed a huge reduction in the amount of mice and rats attracted to the barn. So I think that's the main reason the owls are attracted to my barn and coop. Chickens and ducks are locked up at night, so I really don't worry about the owls much. Any birds that free range my place, are birds I wouldn't be heart broken if they went missing.

    So, as far as predators go, owls would have to be one of my favorite. "Supposedly" only Great Horned Owls feed regularly on domestic poultry, they a mainly nocturnal, and they are easily to defend against(just lock birds up in a covered coop. You'll also notice a decrease in the amount of rats, mice, and skunks.
  4. cheirogloss

    cheirogloss In the Brooder

    Aug 23, 2009
    Lenoir, NC
    My post is more about the owls. Since they are birds of prey (i.e they eat meat), they are federally protected and you can get in trouble (fine, misdemeanor etc) for attempting to control your owl problem by any lethal or harmful means. Plus, if the owls go, you then have a rabbit and rodent problem on your hands.

    Your best bet is to lock the chickens up at night and place bird netting over the coop/run to keep the owls out. Also, barn owls are relatively small (comparable in size to a chicken) and probably wouldn't or couldn't go after an adult chicken. However, chicks would make a wonderful hors'doeuvre for a barn owl.

  5. juliawitt

    juliawitt Songster

    Aug 9, 2009
    I do lock up the chickens every night!! I would be too scared to leave them out. Chicken wire covering the run really isn't feasable because their run is huge! But....we are going to run nylon rope with hanging aluminum pans tomorrow crisscrossing the entire run. I have seen several posts and read articles about this discouraging hawks.....I wonder if it will help with owls? My only real concern is on days my husband is out of town, I have to open the hen house pop door at 6:30 when I go to work. If I don't, they would be stuck in the hen house for at least 9, the owls would have a window of opportunity of about 45 minutes. Does anyone think that rope with shiny hanging things would also discourage owls at daybreak?
  6. detali

    detali Songster

    May 9, 2009
    Watch out for owls.

    A friend of mine lost her whole flock of chickens to owl. She came out one morning and found them all decapitated and mutilated. She had no idea what did it. So she set a live animal trap with one of the mutilated chickens as bait in it. The next morning she found a huge owl in the trap.

    Apparently the owl had come in through the high door in the loft of her barn.
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Well, owls -mostly- eat/swallow whole, mice, voles small mamals etc. You are -probably- ok, though of course, there's no guarantee of course.

    Criss-crossing with rope/string etc and shiny things can't hurt, I'd say it's a good thing to do.

  8. juliawitt

    juliawitt Songster

    Aug 9, 2009
    Well, today my husband strung string across the whole run. He did such a good job it looks woven! The bigest holes are only appr. 12 inches across. It would take a very brave hawk to try to fly into such a mess of rope.[​IMG] Then he hung canning jar lids all over. I can't help but think that he has out manuvered the hawks and maybe the owls too!
  9. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster 10 Years

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    Barn Owls primarily eat mice and rats & are not chicken hunters (I've not heard of one killing a chicken; I'm not denying it has happened but I have not heard of it.) When it is reported, it turns out not to be a Barn Owl. Your Barn Owls are attracted to the mice and/or rats in and around then chickens.

    It is the Great Horned Owl (and they are pretty much everywhere) that will readily take a chicken (and any size chicken is game).

  10. txchickie

    txchickie Songster

    Nov 15, 2008
    We have those little burrowing owls around here, and I've never had a problem with them messing with my chickens. I have little bantams and those burrowing owls aren't even close to as big as the bantams. They plant themselves on fenceposts during the day, they really are cute.

    I don't know anything about owls, what kind and whatnot, but I do think your chickens are fairly safe [​IMG]

    And your husband did an AWESOME job!!! [​IMG]

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