Owls DO hunt chickens and roosters!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by OllyOwl, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. OllyOwl

    OllyOwl New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2013
    HI all.

    New here, but I had to sign up and join so I could post what just happened TWICE this evening.

    We have about 30 chickens and 1 rooster, 1 males duck and 2 female ducks, along with 8 sheep and 3 barn cats.
    We have a coop that is secured with fencing all around the coop and wire fencing over the top, very secure.
    Our chickens always head into the coop in the evening. And the ducks have also learned. At first we had to corral the ducks until they learned.

    Our neighbor about 200 feet away also has chickens, about 12 and 1 rooster. He just got the rooster about a week and a half ago.
    He's a tanish color and decent sized. Not as big as some we've had over the years, but decent.
    He also has 2 very nice horses.
    They built a new coop about 4 weeks ago, nice one too. it's elevated about 2 feet off the ground.

    Problem is half of his chickens won't sleep in the coop. They prefer to roost in the apple tree right next to the coop.
    Mostly it's the black and white speckled rock hens.
    The rooster doesn't go into the coop either. He roosts on a metal storage shed roof right next and behind the coop. It's about 8-10 high.
    Often they go out of town for the weekend, so we watch over their chickens and horses.

    So, I'm outside surfing the web enjoying the cool evening air. It's about 8pm and the bright moon was rising, still not high enough to brighten the area.
    All of a sudden I hear one of the chickens make that "aaaahhhck" sound when something is wrong, followed by a lots of rustling.
    I'm about 200 feet away. Then I here the sounds of great distress, sounding like something was killing a chicken.
    I run inside and grab my large flash light. I quickly head towards the neighbors coop. Our sheep all came outside and they are ALL standing and intensely looking towards the neighbors coop. "Odd", I thought.

    By this time there was no more sound coming from the coop area.
    I start looking around, and then I see the rooster laying sideways on the ground and a HUGE owl right next to him.
    I shine the light right at the owl and rooster. The owl has some huge eyes, and it stared right at me and the light from the flashlight.
    He wouldn't move. One of his rather large talons was wrapped around the roosters neck, and the other foot was pressing on the roosters body. Basically the owl was choking the rooster to death.
    I thought the rooster was already dead.
    The owl would NOT budge an inch, just starring right at me. I grabbed a rather large pipe and thought what to do.
    I considered slamming it right on or against the roosters head, but he was a great looking creature and I thought I didn't want to kill it.

    So instead I pressed the end of the large pipe, about 2.5" in diameter, right against the owl's chest. It pushed him back slightly, but he would NOT let that rooster go. I pushed harder and still no letting go.
    I could feel how powerful this creature is, very solid and BIG for an owl.
    It was under 2 feet tall, but not by much. His head was about the size of a softball, and his eyes were huge. And you know their eyes are both facing forward like a humans.
    So I pushed the pipe into his body and wing and pinned him to the ground. He would still NOT let go.
    I decided I had to, so I pushed even harder, but didn't want to kill it. He let go and the jumped. By the time I relocated my flashlight I couldn't see him. I hunted around a bit and spotted him about 8 feet away on the ground. I went towards him and he jumped landing somewhere behind me. I turned the flashlight and looked everywhere, but he was gone.
    But, I didn't hear any wing flutter. I thought surely I would hear big wing flutter given how wide and large his wings were. I saw one of it's wings half extended when I was pinning it to the ground. But, he was gone.

    I had remembered hearing or reading that owl's wings have some special feathers or different structure than other birds that makes the wings produce very little sound so they can better approach their prey without detection.

    I went to check on the rooster thinking he was dead. He wasn't. Still breathing, but he wouldn't move from where he was laying.
    I checked for blood and didn't see any. Put him the coop and he stood on his own feet and very slowly went into the coop.
    I think he'll make it.

    I ran to a convenience store to get something quickly. I was gone for maybe 10-12 minutes. When I got back one of our ducks was still clucking from earlier. I thought it strange, but also thought that maybe the duck knew there was still a predator around.
    She was RIGHT!
    About a half minute later I heard the faint cry of a chicken in distress at the neighbors coop.
    Ran quickly with my flashlight, and the darn owl came back, and had one of the tree perching rock hens on the ground.
    As I started towards it, it jumped onto the top of the fench. I shined the light right on him for about 20 seconds.
    Right as I started to move closer he few off, VERY quietly. I could barely hear his wide wings flapping.

    I checked on the chicken and this time there was some blood around it's neck, but she was still breathing.
    Put her in the coop, and then rounded up about 5 more rock hens and put in the coop, and they did NOT like it.
    Had to knock 3 of them out of the tree to get them in.

    That's it. As I right this the duck has not quacked since the last incident and all is quiet. The 3/4 moon is up in the sky and shining, no sight or sound of the owl I'm sure he's PO'd as he had the taste of blood on his tongue, but no dinner, as the human foiled his kill TWICE.

    Owl's DO hunt chickens given a chance. And, it's not like it's winter and other warm furry animals are not about.
    He just happen to hit upon some easy prey and went for it.
    Can't blame him at all, as all of nature's creatures have to eat.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    What a scary story, I hope that they'll be okay. It sounds like your neighbor needs a good, secure run with a cover and the such like yours.
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Owls and all other predators are opportunistic feeders. If they find an opportunity to kill your chickens and feed on them they will darn sure do it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    Yikes!! Time to make those chickens sleep in the coop whether they like it or not!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Great story...well, except for the victims.
     
  6. JanetS

    JanetS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wish you were my chicken sitter [​IMG] Good job!! That's why we always lock up our chickens in the coop every night.
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    If you will dust your chickens' roost with number 4 lead shot at the first sign of an owl infestation you can let your birds roost anywhere they please.
    Isn't that the point of the whole free range thing?[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. OllyOwl

    OllyOwl New Egg

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    Sep 21, 2013
    Update:

    So, after I posted last night I hung out outside surfing the web and reading posts on this site.
    The Owl came back!
    He came back about 4 times as one of our ducks and our rooster gave warning calls.

    As I said our coop is well protected, but since a large part of it is open, Mr. Owl could see the chickens and ducks down below.
    And some of the chickens perch outside under the wire, but most go into the covered area of the coop.

    2:30 Am, big ruckus. Went to the coop and the Owl was perched on the coops corner just sitting there staring at the flashlight light.
    As I got about 10ft from him he flow off, VERY quietly towards the large grass field about 500 ft. away.

    Our neighbor came back and we told him what happened.

    Just about 10 minutes ago, Mr. Owl comes BACK! It was still light but dusky.
    The Owl perched himself right at the peak of the large storage shed right behind the coop, and just stared at us.
    Some of the chickens were again in the apple tree, clucking like crazy.
    About 3 jumped down and hid under the raise coop.

    Too many of us around so he took off after we shoo'd him away.

    I feel bad for Mr. Owl. It's big handsome bird, doing what nature designed him to do.
    Wonder if he or his mate, or her or her mate will come back, if they are a pair.
    Interesting that it came around given we have plenty of hawks around, and a few bigger than him.

    Earlier this year a hawk had killed one of our chickens, day time of course.
    All we found was a circle of chicken feathers and a big empty circle of just grass where the chicken got eaten and obviously taken away.
    Then, either that one or another one came back about a week later and tried to take another one.
    We saw him that time and we started running towards him. He tried his best to fly off with the chicken, but that one was bigger.
    He left it and took off. We picked the chicken up, dead of course, and didn't see him for a long while.

    All is quiet now, no clucking or quacking. Chickens have all settled in, and the sheep are cozy in the barn.
    All I hear are some frogs and some crickets.
    Pretty surprising given that it's 54F degree's out here.

    I'm curious, I wonder if were to put up a fake owls on top of the coops, if that would keep a real one away?
    Have to look into that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  9. OllyOwl

    OllyOwl New Egg

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    Knowing now that these big birds are to be left alone, we'll have to look for a way to try and keep them away.
    I found some suggestions on the web like tying pie tins on tree branches.
    Some say hawks don't like it, and maybe even Owls.

    So, I'm nixing the BB/pellet rifle idea.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I believe owls fall under the predatory bird laws..... owls, hawks, falcons, eagles.... harassing and/or injuring and/or killing any of them can get you in big, very expensive trouble.
    So.... not a good idea to blatantly post about it. But congrats.
     

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