Great Grey INSIDE my Coop.....

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Dammdaisy, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Dammdaisy

    Dammdaisy New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    Central Minnesota
    NEED HELP! I live in Minnesota and two days ago at 9:30 a.m. I went to check my chickens. They were all outside of the coop very frantic and scared. As I got closer to my coop I noticed feathers coming out of their little door which made me nervous so I opened up the big door and staring back at me was a Great Grey Owl. He was INSIDE my coop and killed two of my big Cochin's. I'm not sure who was more in shock me or the owl. He flew past me, hitting me in the shoulder with his huge wing and took off. I'm scared to let them out of the coop now. I've had them boarded up for two days because I'm scared to let them out. Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I had a similar incident with a Cooper's Hawk recently. Not in the coop but the run where it got one of my BAs. Amazing the owl would go IN the coop! I guess one option is covering the run....sometimes that's impractical. There is also the SSS method (you can do a BYC search if you are not familiar with it). ;). I will sometimes shoot near (not at) the offender in order to scare it off. This works to a degree. But something sure needs to be done now that Mr. Grey thinks your coop is the local KFC! Good luck to you! :)
     
  3. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Wow, that's late for an owl to be out, it was probably very hungry so you're right to be cautious. I'm sorry you lost some birds. It is illegal to shoot the owl so there's not much you can do on that front as it is illegal to shoot raptors. It is also illegal to 'harass' them in any way or capture or transport them so catching it and releasing it elsewhere would also be illegal. Do your birds have a covered run? If not it might not be a bad idea to invest in one so that you can let them out without fear of predators.

    You can try some deterrence methods for the owl such as Night Guard, I've heard that works well, although not sure if it will work during the day. Also if you can attract some crows they will harass the owl in daylight hours. I have a flock of ravens that does the same (although they steal my eggs so it's a trade off). They also say leaving lights on can deter owls but again, yours is hunting in the daylight, so that's probably not going to help.

    I'm not sure there's much else you can do aside from provide a secure run and try to deter it and hope it moves on when it can't get a meal, others will perhaps have more advice.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oh Man that stinks!
    Was a big shocker I'm sure!

    Mesh covered run is the only real, sure fire solution.
    Spend your money on 2x4 welded wire instead of flashing red lights.
     
  5. Dammdaisy

    Dammdaisy New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    Central Minnesota
    Thank you all for your suggestions. It sounds like I need to get my runs covered. We have been in a -30 below weather here so I've had them in coop for a few days and have noticed that my chickens have attracted a Great Horned Owl as well. If I didn't have chickens I'd be in heaven seeing such beautiful birds in our area. I like the idea of the wire mesh, I think it would be stronger and hold up to the snow better. Thanks!!
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What ever you use, it will need good framing support.
    I have 2x4 mesh and have to keep it cleared of snow if it starts to stick and prop it up with 2x2 lumber if we are expecting a heavy overnight snow.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am using deer netting to keep Great-horned Owls out of pens. They in a lot some times so have had ample time to test efficacy. Place it as cover over opening raptor uses to get into pen / coop. It need not be tight. The owls here seen to look at it and regard as something they do not want to touch. About two years ago I had GHO's hunting among by pens in a big way for voles and occasional went after a chicken. I simply drapped netting over pens leaving some over end where chickens roosted. Owls immediately stopped landing on those pens but would land on others. The owls walked around on ground a lot as well. The owls on ground avoided the folds of netting hanging on sides of pens. Evidence could be seen in tracks on snow. Material is cheap, last at least three years, and is easy to setup.


    One increased risk is owl getting tangled in the stuff if it does not respect it. Does not appear to happen often and maybe only first time bird encounters the stuff. Similar issue realized with poultry netting stored as bundle near pens. Have sweatshirt and scissors handy as needed to free bird entangled.
     
  8. Dammdaisy

    Dammdaisy New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
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    We have voles around our co-op too. I never knew how well an owl can hunt. Amazing. I will look into the deer netting. Thank you!
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Voles are not a rodent species you can easily manage. They, for the most part, are not dependent on grain as food since a big part of what they eat is vegetative. Nesting is done mostly underground and they have no trouble using snow to cover their above ground travels. Here the voles do better with more snow as it protects them from predators. Here at least, they also go through population explosions / outbreaks like their keen the lemmings. Last year was my outbreak.
     
  10. Dammdaisy

    Dammdaisy New Egg

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    Jan 5, 2017
    Central Minnesota
    I've never seen one until recently. He has little holes in the snow and scurrys under the coop. Is this another issue I should be concerned about? Are having voles a bad thing?
     

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