Friday, 5 March 2010

Buzzard attack!

 

Along with a lot of other people, I have always believed that buzzards won't attack chickens, so it was a considerable shock to find that while I was away recently, my favourite hen, Betty, had been attacked. She's the smallest of our girls, so it was very fortunate that the attempt was unsuccessful, leaving her bloodied and shocked, but basically okay. The girls had been free to wander in the paddock, which they loved, but have now been relegated to their covered run again, unless there is someone out in the garden to keep on eye on them. We were all outside on Sunday, and it was good to see that she's entirely recovered from the experience (or forgotten all about it). That's a very youthful Betty at the front of the picture - she's not at all pretty, but she is very sweet. When they were free to roam she would rush up the paddock to greet anyone who went out there.

A quick Google search suggests that it's not, after all, uncommon for buzzards to look beadily at chickens, but it does seem significant that it happened at the end the winter, with snow having lain for a much longer period than I've seen for years. When we came to live here about 15 years ago, there were no buzzards at all, but now we have quite a large population. We also have plenty of small creatures as a rule, on which they can feed, but this winter the voles were snug under a couple of feet of snow.

7 comments:

elizabethm said...

Mmm, we have lots of buzzards up here. I was watching three mewing and wheeling yesterday. Our smallest hen is also even smaller than yours! I'll have to keep an eye on her.

Nan said...

I don't think I've ever seen a buzzard, and I'm very glad I haven't! Awful, but glad she is mostly okay. We lost our ducks to something years ago - I suspect a hawk but will never know. So far, in over 20 years nothing has gone after the chickens. Maybe because the animals are in the same pasture most of the time?

GeraniumCat said...

Do watch out, Elizabeth, I was amazed, but I'm convinced it was because there are so many and the weather has been so bad.

Nan, I am usually happy to see them, they look so splendid wheeling around. I'd be very surprised if they would come into a field where there were other animals, though, so perhaps yours are safe.

Anonymous said...

We have a number of chickens and a large French Mariner rooster and in the last 3 months I have noticed a buzzard sitting in the tree in our garden watching them. However last weekend our Jack Russell was killed and our neighbors dog injured and the vet says their injuries are consistant with being attacked by a buzzard. I am shocked by this. There were always quite a few rabbits and hares in the field behind our house however I have not seen any of late. Maybe they mistook Max for a hare.

GeraniumCat said...

Goodness, that's alarming, and I'm very, very sorry about your dog. Now when I let the chickens out I make sure that they are safe, and back in the run when I can't keep an eye on them any longer. The buzzards are very busy, and there are going to be more by the end of the summer, I think.

Anonymous said...

We know that one of our beloved cats was killed by a buzzard.My husband found his plucked remains in the field.The wee chap was just one year old and such a gem.RSPB deny that buzzards kill live animals we know otherwise.
We also lost a two year old cat who was such a babe-my worst case scenario is that she was also killed by a buzzard -she was small and a tabby and very adventurous-heartbreak

Geranium Cat said...

I'm very sorry to read that. We were very careful when our kitten was small about letting her out - she's still a very small adult cat so I just have to keep my fingers crossed she will be safe. Our chickens that we have now are quite large and, I think, safer as a result, but I've heard a lot of similar stories since I wrote this. I don't think the RSPB are taking account of the increased numbers of buzzards and periods when they get very hungry.