Raven Attack


8 Years
Jan 3, 2012
Northern CA
I am so sad. We keep our 4 hens in a chicken tractor but let them out into the pasture for a few hours when we get home from work so they can run around and take dirt baths. We've been doing this for a year now without any problems but some ravens killed my beautiful Spotted Sussex tonight. We thought a hawk had tried to get Babette my favorelle earlier in the week after we found her in shock with a lot of tail feathers missing. There was no blood on her and she didn't appear hurt just really upset so we put her in a pen by herself because the other hens started to harass her as she is still a little shook up. We haven't seen any hawks in the area so we let them out but my husband interrupted some ravens that had killed her, pulled all of her neck feathers off and started to feed. I immediately put the others back in their pen. I knew ravens liked to picked on small song birds but had no idea that they would attack my chickens, So now I'm afraid to let the hens out anymore. We found a dead chicken several houses down our road that had been killed the same way a month ago but we didn't know who she belonged to or what had killed her. Maybe we can use netting or wire to construct an outdoor run so they can still get some run around space?
I have a big, angry, territorial rooster with a perpetual hair across his *** that I keep with my hens all the time because I like to free range them. If ravens attacked, I have no doubt in my mind that he would deal with them. Keeping a rooster isn't an option for everyone, but I wouldn't let mine out of a covered run, unsupervised, without one. Too many predators out there and chickens are too large an investment once they're grown up.
Did you see the ravens attack? Are they indeed ravens or just large crows?

It may not have been them. Ravens are carrion birds and will feed on a dead animal, they dont usually attack larger prey. It maybe that something smaller, like a weasel or a ferret, or even a fox or a cat could ahve killed your Babbett, but the ravens may have pushed it off the kill.

Inspect the body for punctures under the feathers.

If it was indeed a raven that killed your birds, then they ahve learned that your birds are an easy meal, ravens are very very smart birds. Perhaps contact Fish and Game and see if there is anything they can do about it. They might be able to give you some tips on warding off Ravens.

A scarecrow might even work! If you use one, make sure to change the position on a regular basis, ravens and crows are known to be observers, and will grow accustomed to it if they never see it move or change.

Another trick, but I dont know if it is true, or if it is legal in your area. Kill one of the birds and scatter its feathers. Apparently they are close knit family groups and seeing one dead family member makes them shy of the area.

Crows and Ravens are most likely the reason you ahve not seen any larger birds of prey. We have crows, eagles and osprey here. I had a young eagle come and perch on the top of my chicken coop last year just after I got some hens, 2 crows flew in and chased him off. I havent seen him since. I have a nesting pair of crows in the forest near the house. I never let my ladies out unobserved though.

I am sorry about your loss. Its such a shock and a tragedy to lose one of our babies.
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