What birds of prey attack chickens in Australia?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mamabokbok, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. mamabokbok

    mamabokbok Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi all. I've been trying to find the answer to this but also generally wouldn't mind a list of any kinds of birds that hunt chickens in Australia, particularly in the inland/city NSW/Canberra? And ways to discourage them from the yard/provide extra protection to chickens who free range without an enclosure? I am aware that free range chickens are always going to be at some risk (neighbours cats are the other potential threat that I'm personally concerned about, but they would have a hard time getting in) but I personally think it's also the most enjoyable way for them to live their life and it is also useful to me as they will keep the garden in check. I figure shaded areas/trees/places to seek refuge from Eagles that are spotted above and keeping a rooster to watch out for this are a good start but my concern today is about a Currawong that visited and refused to leave upon being challenged, by myself [​IMG] I was sitting with one of my bantam chickens out in the open and this Currawong flew over a few times and then landed in the yard and sat within about 3/4 metres of us and just stare like it was checking us out, I did shoo it quite loudly with aggressive body language and even stood up and it wasn't phased, although I didn't leave my chickens side to actually chase it off. It eventually decided to take a piece of bread that was on the ground near where it landed and then leave and I haven't seen it since, I rarely see Currawongs in the street and never in my yards before but I occasionally do in the park across the road and it's one bird that I am very unsure of being a threat or not.. I google and Currawongs come up as omnivorous that eat berries, fruit etc and also insects, baby birds and eggs, but I know for a fact that they will eat small, adult Avery birds such as budgies, cocktails etc if they get the opportunity, I've seen one go as far as try to claw small birds through Avery mesh?! So I'm wondering if anyone has had or knows if a Currawong would attack an adult bantam? Unlike Hawks etc that circle from above to see their prey, Currawongs obviously come to the ground and suss things out so shaded areas don't seem like a safe bet if they are a threat [​IMG] a bantam chicken is obviously a lot larger than a baby bird or a cocktail, I may (hopefully) just be paranoid? A few times I've seen large eagle/hawk birds in the sky off in the distance near the nature reserve (but never actually close to the house) so I know that they are here and are definitely a potential threat, is there any other kind of bird here in AUS that will kill chickens as well? I'm struggling to decide the risk to let them go free even when I am in the yard with them now incase of this Currawong swooping in and snatching one right infront of me [​IMG] because if it is capable of taking my chicken then I'm fair sure it wouldn't even care if I was right there when it tried, this bird today seemed fearless of my presence! But then it got the bread I didn't even realise was there, prehaps that's what it came in for and it was just staring us down to see if I was going to attack it or not, after all they are only about the size of a medium chicken themselves [​IMG] I'm driving myself insane over this lol especially because nobody else has seemed to ask (that I can find) wondering if it's a really stupid question [​IMG]
     
  2. James9222

    James9222 Out Of The Brooder

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    I recently moved to the NSW & QLD border region and wow the bird life here is insane. What my free range chickens have to deal with regarding species are hawks, eagles (wedge tails), crows or ravens, currawongs and many owl species. Most aerial predators won't chase down a chicken that has ducked for cover under a bush or tree. I have a mix of black stars or sex linked hens, a Plymouth rock rooster who is an accredited body guard haha and six nine week old australorp x pullets that all free range. Even when they are young most chickens will run for cover when a bird bigger than a kookaburra flies overhead. If you have space for a rooster I would consider getting one as they spend the day alerting the ladies and providing food for them. I would definitely allow them to free range and reckon their instincts will kick in.
     
  3. mamabokbok

    mamabokbok Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am lucky here bird life is huge in my suburb we have all kinds of colourful parrots and pretty little birds [​IMG] there is kukkaburras occasionally,lots of magpies, pee wee things etc, I'm unsure which type of eagle/Hawks are around as I have only seen them way off in the distance. Do the Currawongs attack your chickens at all? I am fairly sure that I Do have a baby roo (bantam size) growing up which I plan to keep, but he will be just as vulnerable physically as the girls I suppose, not a body guard, hopefully a good look out/alarm though [​IMG] I didn't even consider Crows as a potential threat hey [​IMG] there is a carport and also part of the side of the house covered from areal view and there is two trees, one on either end of the yard but that's pretty much it besides the coop and part of an old kennel for shelter. I didn't have any birds of prey take standard sized chickens in my yard and I didn't supervise or limit their free range or set anything special up, but they were not so little [​IMG] I'm paranoid about the bantams!
     
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    You will probably get great answers at "Australia, six states and one funny little island." Everything seems to love eating chickens. I would guess anything bigger than them would give it a try.

    If you keep chickens in a secure run with cover, I would imagine they would be safe from attacks from the sky. Or a good Aussie cattle dog, to keep watch over them.
     
  5. James9222

    James9222 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've never had the currawongs take an interest in my chickens. I was even down to one hen that had no issues. Not all roo's but most will just sound the alarm and then hens will run. Mine stays out in the open which is very brave but stupid when it's a huge eagle[​IMG]overhead. From what i have heard bantam's whilst smaller tend to stick to brush. I think the only real solution is to let them out for supervised outings if possible, that way you can keep an eye on them from a window to see their reactions. In my previous backyard (much smaller) magpies used to set the girls offand the hens would chase them off. I think irresponsible pet owners are more of a worry in my experience than aerial foes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2015
  6. mamabokbok

    mamabokbok Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would LOVE to have a window that outlooks the yard [​IMG] unfortunately I don't, but I so far I haven't found any horror stories about Currawongs, I need more bushy garden for the girls, I have blackberry and raspberry bushes to grow which will provide extra shelter and food. They are still in their original pots but I have bigger ones now just have to get the dirt to move them and I'll plant them between the two trees, they seem to grow FAST and will be a decent size [​IMG] can't wait lol! when my potential rooster is grown I hope that he is smart enough too! There is a rooster across the fence in another neighbours yard that goes off a lot sometimes he's actually annoying coz he just crows and Crows and Crows and Crows continuously [​IMG] so I'm unsure if that's gonna set off a crowing match that will get them both into Trouble! I just have to try and see if it all goes well, if a neighbour complains then he will have to go [​IMG] last time I had a rooster there was no complaints but he wasn't a crazy crower like this neighbours one. I'm glad that you haven't had issues with the Currawongs that makes me feel positive hopefully I am just paranoid haha
     
  7. James9222

    James9222 Out Of The Brooder

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    Whilst i wouldn't put it past a bird any bigger than a hawk trying to attack your chickens the chances are slim. Typically hawks and smaller eagles will prey on birds from the size of sparrows to slightly smaller than magpies. It may be sad to say but since you have a lot of bird life in your suburb the eagles etc would be more interested in them than your chickens who if given the chance can run behind a shrub, car or trampoline etc. To say it could never happen is silly but if given some makeshift hidey holes or bushes to hide under they will be fine. Birds that fly to hunt will feel more comfortable hunting in the air than running/hopping around your yard chasing a chicken that is quicker on foot and more familiar with it's environment.

    I have had times where i didn't have a rooster to sound the alarm and mostly there will be an alpha hen that assumes a sort of pseudo rooster roll in keeping watch. I have noticed when a rooster is around they tend to not let their guard down compared to not having one around. Usually a chicken that can run is a safe chicken, most hens that i have lost can't run quicker than a dog or cat or don't know where to run/hide. I found out the hard way 4 weeks ago that a feral dog + free range chickens don't mix and then it turned on me [​IMG]. Even most roosters will move quickly to hide so i wouldn't worry about the bantam being to brave. The bushes sound like a great idea for cat protection aswell! You don't really have to have things for them to hide under it's more of a getting out of the flying birds line of sight. I'd certainly let them out lol whilst paranoia IMO is a good thing don't let it stop you. Those chicken minds should kick into overdrive in regards to survival when something flies overhead, the only real way is to test it out.
     
  8. mamabokbok

    mamabokbok Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I could have sworn that I actually sent a reply to you the same day that you replied hey [​IMG] my phone is rubbish for this site [​IMG] it's very sad about the stray dog incident [​IMG] I'm lucky that no dogs will be able to get in here! But I was just sitting here watching my girls scratch the grass and a magpie swooped down and attacked one of my chickens, landed right on her back [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] I got up so darn fast to yell and scare it off that I think I've pulled a muscle, my girls ran for the coop poor things still haven't came back out [​IMG] what the heck hey, a magpie?! They are adult bantams, the one the magpie targeted is black I don't know if it was mistaken that my chicken is a chicken or if it was just thinking that it could steal a worm or something from her or if it was deliberately trying to hurt her?! They are pretty shaken up over it [​IMG] obviously the magpie was smaller than the chicken but it was aggressive went in feet first! I did feed a magpie a bit of steak left over from dinner last night thismorning because it was hanging out in my yard and I had the meat on a plate just inside the door, it wasn't the same bird [​IMG] but first and last time I do that! I thought magpies would be a good thing to have around to ward off Currawongs etc but they are clearly Jerks themselves!
     
  9. James9222

    James9222 Out Of The Brooder

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    Could have sworn i'd posted a response the same day as yours above, I tend to hit send/reply and toss the phone aside lol.

    Wow I have never heard of a magpie doing that. Are there any nesting sites around that could be making them protective? I used to feed magpies as a kid 20 years ago and practically spoiled them, when I left the house my gifts were reciprocated in the form of me being pecked :/.My first chickens had a similar incident where a magpie swooped from above. Can't say if it connected but now my hens and roosters will run 200metres to chase a floor dwelling magpie haha. Hopefully your muscle heals up and your hens regain their confidence.
     
  10. mamabokbok

    mamabokbok Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah I wasn't expecting that from a magpie at all [​IMG] there is heaps around my area but they never usually hang out on my side of the street as there is big old trees everywhere else for them to nest, never had issues with them yet past 7 years I have to walk through them 4 times a day swear there is like 20 between my house and the school. My chickens are scared and hide from them and look to me to shoo them off now [​IMG] I don't chase them I just walk calmly towards them until they bugger off but it's starting to make me worried that they will attack me when I'm walking through their territory now [​IMG] I wouldn't be phased about them being here at all if I wasn't worried about them attacking the chickens! Hopefully it was a one off I was hoping that it just seen my girl as another small black bird and assumed it was a stranger magpie in their area? They are not stupid though, would think that they could easily tell the difference [​IMG] no nest anywhere near my yard but there would be more than one like 100-200metres away for sure, definitely would be across the road in the park? They do like to come over and scratch my yard for bugs and stuff just usually only do it in the front lawn
     

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