I lost three broiler chickens to owl attacks last week. One can tell an owl attack by what is missing on a chicken. Owls eat the heads, sometimes a small portion of the body, but always the head. I don’t know why.
I guess the first attack was my fault. I did not latch the door Sunday night when I shut up the chickens. They let themselves out early Monday morning and one of them paid the price. I guess the third attack was my fault too. Last Saturday, we were loading up at dawn to go to market. I didn’t want the chickens to be cooped up and not have access to grass until we got back from market at 2 or 3 p.m., so I let them out before we left. Get back home, unload the truck, and go to check on the broilers ... another headless chicken.
The second attack is puzzling. Last Tuesday morning, I did not let the broilers out until 9 a.m. and then went on to do whatever I was doing, which is always something I was not expecting to do. I walked past the broilers and saw another lying there with no head. And these chickens were full grown, ready to be processed. Apparently, we have an owl around that keeps odd hours.
I bet it’s the one that starts hooting at 3:30 p.m. in the woods west of us.
Dean Mullis writes from Laughing Owl Farm in Richfield.