We've got a Predator Problem - Send in Schwarzen"egger"
It's like the old saying goes with livestock farming. You don't have a predator problem until you have a predator problem and golly - have we recently had a problem.
The whole ordeal began about 2 weeks ago when I walked down to the barn to do the afternoon chores. I noticed a deceased hen in the run, the scene gory. I removed the carnage, noticing some very obvious signs that it was more than just old age that had done the bird in.
There was definitely an attack happening from the air, but the identity of the perpetrator wasn't known just yet.
Over the course of the next few days, more carnage appeared as well as fluttering piles of feathers where my once beautiful birds had stood.
One evening, lots of squawking was happening as I was carrying out evening chores inside the large chicken coop and I stepped outside to notice a red tail hawk, the wing span at least 4 feet (around 1 meter) wide, soaring into the sky from its attack sight at the small breed chicken run. Unfortunately, the large bird had decimated another chicken.
In our state, as well as most of the entire country, it is illegal to shoot or harm these birds of prey so the only way to hopefully send the raptor packing is to shoo it away or make the area where the chickens live impossible to enter from above.
Since the chicken run area was far too large to inexpensively cover immediately, my option was to try and deter the hawk by placing another bird of prey decoy near the run. As I understand, these birds are territorial and don't like to share the area with other raptors.
Enter General Schwarzen"egger" which is a decoy of an owl that has very large eyes and a rotating head.
The decoy is very convincing (at least to me) and I hope that he'll do a good job of keeping the live predator at bay until I have the chance to enclose the top of the run.
I hope that the hawk decides that he won't "be back".