Great horned owl killed my chickens!


6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
Northern Cali
So I went outside to feed my chickens at 5 this morning and sometimes one or two of the chickens fly up on the edge of the run for a roost. Well I saw that two of them were roosting on the side so I went over to push them inside the pen. Well as I got closer I noticed these were much bigger than my chickens and when I was about five feet away I noticed they were owls! They flew away right after and I ran into the run to find out that out of 11 that were there last night only 5 remained alive! I can't believe this! I have never had an owl bother me. I usually tell others to get cats in this situation since mine keep away most predators. I guess I'll have to start locking them up at night, but is there anyway to deter an owl? I think I'll have my brother come over to try and remove it, but he's out of town for another week and I don't know anyone who shoots.
I think locking them up at night is a good place to start. I don't know your setup, but we have runs attached to our coops. The runs are covered with 2x4" welded wire. We have great horned owls that live in our grove. A pair for sure. I also saw two other owls in a tree near the house the other evening. It was too dark to figure out what kind they were, but they didn't hoot like the great horneds. We haven't had any owl trouble with our coops and covered runs.
Well all of my runs are covered except this one. So I'm going to have to build another covered run which isn't a big deal really. I just wanted to know if there was some other protection or way to deter them. I use hardwire cloth though
Cats will only draw in more hungry great horned owls. At least cats will draw in more GHO after the owls have finished picking the chicken bones clean.

Hawks and owls are moving South now and should shortly be thick as hair on a dogs' back over, around, and through places like Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania and any of the other Eastern Mountains that provides good up draft conditions.

I am unable to tell you much about West Coast owl migration patterns except to point out what others here have said and that is, "When a wintering owl finds a reliable food source it tends to stick around until it has eaten all the available food." About the end of December the GHO will once more begin drifting North. I know that that isn't much to look forward to now, but it is all that I have since you seem intent on protecting the guilty.
Well thank you... I think. Well I'm hoping it will go away since I've locked them all up, and I don't have any other animals it can eat. I'll keep the cats in at night too if that's what it takes.
Yeah. That's sort of what I've been doing The only problem is I go to work around 5:30 and it's almost light out, but not light enough. I haven't lost another one yet, but my sebright got out yesterday and I have yet to see it again.
All predators are opportunistic feeders. This means that when one sees the opportunity to get an easy meal it takes it. Even the fact that an owl will gladly eat rats and mice that are stealing you chicken feed is a mixed blessing because the chicken food attracts and orients rodents into close proximity with your chickens. The rodents then attract cats, and both the rodents and the felines attract hungry GHO. Once the owl is oriented to your chicken coop and the rats, mice, and feral cats make themselves scarce, the GHO will quickly get curious about whether chicken taste just like rat. The idea of a Fort Knox chicken pen is in my opinion a pipe dream. The best over all approach are best management practices that reduces or eliminates all the on sight species except for your birds. Not only will your chickens be safer then they will be healthier.
Last edited:

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom