Great-horned Owl Fun in 2015

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, May 12, 2015.

  1. CLSranch

    CLSranch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you do not do something soon. Whether it's penning them up at night or taking care of the bird. You will lose all your chickens 1 or at a time. Don't be shoot me. I hate to be the bearer of bad news.
     
  2. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    You just keep those hooters busy over in Callaway, you hear?. Thanks in advance, Ivan & flocks. (none heard/observed between Hinkson/Cedar Creek Drainages - just the usual Barred bunch).

    Nice shots, cynthechick, Blooie !
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Well, gonna post the video?

    How would they usually respond?
    The only time I had a hawk land on the run mesh roof, the chicken hid under the coop and didn't make a sound.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I try to post the video. It is long, longer than any I have posted previously.

    Normally the chickens would make all sort of alarm calls indicating predator above. I think they have had the owls around so much of the summer their fear is gone. For most part that was warranted because owls have had an easy time going after all the voles and rabbits. My property appears to support the largest rodent population around. I could hunt voles with a stick and keep myself and likely family fed. Voles finally starting to crash so the easy eats will soon be gone.

    Starting today I will reconfigure against owls as I do every fall. This year will be easy after all the losses suffered recently do to dogs. I am down to seventy birds, lowest number in four years, which is lower than I was during the usual low in spring.

    Roosts will be setup so owl can not land on perch outside pen to reach in and grab a chicken. With juveniles penned in groups, poultry wire will be put on loosely so owl cannot reach through that either, I also have so young birds roost in a pile well away from pen perimeter.


    Interesting to note is I had to do a lot to protect owls for this video effort. They would come down only within the electrified poultry netting perimeter's and dogs had to be penned up. Dogs much less riled anyway because chickens not producing alarms. Right now roosters are crowing like mad with GHO's very close by and dogs are in front yard more concerned about coyotes 1/2 mile to north.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Normal response depends upon time of day. Owls spotted during the day elicit much the same response hawks do when owl is in a tree. I do not know what chickens would do if owl on ground. Adult games would attack a similar sized Red-tailed Hawk on the ground. When chickens roosting they make a lot of racket / cackling, fluff up holding tail out and up and neck outstretched down and out at 45 degrees from horizontal. Chickens that have been pressured by owls before with dive down into heavy brush to roost for night. Many of the games will sleep on ground all summer in field when GHO's about.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Last night while waiting for owls I sat in chair about 50 feet from carcasses. I was looking at videos on internet and Shaun of the Dead played clearly on the television where I could understand everything. Owls were exposed to a combination of me, flashing light, and human speech yet they still came in. This might be a good situation in which to test the NiteGurd units many talk about.

    Owls come in quickly now and watch me closely. Adults do not come in. The juveniles land on pens, even those housing chicks but show no interest in birds they contain. One owl also attempted to fly with a 2 lb carcass but could only go about 30 feet even with afterburners on. The activity around pens is not an increase as they have been doing it all spring and summer. What is different is what is being consumed. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
     
  7. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    So you are saying they do not try to get live birds yet?
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I think that's an excellent idea.......you would be a good person to objectively test it.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    The juvenile owls do not appear to be showing interest in chickens that are often only 18" away and in clear view. Chickens also not reachable. This appears to change around November each year when there is a spate of chickens disturbed from roosts. Shortly after that the juvenile owls quit calling as I think that is when parents give them the boot.


    Adult owls have shown interest but not lately. I assume adult owls because no juvenile calls when such disturbances occur.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Juvenile GHO's call only when they are on an elevated perch. While feeding on carcass they are quite and constantly looking around. All three are out and about close pen. Carcasses now light enough they will be flown out of pen tonight.
     

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