Buzzards are becoming an increasing problem for free-range laying flocks, according to a piece in a recent SEPRA newsletter,
“Foxes are always a problem, but they can be kept under control, with the culling of offending animals, plus prevention in the form of fox-proof or electric fencing. But buzzards are aerial predators that have discovered that hens are easy prey they are increasing in numbers dramatically, and are a protected species.”
The piece quoted one free-range egg producer who recorded five buzzards nests on or adjacent to his farm and counted 17 birds on a newly-sown grass field. He lost 42 hens to buzzards, but only three to foxes.
Another free-range egg producer, in the middle of an audit inspection had a buzzard fly past carrying one of his hens.
The article suggested that modern hens, being considerably lighter than older hybrids, are easier prey for buzzards.