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Will a Bald eagle go after a chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by barnyardmommy, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. barnyardmommy

    barnyardmommy Songster

    Aug 21, 2012
    Suffolk VA
    Will a Bald Eagle go after my chickens? This afternoon 4 Bald eagles circled above my yard for about 15 minutes. They were way up in the sky, not real close to the ground. It just got me thinking... was it my chickens that were free ranging at the time, the reason they kept circling... Has anyone ever had a bald eagle take one of their chickens? [​IMG]

  2. PAchickengirl

    PAchickengirl Chirping

    Oct 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I would guess it could be possible.....
  3. Lifetime chicken lover

    Lifetime chicken lover Songster

    Jun 26, 2009
    Rogers, MN
    Yes, a bald eagle would happily eat a chicken as a snack! Definitely a juvenile would go after it and an adult as well. We frequently have eagles doing low dives in our backyard, very likely for a nice chicken dinner.
  4. Y N dottes

    Y N dottes Songster

    Sep 1, 2012
    South Central WI
    i a bird of prey sees an easy meal, it doesnt usually think twice about taking it.....bald eagles can definitely be a threat.
    I dont see many eagles where i live, but their are always hawks that can also take a chicken
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I've had Eagles land in my pasture to eat a dead Possum, while watching the chickens walk around in the yard on the other side of the fence.less than 100 ft away

    There's at least one nesting pair less than a mile from me, and I see them nearly every day, most of the year.

    They don't seem too interested in chickens at all
  6. ernndbrtt

    ernndbrtt In the Brooder

    Apr 4, 2011
    Bald Eagles don't "normally" go after chickens according to the link below as they seem to prefer smaller prey, but who wants to take the chance with family members right? One thing to consider is that if you have Bald Eagles in your area you probably also have other predatory birds that WILL eat your chickens. We have hawks, various species, owls, again various species and Bald Eagles not to mention the occasional coyote and fox in our area. That's why we do not free range our chicks and have their run covered top to bottom.
  7. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    If the bald eagles are circling high, they are riding the thermal currents and not necessarily hunting. They might be overseeing their territory, or simply flying for the joy of soaring.

    They are capable of taking poultry, and they can handle something as large as a Canada goose. But they prefer to take game off of water or out of the air. They fish and eat carrion. They don't appear to like taking live game off of hard ground. I suspect it is because the take-off is more difficult with those large wings if they are standing where they can't make a down stroke. They can do it, just would rather do something else in a situation where a hard landing and a fast take-off might be needed.

    I have multiple bald eagles every day over my property and they have never shown any interest in my birds. Mostly, they are soaring; occasionally, one will fly right across the top of my pens. They apparently have plenty to eat so aren't going after difficult game. If they ever do take an interest in my birds, the birds will be kept under cover during the day. My birds are already under cover at night because I have a Great Horned Owl living on my property.

    If you are worried about the eagle, keep the birds under cover for awhile. The eagle can't kill them if he can't reach them.

  8. barnyardmommy

    barnyardmommy Songster

    Aug 21, 2012
    Suffolk VA
    Thanks for all of the replies. My chickens "free range" in my back yard, with a 4 foot fence around them. They have lots of cover to hide under. I have 3 large portable chicken tractors that my DH made for me that the chickens stay in most of the time. I only let them free range for a couple hours each day. I know that we have a pair of hawks that stay nearby, but I have never had a problem with them. [​IMG] And you are right ernndbrtt, they are definitely "Family Members"
  9. barnyardmommy

    barnyardmommy Songster

    Aug 21, 2012
    Suffolk VA
    No eagle's today.... Yeah....
  10. mrspabody

    mrspabody In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2012
    Whatcom County, WA
    YES, they WILL. [​IMG]

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