Predator on the prowl

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bre113, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. bre113

    bre113 Out Of The Brooder

    56
    3
    43
    Mar 2, 2014
    Living way out in the country, we've dealt with many predators, from a coon coming into our house and stealing fruit, to a bald eagle on our pond attacking our Ducks. Most are simple fixes: a coon or fox, or something of that nature-you shoot it. But we now have a new predator on the prowl: what appears to be an owl. Just like the eagle, there's nothing you can do to it.
    A week ago, we were walking home from my parents house (20 yards away) when the dogs started barking and running toward something in the dark. We heard a flapping/flying sound, but it didn't really click. Our chickens and guinies had often been going crazy at night, before and since that incident, but until tonight, we had no idea why. About 11:30, I heard my hens clucking. I awoke my husband and we walked out to see what it was. We heard the flapping sound once again, and it moved the other side of the yard very quickly. We then saw a bird of some sort fly from that try. We couldn't see it very well, just that whatever was moving around was a rapid flying animal. Now, being that owls are really the only night hunters around here, I assume that's what we are dealing with. I know they're all around here, as we've seen smaller owls both at night and during the day, and my husband was hunting this past year, and was startled when at day break, he saw a grey horned owl in the tree beside him, less than 6 foot away.
    I don't really think it could fly off with any of my large RIR's or my brahmas unless it were massive, we do have smaller guinies and bantams which it could easily get. Our chickens and guinies all roost in trees, and the owl knows it. He was right there in the tree beside them. I have too many birds to get them all up at night, so what could I do to keep from losing birds? I know if he kills once, he kill again and again. Free food isn't a bad bargain for anyone.
     
  2. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,570
    533
    179
    Dec 15, 2014
    Massachusetts
    As long as you continue to let them roost in trees you will continue to have losses, if not from the owl then from other predators. Build a pen. It doesn't have to be predator proof, just secure enough to keep the chickens in. Before roost time call/lure them into the pen with some scratch and lock them in. They'll have no choice but to go into the coop to roost for the night.
     
  3. bre113

    bre113 Out Of The Brooder

    56
    3
    43
    Mar 2, 2014
    Shooting it is not an option.
    I have a chain link fence, covered over top with wire, which we originally had them in, and my hens lay in there, however, they travel in always 3, usually more groups and it's near impossible to get them all in the coup. I've tried. We ended up having to climb the tree and get hens. Ugh I guess I'll just have to keep going out there and scaring it off.
     
  4. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,635
    3,235
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    That's going to make for some really long nights for you, as the owl will be on the hunt from dusk to dawn. And, as previously stated, owls aren't the only predators that will get your chickens during the night. You will continue to lose birds unless you secure them at night.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,706
    6,827
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^^

    Eventually you will have a reduced number of birds that will fit in a secure nighttime enclosure.
     
  6. bre113

    bre113 Out Of The Brooder

    56
    3
    43
    Mar 2, 2014
    I don't have to worry about any ground predators. We have dogs that won't let anything in the yard. They will be reduced soon. I have 6 going in the freezer in the next week or so. I only have about 30 birds, but when they travel in groups, on 50 acres, it's hard to get them all in before others start getting out. I have two little ones and no one to watch them before dark, and in winter as well... There's just no way. I guess I'll just have to lose a few birds until it warms up and hubby starts getting home a little earlier.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by