Feathers everywhere! Hawk? Owl?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by CarolJ, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

    Jun 3, 2011
    Middle Tennessee
    I went out a little before dark to check on the chickens who were free-ranging. They were nowhere to be seen, but near a tree and immediately outside the coop there were feathers everywhere. Fearing the worst, I grabbed some scratch and started calling them. It took a few minutes, but they were all there - they came out from under the chicken house. There's not much room under there - maybe 10 inches worth of head space. And there are two groups of chickens who usually stay in their own group when they're outside - and yet they were all under the chicken house together.

    Later, after they were on the roost, I looked at each one to try to figure out which one had lost the feathers. One of my 10-month old pullets had some loose feathers on her back. However, I didn't see any blood or any sign of injuries. My husband said it was probably a hawk or owl (we have both in the woods around our house) that grabbed one and pulled out the feathers, but she escaped. He said that was why they were all under the chicken house - to protect themselves from overhead predators. Our dog was outside and I had heard him barking earlier. Maybe he helped to chase the predator away. He's not an LGD - but he's very good at notifying us if anything/anyone comes in the yard.

    Earlier today I made an appointment with a handyman for Wednesday morning to go over plans to build a covered & predator-proof run for my chickens. I think until that gets built, they'll stay in the chicken house all day unless I can be outside to watch them.

    So, do you think my husband was right? Does that sound like a foiled owl or hawk attack?
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    So, do you think my husband was right?

    Yes, husbands are always right​
  3. groundpecker

    groundpecker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2011
    Rison, Arkansas
    Reads like a small Bird of prey. A large bird should have taken the chicken down with one fatal swoop. Looks like you got lucky this time.

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