Do Owls Eat Chickens? Everything You Need To Know

  • Reading time:11 mins read
  • Post last modified:April 25, 2022

Owl Eating Chicken

Do Owls Eat Chickens?

Owls are capable of preying on and killing poultry, despite the fact that they are not the most dangerous predators. Please continue reading if you are concerned that owls are posing a threat to your birds.

You will learn the chance of an owl attacking your birds as well as the precautions you may take to keep your feathered friends safe.

What Do Owls Eat?

Owls are apex predators, and like other great birds of prey, their diet is primarily comprised of prey that they have caught. In most cases, tiny mammals, reptiles, and birds serve as their primary sources of nourishment.

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Smaller fowl and fish are among the many animals that they also prey on. Larger species such as chickens, rabbits, cats, and even small deer are also preyed upon by giant owls, despite the fact that they are not often included on their menu.

Brown owl eating mice

What Methods Do Owls Use to Hunt?

Owl’s hearing is remarkable, and they can detect movement from a great distance. As a result, they become outstanding hunters, particularly at night.

That being said, it is uncommon for owls to prey on domestic poultry, and unlike their four-legged counterparts, owls are not known for consuming a whole flock in a single feeding frenzy.

Are Owls Dangerous To Chickens?

A chicken is out of luck once an owl decides to prey on it. The owl descends silently and quickly from above, a stealthy and rapid movement. As soon as it descends on the chicken, it immediately pins it down with its long, pointed talons.

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The owl can quickly decapitate the chicken by tearing it apart with its powerful, pointed beak. It effortlessly pulls the bird away to its nest by digging its claws into it and pulling it along.

Do Owls Heads Off Chickens?

Being confronted with the carcass of a deceased chicken in your flock can be a distressing event. Although this sort of hunting may appear to be wasteful to us, it occurs when an owl learns that its prey is too huge and heavy for it to take away on its own back.

These kind of kills are more frequent amongst birds of prey, with owls being the most frequently implicated.

Owl Eating Chickens in the wild

When Do Owls Prey on Chickens?

Even if you have a coop full of hens, they will be most susceptible during the night. When it begins to become dark, chickens should be kept in their coops to protect them from the cold night temperatures and predators such as birds of prey, coyotes, foxes, and raccoons.

Although chickens are not a regular part of an owl’s diet, they are opportunistic omnivores who eat everything they can get their hands on. In the event that they are given the opportunity, they will consume whatever is convenient and readily available.

Isn’t It True That Chickens Are Too Heavy?

The largest owls, such as the Great Horned Owl, are capable of effortlessly capturing and transporting an adult chicken.

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Despite the fact that this owl weighs only three pounds, it is capable of carrying far bigger loads, up to three times its own body weight. With a weight of only 5.6 pounds, the ordinary chicken is within striking distance of being a prospective prey item.

Snowy owl eating Chicken

How To Keep Chickens Safe From Owls?

Unlike terrestrial predators such as foxes, coyotes, and raccoons, owls have the ability to swoop down from the sky. This means that a fence alone will be ineffective in protecting against an owl assault.

In order to avoid having your hens attacked by owls, bring them inside as soon as dusk begins to fall and keep them there until morning. Bright lights in your yard may also help deter owls, but a coop is the most effective deterrent.

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In the odd event that an owl assaults your chicken run during the day, you may want to consider adding a roof to your chicken coop.

Can Rooster Protect Chickens From Owls?

When terrified, roosters will crow, and having one among your flock might serve as an additional deterrent against predators like as owls. However, if you have reason to be concerned about an owl harming your chickens, a covered run or coop is still the best option.


Can Motion-activated Light Protect Chickens From Owls?

Owls like to hunt at night because it gives them more cover from predators. While turning on bright lights may dissuade owls, doing so may also disrupt the sleep schedule of your chickens and just about any other animals in the vicinity.

Inexpensive motion-activated lights are available, but they may not provide the level of protection you desire because the light may not activate until the owl has already swooped in for the kill.

Is It Possible to Kill an Owl?

Do not succumb to the temptation of injuring or killing an owl in order to protect your chickens. Numerous owl species are protected, and some are threatened with extinction.

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As a result, it is unlawful to damage or kill owls and other birds of prey in the majority of jurisdictions around the world. Depending on your location, you may be subject to a fine or possibly imprisonment.

It is never acceptable to safeguard your flock by injuring or killing a predating bird in order to keep them safe.

What Is The Maximum Weight That An Owl Can Lift?

The amount of weight that the owl can carry is determined by its size and strength. There are approximately 200 distinct species of owl in the world. The Great Horned Owl, the Snow Owl, and the Eagle Owl are among the largest owls on the planet.

These larger owls are capable of hunting and transporting prey that is several times their own size. When it comes to weight, the average chicken weighs less than six pounds, which poses little threat to a fully developed adult owl.

Owl Eating small animal

How To Keep Owls Away From Chickens?

Owls are top predators, which implies they do not typically prey on other animals. Having said that, they are terrified of some large creatures, like dogs, other large birds of prey, and humans, among other things.

If you happen to spot an owl, you can scare it away by making a lot of noise. Owls, on the other hand, are patient hunters, and they will lie in the shadows until the perfect opportunity presents itself.

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Bringing your chickens inside at night is significantly more effective than leaving them outside.

Take Away Message

Despite the fact that owls do not typically prey on chickens, because they are very proficient hunters of all tiny animals, it is nonetheless conceivable for an owl to attack a domesticated chicken.

The most effective method of preventing an owl from preying on your chickens is to keep your birds covered, particularly at night.

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