What insects are eaten by chickens?
Chickens are popular prey
Chickens feel the dawn. They can rely on their internal clock. Almost as reliable are the dangers that await the chickens as soon as they enter the run. In the early morning a fox, a weasel or a marten can be on the lookout for prey. Foxes prefer mice, but if they are very hungry, they also like to attack a chicken. And even a bear is said to have feasted on chickens in Switzerland.
For example, if a fox can get into the chicken coop, it will cause a real massacre. The cackling chickens are too great a stimulus for the predator to grab just one and run away again. Instinctively he sneaks up on the wild birds and bites them to death. He does this until there is no more prey stimulus and calm has returned to the stable. Only then does it eat its prey or take it with him to feed its young or to bury them.
During the day, the danger lurks from the air, which nets are the best protection against
Later in the day, the enemies mostly come from the air. Birds of prey usually observe their prey for a long time and prepare a retreat plan before the attack. Young animals are a great food for birds of prey, because they can rush almost vertically into the chicken yard to attack the chicks.
In order to offer your chickens protection, it is advisable to integrate trees, bushes or a covered sand bath into the run. This also benefits the chickens' natural habitat. Particular care should be taken with chicks. On the one hand, they have less weight than their adult conspecifics and, on the other hand, they do not have the experience to recognize dangers and to get to safety in good time. In the first weeks of life, chicks should only be allowed into a covered run for their safety.
Carrion crows have the same prey pattern as birds of prey. As breeders tell, these can cause a real bloodbath. In one case, crows allegedly attacked a flock of 20 chicks. They began to peck at the heads of the chicks and within a very short time they killed a large number of the young. Only those who could escape into the stable or who held out until the breeder arrived survived. Once the crows discover how easy it is to eat chicks, they keep coming back. It is said among breeders that black chicks are more affected than white ones. Even with bantams there is no risk of leakage without protection - at least not with a large crow population. Some breeders also report that magpies attacked their chicks even though they were led and defended by a mother hen.
Nets are the best protection against enemies in the air. They should be wide-meshed so that they are permeable to snow in winter. The yellow ribbons used on cherry trees or glittering aluminum sections can also drive the attackers away. Reflections on glass also serve as a defense; simply stick a bottle upside down on a post.
The chickens know different warning calls for the different enemies
The rooster is considered to be the protector of its flock and is concerned about warning its hens in case of danger. If you only keep chickens, you can often observe that the highest-ranking hen takes on the protective role. According to their well-developed hearing, chickens have numerous vocalizations to communicate with conspecifics or to scare off enemies. Animal behaviorists are now convinced that chickens use over 30 different sounds to communicate. The warning call for approaching an enemy from the air differs significantly from that from the ground. If the rooster sees the silhouette of a bird of prey, it utters drawn out warning calls. On the other hand, if an enemy approaches the ground, this is commented on with loud, excited cackling.
In addition, chickens are able to sense animals and people approaching the enclosure by means of vibrating organs. Depending on the situation, the chickens then flee to a sheltered place or stand up. If necessary, the rooster braces itself for an attack. This can be dangerous for the enemy, as roosters sometimes have one or more very long and powerful spurs.
When dusk sets in, chickens rise up. They seek protection at heights so that they are not eaten by enemies of the ground. In a chicken yard they automatically go into the chicken house and sit there on the perch. If this is not the case, it could be that the perch is covered with mites and the chickens are therefore looking for a pest-free place to stay. Another reason could be that they like the fir in the chicken yard better than the perch. It is therefore always important to ensure that the seats in the run are lower than those in the chicken house.
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