Do owls hunt during the day?


11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Topanga Ca
Curious if my chickens are cool to cruise around the yard during the day. I know we have big owls, but I was hoping the were sleeping during daytime hours?

Oh, what about hawks and chickens? Can they kill a big adult chicken? Would they come down if I was in the yard with the chickens?
May be dumb questions, but I'm trying to figure out a little free range time once they are grown.

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
Northeast Texas
Owls do not normally hunt during the day, early morning and late evenings most likely - just before the sun rises or sets. Hawks have been known to fly into your yard even if you're there and yes they can kill a full grown chicken.
Generally only under extreme conditions will they attack with you in the yard, as in there's not much regular prey in the area.

Have you seen or heard hawks or owls in your area? They may not be much of a problem. I free range, but I do not have a lot of open space in my yard - lots of trees & shrubs for the birds to hide under. Plus I have dogs & cats that keep strange animals out of the yard.


11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Topanga Ca
Yes, same here, lots of brush and trees to hide under. Oh, and yes, we do have a few neighborhood Red Tailed Hawks. I, usually for the most part only see them grabbing a small rat or mice when I've been close enough. The owls are big. I believe Great Horned Owls?

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
Speaking of owls, I've been wondering if some big owl took a medium-sized cochin rooster of ours. He'd been roosting on a fence ever since the pullets with whom he used to sleep inside a pen were promoted to the laying flock. I was trying to get him to sleep in with the 4 guinea hens & would place him in there after dark. My concern was that the other roos already established in the laying flocks would beat him up if I added him in there.

I saw him on the fence at his last sunset and planned to move him in later. Sadly, when I went out after dark, he was gone. My son had thought he'd heard "something" at the chicks' pen, so we went out to investigate, and that's when we noticed the roo was gone.

By day all I saw were 2 small feathers on the ground below the fence. I think it was an owl that took him because it was done so neatly & quietly. I think a raccoon, fox, cat or dog would have left a telltale trail of feathers from a struggling bird.

I was sad to have lost this roo, especially since I feel at fault for not keeping him safer. But if he had to go, I feel that feeding a large owl's family to be a rather noble cause.

As for hawks, you may need to learn by trial and error. You have to decide how you wish to balance your chickens' liberty and safety. You might be fortunate to be in an area relatively safe from hawks, you'll have to watch your skies & talk with your neighbors.

To give your chickens more of an advantage over hawks, provide hiding places like tables, benches, even wood sheets propped up on bricks. If you have roosters they should be watching for predators and will make a specific sound when they see a hawk overhead. When they say that bird word everyone stops & looks up in the sky, including me. If they have places to run under cover they will be safer. I also put shiny things around & strung over their pens, foil pinwheels, spinners, old CDs & DVDs, etc, that seems to help.

You can't keep your chickens 100% safe unless you carry them around with you, and even then you might accidently trip & squash them. I just try to do my best to know the predators most prevalent in my area and give my chickens the best advantage over them. I'd rather give them some free-range time (lower feed bill, tastier eggs) without monitoring them (can't spare that time) even if it means losing a few birds a year (it's not even that many here).

I wish you & your birds safety & success, whatever you decide.


12 Years
Aug 15, 2007
New Mexico
I lost 3 hens this winter during a 2 week period. There was an owl hanging out in the trees nearby at the time. I could hear him hooting at night. Before he showed up, no loses. After he showed up the chickens started disappearing. I never caught him in the act, but I think he's the culprit.

Hawks will definitely get your chickens. They may not be able to carry them off, but they will kill them. I found a hen dead in the pen one day, missing her head. A few days later a little hawk swooped right over me, thru the chicken pen, and would have snatched a hen's head right off if she hadn't ducked at the last instant. What I learned from this is that the only sure-fire protection from hawks and owls is a chicken wire roof over the pen. The other benefit of that is that it will also keep racoons out if it's securely attached all around. No gaps, weak spots, etc.
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Here comes the Rooster
12 Years
Jun 10, 2007
Douglasville GA
We are in the middle of owl breeding season, so alot of them are awake in the daytime right now.
They will hunt during the day in breeding season.

My property backs up to cross country power lines, and lately we've seen alot of owl activity out there.


Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
NW Kentucky
Only the Snowy hunts in daylight...but dawn and dusk owls are out for sure. I would point the finger at a hawk if it is an airborne predator.

We have a nesting pair of Eagles not far from us and they chased my little taco bell beast one day...LOL Poor little doggie just ain't been right since.


12 Years
Mar 8, 2008
Ive lost many free ranging chickens to owls and hawks
Ive had owls take them in late evening befor the went to roost and Ive seen hawks catch my chickens more times than I can remember. All my chickens are in a coop with a covered run now.
I live in a rural part of mountainous eastern,Ky so predators are a issue. Im a trapper and this past season I caught 1 bobcat, 2 coyotes and 2 fox within 100' of my chicken coop.


red-headed stepchild
11 Years
Feb 6, 2008
Southeast Coast of Florida
* Me and our cat, Draven were sitting outside with Miss Chook 2 weeks ago and a goodly sized hawk hit a ring-neck dove in our ficus tree not 2O ft. away. The hawk 'rode' the dove down to the ground, sunk its talons in a few times & flew off w/ the dove. . . Wigged me that he'd be so bold with me & cat right there. . . .
k! CHOOK must heard him coming cuz she hugged the trunk of the bouganvillia. . .With it's long spines she must think its good protection. My only tip off is when the birds go dead silent. . .
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Rare Feathers Farm

11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
Pleasant Valley, (Okanogan) WA
My Coop
My Coop
Owls normally do not hunt during the day & unless you have bantams, most hawks & even eagles tend to leave them alone, if they have sufficient, easier prey available.

We live in a very rural area with LOTs of Great Horned Owls, a nesting pair of Redtails & TWO nesting pairs of eagles (one pair of Goldens & one pair of Balds) within a couple of miles of my house I've never had any troubles with my poultry out during the day & predation by air.

Most raptors will chose easier prey (i.e. mice & snakes) over something as large as a standard sized chicken.

It's all about reward/benefits vs risks...there is less chance of a hawk being injured taking a mouse than a Brahma rooster.

Plus, although the hawks look big, they don't weigh as much as they look like they do so it would be very hard for them to carry off a full grown chicken...although they may kill a chicken & eat it on the ground. Our LGD does an awesome job of keeping any/all predators out of our yard & away from "his" poultry.
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