The big giant Owl that ate my chicken — and why you should make sure your backyard chickens are locked up at night.

Great Horned Owl in chicken penI was looking through some old photos on my Photobucket account this morning when I ran across a video from our old house that I had forgotten all about! It was the morning {the very early morning} of July 4th, 2007. Super G. and I were woken by a loud racket. It sounded like a whole flock of crows had set up residence in the back trees! They were carrying on and cawing and the chickens were all going off clucking and crowing away. Something was wrong.

I sat up and peeked through the curtain. As I peered out of the window that overlooked the chicken yard, I jumped up in horror. There was an extremely large feathered beast inside one of the chicken yards! It was an Owl. A Huge Owl!

O.M.G. It was enormous and I noticed the feet of one of my young roosters sticking out from under that Owl. I ran and grabbed the camera, I had never been this close to an owl before, unless you count the small owls at the zoo. This was no cute and cuddly little screech owl though, it was a big Owl, maybe a Great Horned Owl? I don’t know I’m not an owl expert, I just know that it was large, especially when it puffed up and spread its wings out. The owl’s eyes were enormous and when his gaze locked on me for a second, it was more than a little frightening. 

I sound quite dorky in this {very fuzzy and crappy} video. Super G. was walking up beside the chicken fence with a long pole, he had probably intended to poke at the owl to get it to fly away. When the Owl started clicking his beak though, oh my! After what seemed like forever, but was in reality a matter of less than two minutes, the owl finally did lift off and soar away over the backyards of my neighbors. He left behind a headless chicken. :(

We had always been good about making sure the chickens were locked up at night and secure. We had never had any problems with predators and unfortunately we had become lax in closing them up at night after having a predator-free chicken raising experience up until then. After the owl incident, we of course realized that you should never take for granted that your pets are safe. Making sure that the chickens are locked up each evening is a top priority, especially when you live in the country. Just because a predator has never bothered your animals before, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen one day when you least expect it to!

 Have you ever seen an Owl up close in the wild? It was amazing!


About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1

    Holy cow, he was definitely scary. So sorry about your chicken mama:(

  2. 2

    That thing was huge! If I ever see one clicking its beak like that then I’ll know what it’s trying to tell me. The one time I ran into an owl in the wild was driving through Northern California. I stopped for gas around dusk at a remote gas station. As I was filling up I heard a loud “hoot” very close by. I had never heard one in real life before but I thought how funny it was that it sounded *exactly* like they do in the movies. After gassing up I started looking around and found it on the gas station roof looking down at me. It looked very similar to the one in your video.

  3. 3
    Robin Quick says

    I live in the country and have seen many owls but never up close. They are always on a power line or in a tree. Right now there is an owl we hear hooting all the time just across the road from our house. Its a beautiful yet eerie sound! I cant believe the owl you speak of didnt fly away when it seen humans! Thats just scarey because its huge & it could have really injured you! Wow!

  4. 4

    I am absolutely horrified by all owls, my husband finds it very amusing. This video is terrifying to me, I cannot imagine seeing an owl like that in my yard. I was taking the dog out last year & heard something in the tree near me & then something fell out of the tree, when I looked down it was a decapitated squirrel. A giant hawk then flew out of the tree & stood waiting on the garage roof across the street for me to leave.

  5. 5

    Owls are cool… well, when they aren’t eating your chickens, they’re cool.

  6. 6
    lisa brown says

    I am so sorry this happened! Sometimes it can be a challenge to protect livestock and gardens from other wildlife.

  7. 7

    Do you know what kind of owl this is?

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