Friday, May 24, 2013

:: Birds of Prey ...OR CHICKEN EATERS! ::

Something has taken to eating chickens...
We've lost 4 in the last 2 1/2 weeks.

  • 3 pullets 
  • 1 grown hen (Gracie)  my cute and fluffy little Barred Rock. :(  

  • This is Gracie chicken on the left in this photo... Chickens- acting strange 009
I am not happy about that folks!  
So... they are COOPED FOR NOW... I don't like it. I'd like my chickens to be able to free range... they are happy when they are strutting around the yard, having a fill crickets and grasshoppers, worms and other creepy crawlies...that they love to munch on and fill their gullets! 

This guy has been blamed for lots of things in the of them being my dirty dishes... yes, I know ...LAME, but true!

HAWK 2 cropped

While I can't be certain it's him...or her; because now I've heard them in the trees near my neighbors pond, obviously a nest.

 I've figured, apparently Red Tail Hawks are good parents for these reasons :

  • They nest near local groceries
  • They nest near a good water source (my neighbors pond)
  • They live obscurely...making it safe for their children.
  • They eat well...ehem! 

This is another bird that has been spotted a lot recently around the neighborhood and country side.
It is a Caracara is said that this bird eats carrion and prey.  They are known to travel with Turkey fact I've seen a couple in my yard a year or two ago  after T.H. had to kill a huge snapping turtle. The Vultures came to clean it they're supposed to do and a couple of these guys came along for the feast.

They also eat small animals, like rats, field mice, rabbits, and small nesting birds. (...pullets, perhaps?)

We've had a couple of these guys on our property before also... they cleaned up the RAT problem we had about 5 years ago... HUGE RATS out in the fields... the worst I'd ever seen... Gone now.
On occasion I still hear the Horned Owl off in a tree somewhere, but I don't see them much.

Great Horned Owl

Am I upset by any of this?  Yes, upset that the order of things around our little homestead is being intruded upon. But at the same time... these birds have to eat too.  I didn't get chickens so that I can supply feed for the local wildlife. But it is what it is...and that is a little bit frustrating.

 I've not actually seen a chicken abduction in progress... So I can't say who , in fact,  is the guilty bird; I'm having to only let the chickens out mid- morning and making sure they coop by dusk (which they usually do). It's the pullets that won't coop. I've had to enclose them ALL going on DAY 3 that when they do finally get let out in a week or so, they'll know to go inside as a whole flock!

Safety first citizens!

From the Farm Blog Hop -
Sunny Simple Life

 The grace of the LORD Jesus Christ be with your spirit. ~ Philippians 4:23 

The first image is mine...taken in my yard. You may go directly to the source by clicking on the last two images... thanks! 


Melanie said...

Feeling your frustration!! Mine have had to be kept penned up lately too. Hate it for them, as you said, they are happier when they can be let loose, but as you said safety first! Hope that nothing else gets your girls!!!

Sunny Simple Life said...

Yeah you linked it up. I was hoping you would. I am so sorry about your birds. That is just heartbreaking especially so many. Are they gone in the day time while out free ranging. A friend here was loosing them to coyotes.

Liz said...

Very sorry to read about losing part of your flock! Especially a favorite. I have never seen a Caracara before. What an interesting looking thing. I hope the rest stay safe!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Stopping over to say hello from The Boston Lady. I've never seen one of those Cacacara birds! We do get owls from time to time. So sorry about your chickens.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

We have ours penned up always. We're wooded and the hawks sit right above the chicken pen watching. Then there are the coyotes and the owls, raccoon and opossum. It is never ending. We're thinking about getting muscoveys because we're told they will roost in the trees at night. I'm so sorry about your chicks. I know birds of prey have to eat but that doesn't make it any better.

Unknown said...

Hi Pat,
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your yard birds... We lost a couple while out free ranging too a few years back... now our girls are cooped up all the time... but we made their run bigger and they don't seem to mind it. Hope you find the culprit just to have some closure to the case of the missing chickens!

Audrey said...

oh Pat, I have been so inspired to get some chickens, but I am sure they would not last long around here either, so have to forget about that. So sorry for your loss and hope you can see what is taking them, but not loose any more. Maybe you could sit up a motion camera around your pen to see what may be coming in the yard to feast on your chickens. Just a thought.
Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures

Debra at HOMESPUN: said...

So sorry about the chickens and pullets! It has to be frustrating to not know who the culprit is! :(

Cindy said...

I'm sad to hear that you've lost valuable poultry. And I know from past experience of my own that they can become pets almost, so it is sad to see they are gone.
Hope you find the answer!
Hugs, Cindy

Debbiedoos said...

ahhh..that is sad! I love those little chickens and wish I had the property to have some. Of course, my neighbors would not approve I'm sure. Hope you find out and can stop it. Have a great weekend.

Rhonda said...

What a shame but it is the circle of life.

Carlene @ Organized Clutter said...

How fun to be able to have free range chickens. I think I would worry about cold weather as much as predators here.

Liz @ Quirky Vistas said...

Oh Pat, I'm sorry to hear about all the upsets. You sound like you are taking wise course to protect the rest. I hope that you get it figured out and can let them roam free again soon!

Maureen Wyatt said...

I had wonderful visions of my chickens happily wandering my 1'2 acre for about 5 mins. The first predator was my own cat! By nightfall the raccoons stepped in for their chance at a chicken dinner. sigh Mine live behind a chain link fence and spent their nights in a soled wood building now. So much for free range.

Diane said...

I had no idea that hawks ate or even could eat chickens. If I decide to raise chickens I might have to come back to your site, grab a cup of tea, relax and start reading from the beginning, all things raising chickens. You may teach this city girl a thing or two...or three! Hugs, Diane

The Boston Lady said...

Pat, I realize this is the way nature is, but it's still upsetting. Not to mention cutting into your chicken budget. I've never heard you mention this over the time you've had chickens, so has it not happened before? Hope you catch the culprit in the act. Ann

My Repurposed Life said...

Yikes! nature yes, but gracie? It's sad. I hope you can keep them safe, and let those neighbors go elsewhere to the grocery. :(