Help!!! Magpies traumatising the chooks.

Owlonthewing

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Can anyone come up with suggestions to help our poor chooks. The local magpies are harassing the poor girls.
As soon as I let the chooks out the magpies swoop down and snap their beaks at the chooks. Often making contact.
The poor chooks now won't come out of their pen or otherwise they make a mad dash one at a time along the fence line to the other end of the yard where there is a few things they can hide under.
They are losing their feathers and look so sad. They have gone off the lay.
Any suggestions would be great.
 

ClissAT

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Put up bird mesh which is white knitted fabric mesh.
Drive steel posts (star pickets) into the ground to stretch the mesh across so that some of the width dangles down the side to act like a bit of a short curtain.
Shoot the magpies with small stones from a shangii purchased from elcheapo stores.
Dive bombing is a learned bullying technique so the magpie family has their territory to themselves.
Families get on just as well when none of the adults engage in that practise.
All this crap about this being a natural behaviour of these birds & we should leave them alone to do it is absolute s#@!*&t at best.
I dealt with it permanently at my place many years ago. Now the magpie family lives a restful, gentle, comfortable life without those testosterone driven behaviours to disrupt them or me.

However, regarding your chooks, perhaps they are going off the lay & loosing feathers because it is moulting season anyway. Perhaps since they are now looking all ratty, the nesting magpies don't recognise them as the usual inhabitants of the yard.
 
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Owlonthewing

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ahh I hadn't thought of that. Thanks ClissAT It makes sense because the hens look completely different.
I put some wire mesh up with some star pickets, Hopefully this will deter the maggies.
I cleaned out their pen and made them as comfy as I could. I added some herbs to their nesting boxes and gave them some extra greens as they have not ventured out for a fresh pick for a while.
 
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Owlonthewing

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Just an update on the hens.
They look so much better with new feathers and much happier. The wire worked the best.
The magpies were deterred by the wire so the chooks are coming out feeling a lot safer.
They are still only venturing out as far as the wire mesh extends, so this will have to be made more permanent as it was just an experiment.
I have a some frizzles and silkies in an old enclosure in a different part of the yard. It is a very sheltered part of the garden. One of these was attacked by a magpie right in front of the kids yesterday. Leaving a fair hole in the chooks side under it's wing.
We have always had magpies and we have never had trouble before.Not sure what is making them so aggressive to the chooks. They are not swooping us at all.
 

AndrewB

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You could try something like this too, not sure it it will work for magpies, but for the cost of a ball of string, it's worth a shot.

I have friendly magpies here. The young ones play on my front lawn, rolling around like dogs & chewing on sticks. Never any swooping issues. Maybe something is making them feel threatened, so they are being over protective.
 

Owlonthewing

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This could be a possibility. We have a 12 month old stag hound who enjoys running around in the backyard. She doesn't bother the chooks etc but may be cause for alarm for the magpies which in turn may be making them more protective.
The magpies here have always been quite friendly. It seems to be only the chooks that they are swooping.
Maybe they are angry because the roosters are waking them up at ridiculously early hours of the morning like 3am.
 

Letsgokate

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We had issues with the maggies as well when we had chooks. Also had snake issues so we built a fully enclosed snake proof pen. Solved all issues. My dog will also chase the maggies and they do fly off but not far. They really aren't that bothered with her now. I've seen her lying in the sun watching the maggies and they come up real close to her. I think they just think it's a big game.

We have had big issues with Plovers in the front yard. Last couple of years they have laid their eggs on the front grass out in the open. And they swoop us every time we go out the front when they are nesting even if we are nowhere near them. After the last time we have been chewing them off as I think they think this is their home. I let my dog out here every now and then to get her scent around. No nesting this year so far.
 
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