Buzzards and chickensDecember 19th, 2011 at 20:57
After I mentioned buzzards in a recent blog post, I noticed that quite a few people have been coming to the site with various queries about buzzards and chickens.
“Would a buzzard take a chicken?”
Yes, buzzards can easily take chickens, especially bantams and young chickens. We have had a silkie killed by a buzzard and a full grown Black Rock hen seriously injured by one.
There is a pair that regularly flies above the fields in which our chickens live so the threat is constant. Unfortunately there is little that you can do about buzzards if you have free range chickens.
“Buzzards are scaring my chickens”
The presence of any predator, especially one that is around during the day as with raptors, is bound to cause nervous behaviour in chickens.
If buzzards are regular visitors and are causing stress to the flock, it may be best to keep your chickens in a roofed enclosure where they are safe from the threats from above.
“What can I do about buzzards around my chicken pen?”
With the number of buzzards shooting up in the UK, buzzards are going to become a problem for more and more people keeping chickens.
Despite their burgeoning population, buzzards are a protected species and cannot be killed.
We’ve heard of various means of deterrent, mostly around using cds or mirrors that reflect light. We cannot vouch for these methods but for some it might be worthwhile as a first line of defence. Setting up a decoy bird of prey is another possibility.
The only sure-fire way to keep your chickens safe from buzzards is to have a pen with a sturdy roof so attacks are physically prevented.
Remember, buzzards are protected
If you have buzzards near your chickens you have an extra duty of care to ensure that any rat poison you lay is managed as cleanly as possible. There are serious penalties for illegally killing protected species so the onus is on you to be an even more responsible chicken keeper.
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