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Who knew chooks were carnivores?

Category: critters in the patch | Posted: Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:24 am

An interesting thing happened today.
I was just going to top up the water in one of the chook pens, when I noticed that the water was mucky.
I tipped out the water, to run clean water in, when I noticed a hole in the ground under where the water tub had been.

Hmm.. Snake, or mouse?
I had a running hose in my hand at this point, so decided to just fill the hole with water, keeping a close eye on what might come out of the hole. I was prepared to drop the hose and run!

It took a heap of water, so the hole must have been plenty deep, when a head appeared out of the water. A mouse, followed by several more. They were all adult size, so either no babies, or they didn't make it out. I jumped, and called the dog. She didn't come. Guess what? One of the chooks ran over and grabbed a mouse in her beak and banged it on the ground several times, then ran off to eat it! Amazing. I had no idea they would do that. The rooster who was in the same pen ran over, but didn't see the other 4 or 5 mice huddled by the side of the pen, and they ran off under a small hole to the outside and freedom.

I'm still shocked and amazed that a chook would eat a mouse!

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Frank wrote on Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:20 am:

Photos? :)


debbieteale wrote on Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:36 am:

sorry, had a hose in my hand, instead of the camera.


Netty wrote on Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:58 am:

That is very interesting! I think I could use Chooks here...I HATE mice! LOL


Sjoerd wrote on Sun Aug 29, 2010 7:55 am:

I wish I had touer chooks here! I am having a bit of a prob with them at the moment. I knew they ate meat, but I didn't know they would go for a full-grown mouse.
I have a bit of a mouse plague here at the moment.

I think that your chickens deserve an award of some sort.


debbieteale wrote on Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:50 am:

brombear wrote on Sat Sep 04, 2010 4:46 pm:

Yes, i've found chooks can be extremally aggressive- once had a big australorp, and she happily went after a full grown and largish wild rat.

I found also last time I had chooks that if they weren't getting enough greens, not only their yolk quality but also their shells would get weaker (most leafy greens good source of minerals inc ca, mg and fe)so make sure they get enough grass etc with shell grit.

I know you're a bit south of me here, but I want to get some chooks- the last place I had them was in melbourne, where you would get foxes but not much else. This yard I will dig fence 1 foot deep, put snake mesh around the bottom, and an electric fence for the dogs and the over playful, murderous cat (wouldn't bet on Munchkins chances if we were opting for full grown rhode islanders or black orpingtons,however we are going bantams). I wanted as your advice - do you know if foxes can climb? and have you got chickenhawks around in WA? Ps i love your prop area. It'll do just great!


debbieteale wrote on Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:10 am:

Hi Brombear. Foxes, well they can jump, but not climb. If your pen is taller than chest height, the chooks won't jump/fly out (Mine do even with clipped feathers on one wing) and the foxes won't jump over either. Snake mesh, never heard of it. Sounds like a great idea though. Our dog likes to make little holes bigger, so we're constantly trying to find and patch dog sized holes. She likes food scraps and eggs.
We've got chickenhawks, and they'll take a chicken. We keep them penned in a covered area till they're bigger than the chicken hawk. The Chickenhawk is actually quite small. They're a beige coloured bird, about the size of a crow. Shaped sort of like an eagle. Good luck.

brombear wrote on Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:41 pm:

i've seen chooks- we had australorps- take on a big male rat and do the same thing. Do you think big chooks would go small snakes? I'm tossing up between bigguns and bantams for my up and coming garden helpers

brombear wrote on Wed Nov 10, 2010 1:43 pm:

ps- thanks for your chooken feedback. valuable stuff to know : )

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