"I can't figure it out. Three chickens gone in a matter of days. I have great coups and nice large pens and no holes for varmints to get in to them or for the chickens to get out. They're just gone."
I asked Lydie if her chicken pens had netting or wire over them. The answer was no. I asked her if she had seen any big birds around lately. "Well yes," she said, "come to think of it we have. Josh said he thought it was a young eagle."
I'll give you one guess where I think her chickens are going. I think the young eagle is having a feast in Lydie's chicken pens.
Birds of prey like hawks and owls will take off with any animal they are big enough to carry including chickens, ducks, kittens, small dogs and puppies, and even grown cats.
"Now how would another bird be able to carry off young hen?" Lydie asked. I had to ask how long she'd been living on the farm and if she'd ever seen a hawk, owl, or eagle up close. Much to my surprise she said she hadn't and that she didn't want to.
So I dug out a couple of images to show Lydie. One look and she realized right away that the bird she was seeing flying over her fields was probably the culprit. Most hawks or eagles would have no trouble at all dropping into a chicken pen and killing or even carrying off a three to five pound chicken without detection.
I am certain that this bird ate its fair share of sizable rabbits, birds, and mice in its day. Lydie's chicken pens are just providing an easy feeding ground for a growing young raptor. I suggested she get some netting over those pens and keep the pups and kittens put up or they could be next to be taken.
Don't panic about the images. The guy holding the leg and tail of this bird didn't kill it. He found it while mushroom hunting in the woods and just thought it was cool enough to keep. I just happened to be visiting when he came back home and I agree it was a neat find. I had to snap a couple of pics. It's been a while since I'd seen such large talons up close and it was cool to check it out.