Chickens and Bird Feeders

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering' started by Closed Flock, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    I am about to start something new using bird feeders. When the songbirds are abundant the smaller hawks (Sharp-shinned and Coopers) start coming in and snatching the songbirds. Adult chickens near bird feeders seem to repel those same smaller bird eating hawks. My adult game chickens will go after those hawks and run them off, sometimes, other times they ignore the hawks even when only a few feet away. I do not know why the variability in chicken response. The problem has been the bird feeders in place were designed for songbirds and not enough spills to satisfy the chickens. I just spent about $100 to setup a larger and heavier duty feeder that I think can support two adult chickens about 6.5 feet up. It will be loaded with a seed mix and possibly meal worms to get the chickens to fly up and use it. The hawks sometimes come in when chickens on ground, but I am wandering they may not do so if chickens are at the height of the hawk's quarry or higher. This will also allow me to do some cool pictures and videos.

    Overall purpose is to make so family can observe activity when stuck home for much of this winter. I am expecting COVID-19 to make a mess of our in person classes until teachers vaccinated or the surge goes back down naturally. We do not wear protective gear anywhere near enough in my area to moderate the outbreak.
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm thinking about this.

    I've had a cooper's hawk go after my bantam Hamburgs. It failed but it did try.
     

  3. Biring

    Biring Well-Known Member

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    Good luck to anything trying to bag a Hamburgh. The foxes tried and tried but were never successful.
     
  4. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Yeah, one of my Mommas went after a Red Tail. I had to go retrieve her because she wanted him bad.
     
  5. Biring

    Biring Well-Known Member

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    Closed Flock’s gamebirds should be similarly feisty.
     
  6. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    Fun will be getting proper mixture of eats that will motivate chickens to fly up. Shell corn and sunflower seeds will be part of it. I am trying to come up with list of species coming so far.
    Cardinals
    Junco of some sort as we appear to have at least two variations on that
    Carolina Wrens
    Tufted Titmouse
    Carolina / Black Capped Chickadee (intergrade zone)
    Blue Jays
    Eastern Bluebirds
    sparrows represented by multiple species
    wood peckers represented by multiple species
    a Nuthatch
    more to come
     
  7. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    This is mixture I use for energy supplementation. For short term it is what goes into to the feeder for chickens.

    IMG_0192.JPG
    Below shows a game pullet feeding.
    IMG_0394.JPG

    Zooming in you can see a pair of Cardinals already eating off the feeder. Pulling was enticed to step up on top of trash can for eats. Once chickens start going to feeder, steps will be removed.
    IMG_0394 cropped.jpg
     
  8. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a really great idea and should provide some good pictures and video as well as entertainment!
     
  9. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the post, I'm sure you have a number of us thinking!
     
  10. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    One pullet now goes up to feed. All the chickens appear aware potential for eats on platform.
     
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  11. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    Side view of a pullet on feeder. Two pullets now going up although not at same time. They are not brood mates. Hen and stag not going up, but have first dibs with what falls to ground. Most spillage appears to be provided by song birds. Pullets not observed to scratch or bill out feeder contents.


    IMG_0404.JPG
    Side view not the most photogenic. Wind blew trash can open. Once crop filled they go into heavy brush in upper left of image where they have good sun exposure with little wind. They are already looking for microclimates that are easier to stay warm in. Penned birds are not able to do the same.
     
  12. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    It really didn't take them long to figure the whole setup out.
     
  13. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    Pullets figured it out on the first day. They bailed when I approached with camera making picture taking tough.

    An owl problem will likely have me penning birds for a while until a couple more pens can be made ready.
     
  14. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Better protected than leaving them for the owls to take out. I hear them here from time to time but mine are all up at night.
     
  15. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    Owl making chickens roost in garage. Owl flushed them from trees behind house and dogs prevented owl from finishing job. Chickens then shifted roost site to garage where dogs are fed. Until today the chickens had free-access to garage but new dog door installed to conserve heat better. Chickens not able to get past new dog door. Owl also harasing chickens in pens. We have a little work to do. Owl will be a problem for a couple weeks then shift hunting to another location for a few weeks before coming back. I'd like to tie a bell to it.
     
  16. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Dang. That's wild. How long has this been going on?
     
  17. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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  18. Closed Flock

    Closed Flock Member

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    Great-horned almost exclusively. Barred has come in on occasion, but not when Great-horned is about. Rodents (native rather than invasive) and rabbits are abundant. The owls perch on cage and walk on ground along pathways hunting. Chickens are not the primary target most of the time.
     
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  19. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Except for the threat to the chickens that's pretty darned interesting.
     
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