Hawk or Owl?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by whytedragon, May 22, 2010.

  1. whytedragon

    whytedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    340
    0
    119
    Sep 27, 2009
    Floresville, Texas
    We just recently got back home from a fishing trip, we'd been gone since 5am. I have my broody Silkies in an open pen with their little cabin. There is no top on the pen. I came back to find one of the females gone, and 2 chicks.
    I found feathers in a circle nearby (just one feather inside the pen), the corpse was missing the head, and the neck was picked clean. We found the head in all of the feathers.
    A couple hours later, near dark, I saw a large bird fly away from where the pen had been (we moved it to a more secure area in the chicken coop). My husband thinks it was an owl, I think probably hawk. I couldn't tell what it was...but it was definitely one of the two. It was brown and had a huge wing span.

    Do an owl and hawk pick the head off and eat the neck and leave everything else intact? Was under the impression that both birds would eat more than just the neck.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  2. Kory

    Kory New Egg

    8
    0
    7
    May 23, 2010
    No one responded yet so I'll just mention that a farmer I knew had an owl killing his chicken about 15 years ago and all they did was cut off the heads. I would guess that a hawk would eat the whole thing.
     
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    6,771
    130
    281
    Apr 15, 2009
    It's a hawk. The same scenario happened with my duck last fall. The hawk will be back so get a cover for that run. Sorry about your losses.
     
  4. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I only see hawks here in my area during the main part of the day; I never see them early morning, nor do I see them late evening. So I would guess an owl based on that. But I thought owls carried off the whole prey, although they will often eat the heads off first. [​IMG] If you hadn't suggested bird of prey, I wouldn't have even guessed a raptor.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  5. Stevo

    Stevo Chillin' With My Peeps

    359
    4
    121
    Apr 14, 2010
    Howell, NJ
    Owl's eat thier prey whole. It is a hawk. I find piles of dove feathers on the farm from time to time. My birds run in the coop even if a plane flys over lol. They can also go under it for a quik getaway. I always know when a hawk is around as they will stay inside.
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,685
    9,104
    766
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    It may be either a hawk or an owl. Since it was seen at dusk, I would lean toward owl. Either will pluck feathers, start eating at the head, eat as much as they want, and return later if the carcass is too heavy to carry away. Great horned owls appear blockier than hawks and have massive wingspans. Bottom line is that your pen needs a top. The predator will return.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2010
  7. whytedragon

    whytedragon Chillin' With My Peeps

    340
    0
    119
    Sep 27, 2009
    Floresville, Texas
    Oh I'm sure he's been back, my kids said they saw it last night. So I do think it's an owl. It had a massive wing span, and flew so effortlessly and quietly.
    My chickens are safe, i've put them up. The only thing I need shelter for is the ducks, who usually go under the bushes or under the gazebo for shelter...but they need something more secure now.

    Thank you for the replies, I will keep a close eye out. It was my favorite Splash hen it got, she was a good bird, and good mother.
     
  8. Stevo

    Stevo Chillin' With My Peeps

    359
    4
    121
    Apr 14, 2010
    Howell, NJ
    They always get the best ones. Try putting a crow decoy on your coop. Hawks and owl's hate crows and avoid them.
     
  9. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    8,650
    36
    303
    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    http://icwdm.org/inspection/livestock.asp
    http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-2111/ANSI-8204web.pdf

    See
    the above websites to help identify predators of chickens. According that the websites, it was an owl.

    "Owl. The only likely culprit here is the great horned owl, which does sometimes attack poultry. One or two birds are usually killed, with the talons being used to pierce the brain. The owl will usually eat only the head and neck. Feathers found on a fence-post near the chicken house or pen may provide an additional clue."
     
  10. okiemamachick

    okiemamachick Chillin' With My Peeps

    419
    16
    88
    Jan 11, 2015
    Oklahoma
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I couldn't find the source of the blood on her back

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by