Owl Attack

trainman

Songster
6 Years
Jul 22, 2014
84
132
136
Huntsville, AR
Last week I had a visit from a Great Horned Owl. As I was going up to close the chickens in the coop the Owl swooped down and chest butted my large Barred Rock rooster. Apparently he had made another pass at the girls as my rooster was guarding the door to the coop when he flew in to him. As I came around the corner of the coop Mr. Owl took flight and landed about 100' away on the fence line.

As I came to the front of the coop my Rocky was lying there on the ground stiff and silent. I went in the coop and checked for any other dead chickens or other issues and went back out to herd the hysterical girls into the coop and close the door. I did a quick head count and everyone was there. I closed the coop door and picked up Rocky. He was still and fully stretched out. I turned him over and checked for damage. No talon marks or blood? What? I couldn't see any damage anywhere and couldn't figure out how he had killed him. His neck wasn't broken so I was perplexed! Then he opened an eye and blinked. I rubbed him and talked to him and in about 15-20 seconds he started to rouse. His last remembrance was the huge Great Horned Owl crashing into him so naturally when he came to again he was freaking out! Not being stupid and not wanting to try to hold onto a 13lb frightened rooster with1 1/2" long spurs and claws I tossed Rocky to the ground. He was still groggy from the encounter and not yet calmed down. Gradually he settled down and went in the coop with the girls. I watching him for a while and he seemed okay other than gulping a lot and moving his head from side to side. I heard him all night rustling and staring out the window.

The next morning I thought it was strange as Rocky didn't wake me with his crowing. I went up and opened the coop, fed and watered the flock and watched Rocky. He seemed to be okay except for the gulping and head movements and the lack of crowing. All through the day he was like that and for 2 more days. Then on the 4th day he tried to crow and it was sad! What a terrible noise and nothing like a crow from a grown rooster. You could tell it hurt him and he didn't try again until way late in the day. It took him 3 days before he could crow like a Pro again.

All I can think of is when the Owl chest butted him he must have crushed his vocal chords or something. I'm just glad I picked that particular moment to go outside as I'm sure it threw the Owls timing off enough to spare Rockys life.

Just thought I'd share a strange experience with you.

Trainman
 

trainman

Songster
6 Years
Jul 22, 2014
84
132
136
Huntsville, AR
That's interesting that Red Tails attack the same way.

We moved here to the mountains 2 years ago onto a 20 acre farm. There are lots of predators here besides the owls. We've had a Red Tail accost one of the Buff Orpingtons. Other than a few cuts on her sides and a lot of feather loss she came out okay. Once again, my timing was just right as I came outside just as he swooped down and hit her. When I chased him away she made a bee-line for the coop and wouldn't leave the coop for over a week!

Surprisingly with all the Bald Eagles, racoons, skunks, coyotes, bobcats and a mountain lion the only other problems have been with snakes eating the chicks. Even the ducks, living outside and unprotected except for the pond, have managed to make it for almost 2 years.

Thanks for sharing!
Trainman
 

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