Hawk or owl? Ideas for prevention

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Lexoutlaw420, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Lexoutlaw420

    Lexoutlaw420 New Egg

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    Hi all...
    This is my first year with chickens. We have 4...one of which is a silke. We live in KY in the city, roosters aren't allowed. I have always known birds of prey were a threat but had our first run in last night, first incident all year. All chickens are safe, barely. I didn't get a good look at the bird it all happened so fast.
    We live in a heavily shaded/covered yard,our chickens free range all day. It was just about dusk. Our silke who isn't 100% part of the flock due to being introduced later, was wandering around alone like she does... She was under our big apple tree in corner of yard. All of a sudden a huge bird came from nowhere, attempted to grab her but didn't get a good grip. She is pretty fast. I started running towards the action, the bird tried again and finally flew off. My immediate concern was our silke(Muppet) who was fine, just scared... I didn't see where the bird flew off to.
    I'm curious if it was an owl or hawk. I'm leaning towards an owl due to the attack style.... It seemed more ambush versus a swoop, and there was tree cover. It was also nearly dark. I know hawks are starting to migrate South as well. Only good look I got was from behind. The bird seemed mostly white or light gray with black tipped feathers. Wish I had a better angle to of seen the face.

    Any advice on prevention besides not letting them free range? Is daytime safer than dusk?
    If an owl, it seems like it may be an ongoing issue versus a hawk vacationing in the area for a few weeks.
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I free range also and have a few Silkies along with just about every predator possible.

    I would probably suspect owl under the conditions described. I'm not sure if it will work for owls and haven't tried it myself, but many have said a hawk will not cross a fishing line tied above the the area.

    Wish I could be more help, but I am glad you flock is safe!
     
  3. Lexoutlaw420

    Lexoutlaw420 New Egg

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    I've been told about the fishing line... May do that. I'm in my yard a lot so seems like it may be a pain. I'm researching on attracting crows now.
    Thx
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If you put a light (even a torch would do) in the coop, it may encourage your flock to enter the coop a little earlier than they usually do (not by much, but if could make a difference [​IMG]) . You can then turn off the light source as you lock up for the night.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    What will crows do? (Beside steal eggs....) [​IMG]
     
  6. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    In the long term, planting shrubs and trees is a great way to defend against hawks (not sure about owls). Interfering with the line of attack from a hawk makes it more difficult for them to swoop, and also gives the flock a source of cover. I keep my feeding stations in an area of my garden with vegetative protection. I'm not suggesting its perfect, but I've only ever lost 3 month olds, and attacks on adults have not caused any long lasting damage (and only had 2 such incidents) as they could escape because of the cover the shrubs gave them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    With owl hunting at dusk, I would get serious about putting birds up a good 30 minutes before dark. Make certain location they roost in is closed up after birds up, otherwise you run risk of owl following them in, sometimes on foot.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yeah I would say your best bet is to lock your birds up an hour or so before dark
     
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Crows harass owls and will divebomb them. Other birds like blackbirds will do the same.

    I had a Barred Owl show up a little before dusk for a few days. I have an uncovered run, though it has a large weeping willow tree covering about a third of it. It got close but never made an attempt at my chickens, thankfully. I'm thinking it was more interested in the squirrels and rats that lived by that tree. But as a precaution I locked my girls up early until it stopped coming by.
     
  10. ThreeOfSeven

    ThreeOfSeven Just Hatched

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    [​IMG]

    I've had my 4 girls since July. They have a roofed enclosure, but lately I've been letting them free-range the last hour or so of they day, and they love it. Last night, I saw that this Great Horned Owl was too close for comfort. The girls went back into their enclosure. Ten minutes later, the owl moved on to find dinner somewhere else.
     

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