deterring buzzards?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by spish, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    we have a pair of buzzards living behind our house since last year and luckily they seemed to prefer the farmers prized racing pigeons instead of our we've been lucky. But...last year the couple had babies. i think 3. but two disappeared in the autumn so i presumed they had gone off to find their own patch or died or something. however one young buzzard stuck around. And seems to have taken residence on our land. He's out there 24/7, in my fields, and i've begun to find chickens missing, then featherpiles under the buzzards tree. i think he's picking off my chickens but havent 'seen' him do it .
    my chickens free range 24/7, they have houses for night but in the day they roam the land so putting up fencing is a no no (id need nets to cover 100m x 500m) so i need a way to deter the young buzzard........
    any ideas?

    ive added extra hiding spots for the chickens....ive took a bunch of old pallets, given them legs to raise them up a bit...but not all the chickens use them.
    i have 12 roosters that are on constant lookout and sound the alarm when the buzzard leaves the tree but it seems its not enough.

    according to the local authorities the buzzards only eat worms and bugs, but i think otherwise!!! i saw the pair last year plucking pigeons out the sky!
  2. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    Just to clarify: A buzzard in Europe is a raptor, not a vulture like in the US.

    Spish, I have a breeding pair that I see almost every day here and for some reason they have never shown any interest in my chickens at all - even when I have had chicks out. I have heard of people putting out helium balloons, or stringing fishing wire across the runs and hanging old cds from it. Good luck
  3. spish

    spish De Regenboog Kippetjes

    Apr 7, 2010
    same here, the breeding pair never touched my chickens (or the cavias and rabbits in my garden) but this young one seems to be ver interested in them.

    im gonna give the balloons a try here and there, see what happens, do you think shiny wind chimes might work if i hang them round the tree lines?
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:I have two true buzzards (Buteo spp.) in my area year round (red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks) and a vagrant during this last winter (ferruginous hawk). Only the red-tailed and ferruginous preyed upon my birds. I have planted vegetation and a couple pallets as you described. A single 1 m x 1 m pallet does not provide enough cover if buzzard has no fear of going under it amongst the chickens. I suspect multiple pallets needed to form single refuge needed. Needs a study to confirm.

    Another observation is that not all roosters are equal at detouring hawks and even then rooster investment varies with season. During winter I had American game (approximates old English game), American doms and red jungle fowl free ranging with hens of same. All gave alarm calls and moved to cover. Dominiques were slow and red jungle fowl tended to fly away from cover where hawk could out fly them. Game got to cover with good speed and did not flush. Now that breeding season started the American game is becoming aggressive (vocalizations) towards hawks flying in close but he does so from cover. If game rooster not target of hawks attack, I have no doubt rooster will put spurs and wings into the hawk if latter enters the planted cover. Rooster can out manuever him there. Not witnessed such interactions for some time but stoppage of depredation by hawk at this time of year suggest to me hawks looking for easier meals.

    Consider a dog as well. Hawks do not like taking prey when ground predators around can be a hazard. Considerable variation in opinion as to which dog breed best but a site oriented breed I prefer. Very same predator drive that makes for headaches when breaking of killing your stock (chickens) makes for a guard that is on its game when dealing with avian predators.

    The artificial raptor repellents have not been demonstrated effective to my knowledge.
  5. mominoz

    mominoz Songster

    Feb 17, 2009
    North Georgia
    A larger bird seems to help deter flyoing predators, many say they stop losing birds after they get a goose or turkey with the flock
  6. Lordhyde

    Lordhyde Hatching

    Sep 7, 2014
    We have Buzzards here in Slovenia, the raptor, Common Buzzard. Yesterday there were five circling high above my daughters house. We knew they were buzzards by the plaintive "pee-oo"call they make. Two weeks ago these birds took one of the smaller chickens in her flock. It or one of the five tried earlier that day to take another hen but just left it with a few disarrayed feathers. We found a small pile of feathers on the ground from the missing hen and the other eight were hiding in their house and would not come outside. When my daughter went to the hen house to see where they all were, the hens came to the door and kept looking waryly up into the sky. Now they will not venture far from safety unless a human is close by. So, despite some posters here saying big hawks like buzzards will not take hens, our experience is contrary to that opinion. No other predator was responsible as the hens were roaming free but inside a four foot high electrified fox resistance mesh fence with small mesh at the bottom to ward off martens or polecats. In any case if such an animal had somehow got into the compund it would have killed all the birds. Would a pair of geese be effective in frightening off the buzzards? Obviously such a big bird would not be susceptible to attack and being carried off. One other suggestion we considerd yesterday was buying some of those large shiny balloons like children get at fairgrounds and filled with helium. . Maybe a few of these floating above the compound like WW2 barrage balloons, tethered on lengths of dark coloured string could be effective. The long term objective is to plant fruit trees in that area but that is not a quick solution to the current problem. One final question is if my daughter obtained some geese, would they need a pond to paddle/swim about in, or are they happy enough on grass?
  7. Lordhyde

    Lordhyde Hatching

    Sep 7, 2014
    Looks like Spish has been misinformed by his local authorities, my bird book says that buzzards take rabbits too and whilst these may not be full grown animals, a smaller sized laying hen is quite lightweight and so presumably not beyond the carrying capacity of a larger raptor.
  8. We live in West Texas, USA and have all sorts of flying predators (as well as the ones on the ground). We have a number of different kinds of hawks and both Golden and Bald Eagles as well as night flying predators like several kinds of owls. The hawks include what around here are called chicken hawks or buzzards. And, yes they will attack and carry off small animals of all sorts. It is against the law in the United States to kill any sort of raptor due to an old treaty with England meant to protect migratory birds that crossed the US/Canada border. So, if you have a raptor the is attacking your flock of poultry you have to apply for, and hope to get, a permit from your State wildlife agency to kill the raptor.

    I know, they control mice, rats, some snakes and other vermin. But, to get to the mice that may be around my barns they have to encroach on my poultry and they seem to think chickens are easier pickin's than having to hope for a mouse.

    At any rate, yes, buzzards/hawks will take your chickens if they get the chance. And, yes, having large birds like geese will help to deter them but they will not eliminate the threat.
  9. uksfdawn

    uksfdawn Hatching

    Dec 31, 2016
    I have have suffered buzzard attacks on my poultry and doves, I have taken photos of the attacks and even got it on video, buzzards do attack poultry.
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    A great dog on guard really helps. My LGD breed foiled attacks on the flock this season from a great horned a cut on his face while doing so, but the bird didn't succeed in his endeavors anywhere in the dogs' area of guard. Their presence also seems to keep the hawks from coming down to the flock...get a lot of them circling my meadow for my free range flock, but they don't want to come down to the ground level for a taste.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: