Great Horned Owl hunting my chickens during the day!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jubilee1111, Apr 8, 2012.

  1. Jubilee1111

    Jubilee1111 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2010
    Austin, TX
    My chickens just had a major freak out so I rushed outside. There was a Great Horned Owl out there trying to get at them while they hid in a gigantic, 60 year old Photinia shrub.

    It was 3:30 pm!!!

    I lost my favorite chicken last week to what appeared to be a panicked collision with a wall under the carport - and now I think I know why she and the others were so panicked that day.

    I'm sure it has it's own chicks to feed but dang it! Leave my chickens the "flock" alone!
  2. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    There is not much you can legally do other than try to deter it. You can try pinwheels, wind chimes, hanging CDs from trees, anything that is shiny and/or moves should help. You can find a variety of these thing right now in most dollar stores. I strung different color string over my run (from Walmart's hardware department) in a crisscross pattern to act as a visual barrier. It kept the hawks out. The only other option is to provide and enclosed run for your chickens. Good luck.
  3. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    It kind of depends on who you ask. The restrictions and protections for birds of prey came from the feather trade of the early 20th Century. The law, known as, "The Migratory Bird Act of 1918" protects all BOP's, de facto. There is no blanket allowance for killing them, if they are killing your livestock. So if you ask naturists or government agents, the answer is "Hands off!"

    So, get to know the law, itself, of course. Merely asking on forums will get you all kinds of responses. This is from the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, :


    All hawks and owls are protected by federal and state laws. There are cases, however, in which they can create public health and safety hazards or seriously affect a person’s livelihood.
    Contact your local USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services office first if you are interested in obtaining a shooting permit. The USFWS and state wildlife agencies may issue shooting permits for problem hawks and owls if nonlethal methods of controlling damage have failed or are impractical and if it is determined that killing the offending birds will alleviate the problem.
    Permittees may kill hawks or owls only with a shotgun not larger than 10-gauge, fired from the shoulder and only within the area described by the permit. Permittees may not use blinds or other means of concealment, or decoys or calls that are used to lure birds within gun range. Exceptions to the above must be specifically authorized by USFWS. All hawks or owls that are killed must be turned over to USFWS personnel or their representatives for disposal.

    In other words, the government has to tell you it's okay to kill them. It's a hard thing to prove, of course... both the threat and that your chickens are crucial enough to warrant the death of a precious BOP.

    DO try deterrents wherever possible - there are a lot of them and they are preferable to killing a valued member of the natural food chain. When they work.
    I cannot condone killing your owl, of course. But where it comes down to you or them, and all else has failed - well, do what you think you gotta.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    It's unusual for an owl to be out in the daylight.

    GHO's can take full size chickens, so I suggest you get your birds penned up with a good secure cover over them until the owl decides to hunt elsewhere.
  5. nthehunt

    nthehunt Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 3, 2012
    about 15 years ago, about this time of year, one afternoon after Sunday dinner @ grandma's house we all heard a lot of commotion coming from the chicken pen which was tucked away at the edge of the woods. When we went to investigate there were 2 barred owls in the trees. One of these owls swooped down grabbed a pullet and disapeared into the woods, the sailed in and attempted to grab a rooster. Owl was unable to get off the ground with it and was frightened off by us, the rooster didn't fair so well he was mortally wounded.
    yes its rare but not impossible, just like coons moving during daylight hours. Nowhere is it written that a nocturnal animal absolutely cannot hunt during the day. An empty stomach trumps instinct every time.
  6. QuackerJackFarms

    QuackerJackFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 26, 2011
    I had one a couple months ago land on my coop at around 1:30. Then 2 days ago I saw it fly overhead at around noon. They are HUGE. And I couldn't believe it.
  7. SilkieBantams

    SilkieBantams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 23, 2011
    Houston, TX
    The only thing that you can do is to deter them or if there are blue jays around they can sound the alert if there is a predator around.
  8. KimKimWilliamso

    KimKimWilliamso Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2012
    Nanton, AB, Canada
    Our GHO's (we have four that hang around constantly) do hunt during the day. I have read that they will usually hunt during the day if they are really hungry, but I know ours are well fed (see the carcasses all over my yard) so i dont know why they do it, but I see them at least three times a week hours after sunrise or just after dusk is setting in stalking mice and gophers or pheasants.

    Im worried about our chickens, will be out in the run in the next two weeks, but we have installed several predator protections, so hopefully I wont be feeding my owls.
  9. hearts34

    hearts34 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2012
    Blount county, AL
    They probably have chicks and are feeding them. If you have enough shrubs/trees in your yard, you can get some 50lb. monifilament fishing line and criss cross about 12 feet high. This is a great deterrent to owls and hawks.
    They will only need to hit it once, and they will avoid the area after that. It doesn't hurt them, so you don't have to worry about breaking any laws.

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