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Mrs Frugal

Birds of Prey

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Birds of Prey in general

 

Almost all birds of prey are harmless to chickens unless the chickens are already dead (they're carrion eaters). The one exception is the eagle owl, which is now roving in areas of Scotland and northern England thanks to a very successful captive breeding programme. However, they're still very rare and unlikely to attack hens in your back garden.

 

Kestrels

 

No, they are very small birds compared to chickens as they only have a body length of around 35cm. They are only interested in field mice, voles, small birds, reptiles and insects. Even the larger birds of prey like Sparrowhawks won't bother chickens although the chickens will be frightened and will probably run for cover when they see a bird of prey flying overhead or if the other garden birds start making alarm calls. This is just a natural response and the chickens are in no danger whatsoever.

 

Sparrowhawks

 

I think chickens are rather big to be carted off by birds of prey - smaller birds like bantams might be in more danger but I still think they're too big - unless you have the odd Golden Eagle flying overhead?? They have the panic instinct though when there is a predator nearby. Mine go bananas when they see a Magpie or Heron because they worry most birds. I have a Sparrowhawk regularly in our garden as well as an Osprey who occasionally flies over very high and the girls make panic noises and run to hide. Clarry chased off the Sparrowhawk last year though when it was trapped behind the netting! Who was scared then, I wonder!

 

Trained Harris Hawks

 

Nicola H did have a hen attacked by a trained Harris Hawk last year, I believe. I can't find the post about it though, unfortunately but it was an extremely rare occurence.

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