turkey vultures


In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 18, 2014
Yesterday had a turkey vulture circling low on my chickens. It scared them and me. Do vultures kill chickens? My husband thinks because our hens are black the vulture thought maybe they were a group of vultures that found food.
Some people claim they do. They prefer carrion rather than kill their own food.
Most birds of prey have outstanding eyesight and they're not likely to mistake them for one of their own.
I have vultures here often and they've yet to kill a chicken. That's not their modus operandi.
Anything overhead will scare a chicken from a blue jay to an airplane.
I agree with Poltroon. We have lots of them fly over, and they have never caused any problems. The chickens and ducks sure sure panic through. The first time we saw them, we took the dogs inside. They had a 6 ft wingspan and would have no problem carrying away my 12 lb Schipperkees if they wanted to!
We had 3 turkey vultures circling when our chickens were free ranging. It turned out there was a dead racoon in the field next door. They weren't interested in the chickens, just the dead stuff.
Turkey vultures are opportunists that will eat anything if food is scarce. If the prey can't escape, a turkey vulture will kill it and let it stew in the sun before eating it. Around here I've seen turkey vultures decimate the wild turkey population by eating the eggs. I've seen them fight Redtails for a meal. I've seen them square off with crows resulting in a screaming match worthy of a Jerry Springer show. Turkey vultures are a lot smarter than they look. Keep an eye on them and protect your flock.
Turkey vultures (like pretty much everything else) will eat pretty much anything they can catch - the thing is they're pretty awkward fliers, and poor at lining up targets. I've seen them make runs at the chickens, but they're never even close to catching them - they're slow and don't turn well on approach - very different than a hawk.

I'd say with healthy birds there are no worries - chicks, maybe a worry. A broiler with a broken leg out in the yard? good bye.
We had a dozen chicks that were recently out of the brooder, so were small and helpless. My Mom called me at work and asked if the chicks could be let out of their coop and into the pen surrounding them. I said yes but neglected to tell her to stay by them to protect them.
Within 15 minutes two turkey vultures had killed and eaten 11 of the 12 chicks.
A neighbor found the twelfth ( we named her lucky chick ) wandering in the street and she grew to be the boss hen of the yard.
One of the vultures must have dropped her outside the fence when chased away by Mom.

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