Chicken color and free ranging

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Poop Cleaner, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Poop Cleaner

    Poop Cleaner Out Of The Brooder

    147
    3
    43
    Dec 13, 2015
    California
    Have those who free range their chickens on acreage noticed a higher tendency to lose white or certain colored chickens? I am curious if coloring has anything to being more visible to day time predators.

    In my google research I have read that white is highly visible as well as white confuses predators.

    Or does color not really matter, and awareness matter more?
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    17,230
    5,714
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    Yes - certain patterns/colors lend better camouflage for birds than others and this makes the less fortunate a more likely target for predation. IME white is not confusing to predators and is much more of an attractant.....this is why you often see seasonal plumage/hair coat in wildlife with a brown/patterned coloration in summer to blend with their habitat and a white coloration in winter when they need to blend with snow covered surroundings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  3. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    25,582
    2,162
    438
    May 14, 2014
    Montana
    X2 on Ol Grey Mare's post.
     
  4. Poop Cleaner

    Poop Cleaner Out Of The Brooder

    147
    3
    43
    Dec 13, 2015
    California
    So RIR or barred rock would be a better pick than Delawares? Aus the black white contrasting barring even more visible to birds of prey?

    Or maybe I could get a white rooster so he is the most visible lol.
     
  5. dlp40

    dlp40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    121
    24
    59
    Dec 1, 2015
    Florence sc
    In south carolina, hawk capital of the world( i think at least), my BR and easter egger( very brown,blk, and white barred) never get a second glance from the hawks. My white birds may as well lay down on a platter for them.
    For aireal predators busy pattern birds are harder to see, in my experiance any way. Good luck to ya
     
  6. varidgerunner

    varidgerunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    648
    307
    151
    Aug 16, 2013
    In my American Gamefowl feral colonies I always noticed that the black ones lasted better. The ones colored like a wild bird, (camouflaged) were the first to go. Hawks are programmed to see a wild color and go for it. They are also programmed to see a solid black bird and assume that it will be hard to catch, not much good to eat once caught, and might have a hundred buddies that love to mob hawks waiting just a few caws away.

    I have also found that big fluffy barnyard chickens are less appealing to hawks than say, bantams, they prefer to be able to easily subdue their prey and maybe even fly away with it.
     
  7. Poop Cleaner

    Poop Cleaner Out Of The Brooder

    147
    3
    43
    Dec 13, 2015
    California
    Thanks! That helps. I guess no Delawares for me. BR, Black Australorps, and Dominiques? Any experience with the red chickens?
     
  8. charleschicken

    charleschicken Out Of The Brooder

    41
    17
    41
    Jan 1, 2016
    We lost our ameracinas hen (Gonzalls) to a bald eagle we have 3 nesting pairs in the area this is the first bird we have lost all of our birds free range and im worried now beacuse we have 10 new birds
     
  9. Poop Cleaner

    Poop Cleaner Out Of The Brooder

    147
    3
    43
    Dec 13, 2015
    California
    Sorry to hear. What color was she?
     
  10. charleschicken

    charleschicken Out Of The Brooder

    41
    17
    41
    Jan 1, 2016
    She had a very hawkish face and more red brown coloring than black in her plume. We got our first 10 chickens from the previous owners of the farm and they were more pets than egg layers I think that only 4 or so of the original 10 are layers and I'm going to give it till late spring to see if the others start to lay then it's time to take a drive to the neighbors farm.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by