You read that right… in the coop. You get use to the sound of the chickens making a racket over the slightest thing; announcing that they just laid an egg… the sun is coming up, there’s a dog in the yard… all the normal, everyday stuff. This sounded different though. There was some panic to it. And with good reason.
Seems the cold days of winter have made finding food a bit more difficult for wild life. I had noticed the red tailed hawk circling above just the day before. It’s nothing new, but this time it was a bit lower in the sky and it was being harassed by a much smaller bird. It flew off to the west and I didn’t give it anymore thought.
Our coop is inside the barn and fully enclosed with chicken wire, top to bottom. It’s doubled up with 1″ chicken wire on the bottom 3 feet for added protection to keep out the raccoons and skunks. There is a run for them to get outside and enjoy when they can’t free range. Plenty of room for all 25 of the girls. Not only is it fenced in 8 feet high, it has a couple of strands of electric fence around it to also help keep them safe from the critters who love the taste of chicken. Doesn’t everyone? There are also strands of wire strung across the top of the run every 18″. Just enough to foil the wingspan of aerial predators… or so we thought.
Seems this raptor had been checking out the “Stacy Homestead Restaurant” and found his way through those wires and into the run. He wasn’t even fazed by the plastic owl with the head that swivels in the wind. Now I don’t know the first things about birds of prey other than, don’t mess with them. This guy was thrashing around in the coop when I walked into the barn and once he saw me, he began to guard his dinner, wings spread wide, as you can see the the photo gallery below.
While figuring out what to do in this situation I walked outside and into the run to check on my girls. They were all huddled in the corner, behind the water barrel, and that’s when I saw the second chicken the had attacked. Not only attacked, but picked the bones clean. Just feathers, bones and feet.
We opened the door to the coop, broom in hand for protection from those talons, and waited. Nothing. Tried talking it out, ya, I know…
We waited some more and then decided, after closing the little door that goes out to the run (the buffet was closed for this guy) to just let him be and head back into the house. Our WyzeCam caught him walking out of the coop about 10 minutes later.
Note: Although it looks as though he may have a small puncture wound on his chest, we are fairly certain the blood is from the two chickens he devoured. He was a beautiful creature, but I prefer to watch it sore high in the sky.