Great Horned Owl

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by crawfordmama, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. crawfordmama

    crawfordmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    732
    1
    121
    Jun 29, 2010
    The Lakes Region, NH
    Last night after locking the girls up, I stopped to listen to a series of calls that were echoing through the area. Although what I listened to online this morning doesn't quite match what I heard last night, I can only assume I have at least one GH Owl living around here. I've read so many horror stories about them on BYC. I am horrified! My flock (which includes a wimpy cockeral) free ranges during the day. I visit with them periodically throughout the day, and for most of the 30 minutes prior to dusk. I let them out approximately 30 minutes to an hour after sun up (sometimes later). They get locked up every night. Obviously these owls do a great deal of hunting at night, but should I be concerned during the daylight? Has anyone had an attack during the day?
     
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    5,719
    43
    283
    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    We've never had an owl attack here, although we hear great horned owls in our woods. Our chickens are locked up in the coop at night. We free range during the growing season. I think owl attacks during the day sometimes happen, but are not that common. You could train your chickens to go into the run a little earlier with a treat, just to be safer. I'm sure others will chime in shortly.
     
  3. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    33
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    yes GHO's will attack during the day--especially dawn and dusk--but prefer not to. The can be mobbed by crows in the daylight so like to stay hidden unless desperate.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,942
    4,190
    461
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    We have a pair of Great Horned owls living in our grove. We've never had a problem with them during the day. Not saying it couldn't happen, but I think it would be rare.
     
  5. shabbyfarm

    shabbyfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    114
    0
    119
    Mar 23, 2008
    South central Iowa
    I have free range chickens and have never had a problem with owls. I hear owls setting in trees in my yard, i live in the country and have timber around me, and the chickens set in the same tree at night sometimes in the warmer seasons and have never had a problem.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2010
  6. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    I have to GHO owls that live in my hay barn. I have previously posted pics of them. I have personally seen these two hunt as a team. (male and female)
    One lifted my cage while the other grabbed one of my cornish rock meat birds. This was after the original coop was redone because of a previous attack from them where they got there talons inside and ripped a bird from its neck to its feet almost in two pieces. (also previously posted in this section) I reinforced my 8x8 PVC tractor with sand filled pipes with 1/2 hardware cloth. to prevent any further deaths of that nature.
    I finally had to weight the cage down with stakes and a 3 story aluminum roofing ladder. Then the birds stopped dieing. That attack was around 4:30 in the morning maybe 5 and I was just coming out of the front door to see what the commotion outside was. I saw the smallest owl with a death grip on my cage and flapping his wings like crazy, and the other owl on the ground it was alot bigger then the first one. They both flew off into the dark sky with there prize in tow.(my cornish x rock)
    That pair has been here for about 2-3 months now and I will tell you this. I free range my birds everyday. my breeding stock all have covered pens and attached yards. my hens have access to the whole land and a fenced in covered yard aprox 75x25. The brooder barn has one opened yard and one covered yard. My rooster pen is covered. Since I have secured my birds better and the owls know they can't get them as easly as they use to. they have no longer become a problem for me.I see them all the time with rabbits and rodents which I dont mind.
    However I must also say these are savage beasts who just do not care about us are guns or what we might do to them. You can harrass and pester these birds and they will not leave. to live with owls secure your coops for night time predators and day time predators alike. If your yard isn't equipped with shrubs trees and brushes then build lean too's low to the ground. Make sure the sun is up when you let them out and make sure there put up well before the sun sets. As woodmort stated. Dusk and Dawn are there favorite feed times just as the sun sets. and just as its rising. (Most predators in the wild that aren't nocturnal Start moving around at the first break of light).
    Long as your birds are safe and locked up accordingly they will be fine from GHO's. Its hawks that you should consern yourself with free ranging chickens. I like to live by a rule. If its flying predator proof and ground predator proof the kids will be fine. This can be as simple as placing pieces of thin hog wire pattern fencing around there favorite shrubs and brushes. so they can run right threw the holes and most chasing predators will hesitate to test the fence. Free rangers need to learn to improvise for there covers just watch your chicksn they will tellyou there favorite shade spots shelter spots and dust spots. and then just accomidate those accordingly. Hope this was somewhat helpful I free range around 200 birds with minimal losses.

    MM Poultry Farms
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,040
    2,780
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    GHO will hunt during daylight when daylength get really short and eggs / chicks in nest. Nesting starts early January almost everywhere. GHO not as manuverable as hawks so if chickens see such a predator coming, they have a better chance of evading. That does not hold up in deep snow.

    Think the greatest risk they will present will still be at night.
     
  8. Chainsaw385

    Chainsaw385 Out Of The Brooder

    18
    0
    22
    Oct 22, 2010
    Daylight will not stop a hungry GHO.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by