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I have heard(or read) stories of black vultures(I think it was black vultures that are guilty of this) showing up when calves are born and killing the young. I don't remember the stories and/or maybe I didn't study them in depth... I remember some people acting like the vultures are evil and go and kill cows but I always figured they show up for the after birth and if the young cow is still bloody enough it might get picked on...

The reason I ask... a friend reached out to me with the following...

Quote

You know about birds... there's this vulture, I think, and it was hanging around our backyard and swooping at me and at the goats. It keeps landing down pretty low on a dead tree in their pasture. So is this normal? Should we be concerned? The goats are small, like 30 or 40 pounds, which is too big for a vulture to carry off, I think, but One of the goats might have a baby soon. So if we keep seeing that big bird in the goats pasture, is it a danger? 

This behavior sounds a little troubling...  Maybe the vulture knows a birth is coming soon.
I had another thought just now... maybe there's a vulture nest nearby and it's being defensive? 
Either way, it sounds like a threat to the goats...

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From the National Resources Defense Council.  Boiled down, BLVUs (not TUVUs) may sometimes attack weak livestock but so do other raptors.  They're usually more interested in afterbirth than newborns.  It's hard to tell if the vultures actually killed a newborn (or weakened mother, or any other farm animal), or if the animal died of some other cause before the vultures were seen eating it.  Put the pregnant animal in a barn or shed and there shouldn't be a problem.

https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/are-kentucky-farms-under-attack-flocks-ravenous-vultures-not-quite#:~:text=Scientists respond to an Associated,vultures as “flying fiends.”&text=They'll devour slimy newborn,every last shred of flesh.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I heard that trash about "Black Vultures killing newborn livestock", it is totally incorrect. I live in the middle of both cattle and vulture country, I have never heard tail of them killing a calf. As for goats, there is a place around here, that some escaped goats live in the wild, just above them are about 1200 vultures, the goats are still populating. 

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I'm sure some newborn livestock die, an hour later a few Vultures are sitting around(eating the afterbirth), and suddenly they are "murdering killers", but it just not so. We have been gone and had weak Llamas born, one was out in the open there all day, when we got home not a vulture in sight. 

Another thing is people around here will hit a hog, and it will lay in the bar ditch for days, and then one morning suddenly there are 15 of them. They are just waiting for it to soften up a bit, and make it easer to eat, and get at. 

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On 4/30/2022 at 10:25 PM, millipede said:

I have heard(or read) stories of black vultures(I think it was black vultures that are guilty of this) showing up when calves are born and killing the young. I don't remember the stories and/or maybe I didn't study them in depth... I remember some people acting like the vultures are evil and go and kill cows but I always figured they show up for the after birth and if the young cow is still bloody enough it might get picked on...

The reason I ask... a friend reached out to me with the following...

Quote

You know about birds... there's this vulture, I think, and it was hanging around our backyard and swooping at me and at the goats. It keeps landing down pretty low on a dead tree in their pasture. So is this normal? Should we be concerned? The goats are small, like 30 or 40 pounds, which is too big for a vulture to carry off, I think, but One of the goats might have a baby soon. So if we keep seeing that big bird in the goats pasture, is it a danger? 

This behavior sounds a little troubling...  Maybe the vulture knows a birth is coming soon.
I had another thought just now... maybe there's a vulture nest nearby and it's being defensive? 
Either way, it sounds like a threat to the goats...

First I don't know how it would know it was going to give birth. Secondly a vulture is not going to carry off anything that it can't carry in it's bill, there feet are not built for it. They are not like hawks at all, there feet at not strong or powerful. 

As to why it is swooping down at them, I would guess it is just a typical Turkey Vulture just looking for food. I'm sure you have all seen them, particularly on a windy day? Cruising just above the trees, drooping down and disappearing for a few moments, before popping back up. We have a spot that they do it all the time, just something about the currents, I'm guessing it is something like that. 

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@millipede@KevinMy family raised cattle and spoke of one birthing season when the vultures did exactly that:  waited nearby a cow when calving was imminent and then attacked the calf as soon as it was being birthed.   It got so bad they had to secure permits from the state & feds to capture and dispatch the vultures.   My father said that it occurred during a very long and severe drought and postulated that is what drove the vultures to adopt that behavior, because it was highly unusual.  Cattlemen & farmers usually appreciate the clean-up these birds provide.   I may have posted this story previously on this site--maybe that is where you heard it?   

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On 5/10/2022 at 6:34 AM, floraphile said:

@millipede@KevinMy family raised cattle and spoke of one birthing season when the vultures did exactly that:  waited nearby a cow when calving was imminent and then attacked the calf as soon as it was being birthed.   It got so bad they had to secure permits from the state & feds to capture and dispatch the vultures.   My father said that it occurred during a very long and severe drought and postulated that is what drove the vultures to adopt that behavior, because it was highly unusual.  Cattlemen & farmers usually appreciate the clean-up these birds provide.   I may have posted this story previously on this site--maybe that is where you heard it?   

To me, it is somewhat similar to saying people dyeing of hunger turn to cannibalism. Has it happened? Yes. Does it happen with any regularity, or should you be worried about it? No. 

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