What to do

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Mortis, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Mortis

    Mortis Chirping 8 Years

    Jul 16, 2010
    Well...I just lost my second hen out of 15. Last night I counted and one was missing, and after walking around I found the feather pile. Now, this morning when I went out to let them out of the coop to free-range, I saw what I am guessing is the predator. A huge bird swooped over my head as I was walking out. I know there are hawks around, but I can't imagine that this was a hawk, if so it was the biggest hawk I have ever seen. I think perhaps it was a Great Horned Owl. It was grayish and brown in color, but I only got a quick glimpse of it.

    I am only interested in having free-range birds. Any advice on keeping birds-of-prey away from my flock during the day. I really didn't want to fence off an area and put a fenced roof over it, I like the hens out in the yard wandering around.

    FYI, I have a flock of RIR's, (now 12 hens and 1 rooster)
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member 8 Years

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I just read in another post the other day about someone building shelters out of pallets (I think) for their chickens and that it helped with their hawk problem. Do they have anywhere to go? Other than that, I think you may have to resign yourself to the fact that you WILL lose some to predators if they're only free-ranged. My chickens have a coop with attached, covered run for when I'm not home, or we have family visiting with their dogs. Otherwise they free range.
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    If you are only interested in free range, then you are going to lose some birds, it's a given. I can't really think of anything you could do to keep them safer when they're out in the open.
  4. farmchick897

    farmchick897 Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    I've heard you can provide things they can quickly run under for protection against flying predators, like picnic tables. Also, the roosters tend to be the watchers and typically are the ones who send an alarm call to the others, so provide more roosters?
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Try letting them out a little later each day and putting them up a little earlier each evening. If it is a horned owl that should help. Although they are primarily nocturnal, they will hunt at dawn or dusk if really hungry. I only ever had one daytime attack and that was on a very overcast and rainy day.

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