Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens  (Read 178 times)

Baggins11

  • Joined Dec 2018
Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« on: June 23, 2020, 08:13:08 am »
Not free range exactly but with an electric fence so no covered top.  What age are chickens (cream legbar and marans) big enough that they are generally safe from Buzzards?  We have a couple of Buzzards who often perch up high on our big oak trees.

We have got a small covered run that we will be using initially but I would like to get them out in the bigger electric fenced run as soon as is safe.  I know at some point I will have to take my chances and at least a Buzzard will pick off one and not all of them like Mr Fox but I would like to avoid it if possible.

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2020, 09:31:37 am »
I'm not sure your ever 100% safe. I've only had them take young and smaller birds. I tend to take my chances when they are a couple, maybe three months old. My neighbours have hundreds of commercial free range egg layers and have had buzzards take several of their birds. He said that unless you had  seen it happen you'd never of known as there was no evidence of one being taken - and they have too many to miss the odd bird!

Baggins11

  • Joined Dec 2018
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2020, 09:42:44 am »
Yes I am resigned to the idea I might have the occasional loss as we have so many buzzards around. I just want to minimise the possibility.

I was thinking 10 - 12 weeks I might be ok. Also I was wondering if a buzzard takes one that they will be always on the look out for another.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2020, 12:22:28 pm »
They will sit in the Oaks and swoop down at their leisure, no matter how old the chickens are Baggins. Sounds like buzzard paradise. We got round the problem here by putting posts up and hanging clothes lines across areas to disrupt flight paths. They could drop down, but taking off again would be impossible. A local free range farm in the UK used to lose far more to buzzards than foxes and eventually packed up.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2020, 12:49:19 pm »
We have had a mature hen taken by a buzzard, and eaten in front of our eyes!  More of a problem with young birds seems to be Corvids here, but they don't take larger birds.  I think that chrismahon's suggestion of stringing ropes across the area is good, although I would use the blue polyprop rope you can get from ships chandlers, and probably lots of other places too, at it shows up well and is cheap.  Just make sure the ropes are a bit saggy so no birds can perch on them.
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Baggins11

  • Joined Dec 2018
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2020, 01:39:27 pm »
I was wondering if a few strips of net would work but rope might work just as well and be less likely to damage in the wind.  I will try it and see.

I am hoping they will find easier pickings as there are loads of wild rabbits around and one of the buzzards sits on the fence post enclosing my veg plot very early in the mornings waiting for any little treats to appear.


Perris

  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Gower
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2020, 07:02:42 pm »
I've lost a mature hen and an 8-wk old chick to buzzard & goshawk respectively. A redundant large trampoline (you know, the sort that almost every house in the country had at one time, and now often available on freecycle) in the middle of the lawn has served well as hawk cover since.

Baggins11

  • Joined Dec 2018
Re: Buzzards and Young Free Range Chickens
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2020, 09:35:43 pm »
Ooh thats a great idea Perris.  We do have an old trampoline in pieces in the garage. 

 

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