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Author Topic: losing laying hens to a buzzard  (Read 6143 times)

Louise Gaunt

  • Joined May 2011
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2015, 02:01:56 pm »
I have driven a buzzard off one of my hens whilst it was plucking her breast prior to eating the flesh. She survived, but two others didn't. I put up poles with CDs attached, then had to add a fairly dense network of strings as it was getting in between the poles. Since adding the strings I haven't (over two years now) had any more trouble.
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Backinwellies

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Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2015, 03:06:03 pm »
My hen run looks like it should be in the Himalayas ... strings across with plastic sac ties along each ....... this was after a Buzzard attach .... yes I know it was a buzzard .... caught it in the act when it came back to finish its meal the following morning ..........  buzzards like to have a clean swoop to a kill so anything making this difficult will help. .... 
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

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Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2015, 08:54:53 pm »
Anyone who thinks Buzzards are just carrion eaters has been well and truly taken in by RSPB propaganda and is extremely naive and possibly a little blind to whats around them!

Too many of them and they should be culled!

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2015, 09:00:57 am »
In Staffordshire the local free range chicken farm lost far hens more to Buzzards than Foxes. Here we have Red Kites, Black Winged Kites and Buzzards. We have erected free standing tripod post arrangements inside the runs to disrupt possible flight paths, which so far has been completely successful. Simply cut willow lengths and tie them together at one end. However we did have a Sparrowhawk swoop down around the tripod and attempt to take out a Leghorn Bantam cock. At the last moment it realised he was behind chicken wire and made an amazing climb to just avoid being shredded.

oor wullie

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Strathnairn
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2015, 01:41:18 pm »
I wonder if buzzards behave differently in different places (perhaps depending on what natural food sourced there are).

Some people are obviously having trouble with them.

We have resident buzzards a few hundred meters away who have never shown any interest in any of our hens.
When we first got hens they ran for cover when red kites circled low but now they have learned they are not a threat the hens dont even look up.

Our hens are free range and some don't even come into the hut at night, even the chicks that are running about dont get bothered by birds of prey.

Pretty much all birds of prey will choose to eat carrion (even eagles), hunting is risky (it might get hurt itself - even a hen might get lucky and injure an eagle!). If there is no carrion they will hunt - even a hungry hen would hunt smaller prey if it had to.  I once heard of an eagle that managed to get a collie dog off the ground - that must have been a starving bird to think about trying to kill a dog!

Clansman

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Ayrshire
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2015, 03:40:47 pm »
Yep will all depend on how hungry they are.

They've been getting easy pickings the last few months with all the young rabbits etc running around but now its getting colder and the main prey species are older and harder to catch they'll pretty much go for anything that moves once they're really hungry.

The smaller daylight window as we get into the winter months means they have only 8 hours or so if they're lucky in which to hunt compared with double that in summer months and with the cold they need to eat a lot more so a chicken is a pretty easy target.

I spoke to a woman last year who had her entire flock of chickens wiped out by Red Kite, the supposed carrion eaters, they'll all take the easy option when they can but if hungry then all bets are off ;)



South Devon

  • Joined Sep 2015
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2015, 09:06:40 am »
i lost my entire flock of chickens (eight in total) to a bird of prey back in the Spring. 3 carcasses were missing from the area (encircled by electric fence) whilst 4 were left and the final one had to be dispatched due to horrific injuries. The top (back) of the birds had been opened up (2 to 3 inch incision) and the meat taken inside - identical pattern for each. I assume it was a buzzard because we have lots around and are frequently seen perching nearby. I have now re-stocked and dragged in to the pen an old apple tree which I have covered in very large camo netting, this provides the birds with a lot of overhead protection and dappled shade in the summer - they spend a lot of time in there. To date it may have worked because buzzards are frequently keeping a eye on the setup - but to date so far so good. I think it is only a matter of time before they have another go but in the meantime my birds are happy and the eggs are superb. Good luck.   :chook:

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2015, 09:37:43 am »
Yep will all depend on how hungry they are.

They've been getting easy pickings the last few months with all the young rabbits etc running around but now its getting colder and the main prey species are older and harder to catch they'll pretty much go for anything that moves once they're really hungry.

The smaller daylight window as we get into the winter months means they have only 8 hours or so if they're lucky in which to hunt compared with double that in summer months and with the cold they need to eat a lot more so a chicken is a pretty easy target.

I spoke to a woman last year who had her entire flock of chickens wiped out by Red Kite, the supposed carrion eaters, they'll all take the easy option when they can but if hungry then all bets are off ;)


I had buzzards living round my place for years  Mum (chicken keeper in the 30's) always warned me they could take chickens.  I too believed the 'carrion' theory - not sure why as I have regularly seen them strike rabbits in the field, still as is said the RSPB does an excellent manipulation job and believe there own stories also.


Then after about 15 years of chicken keeping buzzards suddenly started taking stock - seen with own eyes more than once.  Previously my flock was pretty free range so a lot of it especially the smaller growers had to be wired and have covered rooves to protect them.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2015, 09:43:38 am by darkbrowneggs »
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

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darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2015, 09:47:05 am »
PS - where I had larger birds such as Marans needing bigger enclosures I dotted around several pallets on blocks so hens could run for cover - but you need a cockerel with them.  He will watch nearly all the time and sound the alarm if a large bird is seen flying overhead.  I can mimic the call very effectivley and the hens would all react.  The other alarm call is for predator in the grass in which case they all run off and scatter..
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

Backinwellies

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Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2015, 09:50:35 am »
PS - where I had larger birds such as Marans needing bigger enclosures I dotted around several pallets on blocks so hens could run for cover - but you need a cockerel with them.  He will watch nearly all the time and sound the alarm if a large bird is seen flying overhead.  I can mimic the call very effectivley and the hens would all react.  The other alarm call is for predator in the grass in which case they all run off and scatter..

We all need a recording of your buzzard call  :thumbsup:
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2015, 11:08:10 am »
Its a high pitched whine. A growl is for a lower predator.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2015, 11:59:47 am »
Buzzard numbers used to be controlled by gamekeepers.   Usual story - ban control and numbers explode.  We live across the valley from a wildlife reserve and no adders, grass snakes or slow worms have been seen there for three years.  Few people are that enthusiastic about snakes and lizards but they have their place in the grand scheme of things, surely.  Buzzards are considered the likely cause and numbers have increased dramatically - 8 overhead yesterday.

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2015, 01:23:32 pm »
PS - where I had larger birds such as Marans needing bigger enclosures I dotted around several pallets on blocks so hens could run for cover - but you need a cockerel with them.  He will watch nearly all the time and sound the alarm if a large bird is seen flying overhead.  I can mimic the call very effectivley and the hens would all react.  The other alarm call is for predator in the grass in which case they all run off and scatter..

We all need a recording of your buzzard call  :thumbsup:


The danger overhead is a long drawn out and falling note.  Listen and you will hear it.  Danger in the grass is an excited clucking rather like the 'I've laid an egg' call but a bit more uneven and agitated.
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2015, 02:15:03 pm »
I was familiar with the difference between the ground predator alarm and the air predator alarm calls-or I thought I was. A couple of years ago during a squally snow shower I heard the most unearthly noise coming from the chickens in my garden-I had not heard them make anything like it before. A hen harrier was perched on a pallet that I use for shelter for the chickens. Both my older Scots Grey cockerel and his son were going mad at this bird, who flew off when I opened the front door. I dont think the harrier was after the hens but after the small birds that are attracted by the chicken food.

The resident crows keep my place clear of buzzards but although I've never seen the harrier again we have peregrines in the area and have regular visits by sparrowhawks (have seen a sparrowhawk take a big woodpigeon on the ground) and had a young merlin out there a couple of weeks ago.

devonlady

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: losing laying hens to a buzzard
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2015, 06:56:01 am »
A neighbour who breeds Tamworth pigs had a newborn litter (outdoor bred and reared) heard a piglet squealing frantically one morning, ran outside, couldn't see it and looked up to see it being carried away by one of our resident buzzards!!
My dear little bantam, Violet was killed a few days ago by a local sparrow hawk (Vi was the size of a pigeon and a special friend
The hawks have every right to be here and can't tell the difference between rabbit, livestock and pet so nothing you can do!

 

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