How Do I Protect Chickens From Owls During Free Range Time?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Barry Natchitoches, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2008
    I used to have a duck. The duck broke his/her leg a year or so ago, and it did not heal properly, so it had limited mobility. The duck's previous owner didn't want to cull it, since it did not seem to have any pain, so they ask my family to take it.

    All was well until a few days ago, when the duck suddenly disappeared just two hours after my wife freed it from the chicken tractor it slept in at night.

    We weren't sure what happened to it until today, when we saw an owl looking over our yard, looking for another meal.

    We certainly do not want to loose a chicken the way we lost that duck. Our chickens only free range for an hour a day, in the late afternoons, but we cannot always stay out in the yard to supervise and protect them.

    What can we do, to protect our chickens (RIRs and Buff Orpingtons) from this owl?
  2. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    If at all possible range earlier. Let your daughter play outside at that time. Or get a good dog. My chickens free range all day on the side of a canyon, so far I have been lucky with only losing a few chickens to hawks and owls. That is the way of life, if you can't cover the run that is the chance you must take.
  3. LouManChu

    LouManChu Out Of The Brooder

    May 14, 2007
    I just asked the guy at the feed store the same question yesturday
    he said you could try running fishing line back and forth across the back yard the owls and hawks cant see it becuase the focused on the chicken and the line will flip them and startle them in to thinking something is after them and leave the area.
    I haven't tried it yet but going to since I have a relatively small back yard, I got great horned Owls at night and hawks during the day, I can always tell when the hawks swoop in the chickens go crazy and I run out there and scare the hawk off or to the next yard.
    A few days ago one hawk resorted to catching a blue-jay but couldn't hold on to it, that was kinda fun to watch.
    The owl hasn't been around in a while since the chickens stay locked in there coops till I figure out what to do plus me running out there at night when the chickens start up becuase he's landing on the side of the dog kennels I have them in probley made him think to hunt elsewere.
    well I'll keep you up to date on how the fishing line idea works, it's probley not a option on someone who has a big yard but my 40x100 I think I'll give it a try. let me know what you think.
  4. bayouchica

    bayouchica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2007
    N.E. Louisiana
    Is there anyway you can provide some make shift cover for them?

    My chickens free range all day & we have alot of different places in the where they can run for cover.I usually park my truck in our pasture so they have a place to hide.
    There are alot of migrating predator birds here this time of the year,hawks seem to be the worse.
    I'm so sorry you lost your duck.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Ditto above! My dogs are pretty good at keeping attacks from above at bay. I did get to witness a small hawk making a dive on my big ol' birds the other day and it was hilarious. I think the dogs thought it was a songbird, as he was so small! Now, what in the world do you think he would do with my big, fat hens when he got one?? [​IMG] My rooster called the alarm, all the big ladies and other roos ran for the coop and stayed for a couple of hours, afraid to venture out.....not my roo, Sue! He stood in the middle of the yard in all his diminutive glory and practically dared the hawk to come back! It was funny watching him scan the sky, crow, give his warning call, crow, strut up and down...if birds could talk I can imagine he was taunting the little hawk to "C'mon!!! You may fly in here, but you gonna limp out!" [​IMG]

    BTW, been free ranging for years in hawk and owl country and haven't lost a one. Get a good dog or two and a good, cocky roo, create some "hides" and then just let things be. Or get a chicken tractor!
  6. kimberly_kodiak

    kimberly_kodiak Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2010
    I have a small flock and protect my chickens by having a large covered run. Yesterday I lost one of my chickens. It was killed through the chicken wire. Is there anyway to deter owls and hawks from killing through the run?
  7. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Quote:Don't use chicken wire.
  8. kimberly_kodiak

    kimberly_kodiak Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 12, 2010
    The chicken wire is still intact. It seemed to grab the bird through the chicken wire without breaking the wire. Today, I put some branches around the area that the bird was killed and hope that it will discourage the predators by making an obstacle in front of the wire.
  9. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    It makes no difference if the chicken wire is broken or not, the mesh size is too large, if you don't mind seeing decapitated birds by all means continue using it.

    There are plenty of predators that are more than happy to dine at your expense after ripping various body parts off of your birds.

    Even hardware cloth is no defense if it isn't properly installed or the predator is something like a bear.

    CHICKENBOY 1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2009
    just my luck i have a bear and i use chicken wire.

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