I think an owl is eating my chickens...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Gardenlady2, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Gardenlady2

    Gardenlady2 Chirping

    Sep 17, 2013
    I've lost two hens over the past week. Heads picked clean except for combs, breast feathers plucked & meat eaten down to the rib bones. I'm almost certain it's an owl because I saw one a few nights ago on a post in my vineyard. The chickens are in a pasture surrounded by a 6 foot fence (combination of sheep & goat fence and electric poly wire).
    Short of closing up the coop at night, what else will deter it? I'm thinking of putting motion-sensor lights on the coop.
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    In my experience , short of locking them in the coop, nothing will deter a GHO. Several years ago My Birmingham rollers had an overfly (half the kit failed to come in after their training flight) so I left the bobs to their loft unsecured. That evening a GHO entered the loft and killed several birds. I netted and released him. That very evening he was back trying to figure out why he could no longer enter the loft. Periodically for a long time after that I would see him sitting on top of my aviaries - hope springs eternal. In their determination they are like weasels with feathers.
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    You need to close them in at night. Now that this owl has found your chickens he will continue to pick them off until they're gone, unless you do lock them up.
  4. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Songster

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    I had a large owl here last fall I didn't know it until it flew over my house in the dark and a saw the massive s.o.b. in the yard light glow, he got a few hens I didn't even realize because we had so many birds at the time I didn't bother counting until he got so many that I noticed just by glancing in the coop and something didn't look right. I kept them in the secure run after that, keep in mind that an owl is not strictly a night hunter they can and will strike during the day as well we had one hen killed during mid day. The others were carried off also during light hours. I'd make them a covered run and keep them confined for awhile and hope the owl leaves after realizing he can't get at them anymore.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
  5. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    x2! Keep your birds in a secure coop at night always, and for now in a secure coop and covered secure run. Or you can become a local predater feeding station, until your flock is gone. [​IMG] Mary
  6. azahn

    azahn In the Brooder

    Jan 14, 2012
    Northeast Texas
    Could be an owl. But also could be a hawk - I had one show up at 4 am once, pulled a broody off the nest in my front yard shrubs. Could also be any other type predator - raccoon possibly. You could spend days/weeks trying to figure out "who did it" but honestly, your time would be better spent making sure they are secure at night. They need to be protected from predators who can either climb, fly or jump into their enclosure. Good luck.
  7. deadendacres

    deadendacres In the Brooder

    Jan 28, 2015
    We had a whole lot of chicken,duck and young turkeys killed by a great horned owl when I was a kid.

    It would usually tear them to shreds an eat the inards, but occasionally the whole thing was gone.

    We started locking everything in houses and the old man had us string fishing line over the pens like a spider Web. Then we put jump traps around the houses.

    Caught it the next morning. And holy cow the thing was huge! I'm talking dang near 3' tall and wings 5' across. And talons that'd make a hawk look like a song bird.

    I wish we would of had film for the Polaroid camera. It was a sight to see.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: