BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › Falcon vs. 4 week olds
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Falcon vs. 4 week olds

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
We are heartsick! My nanny had my 4 year old out getting supplies for the three new babies we were getting delivered yesterday. We have been putting out 4 week old Cream Legbars and White silkies (5 total) outside for the days in a screened "area"- I had stapled and secured window screening around a patio post like a tee pee. They went into the backyard to see the chicks and find our tortoise to feed him. Thankfully, my sitter noticed a GIANT bird hopping around in their "run". She managed to avert my daughter to the other side of the yard, and back out front, without her noticing. My brave watcher of my children then went back out to pull out the baby tortoises sharing the chick play yard with what turns out to be a falcon! He was hissing and cawing at her while she rescued the tortoises and surveyed for chicks. She could see one legbar was killed. As soon as she got Miss Betty and Peanut, the three survivors came running out from some bushes- in harmed. She ran inside with our babies and watched the falcon eventually free itself. She took photos and I know I saw those feathers hopping away from me in the neighbors pomegranate tree two weeks ago. Not one side of the play run was disturbed- he must have hopped in by way of the slit opening where we put them in. It overlaps and is secured tightly (not tightly enough obviously), with a stack of bricks. I had to call the neighbors and ask if he'd come over to clean up the mess before my 5 year old got home. I'm making him pumpkin bread with a six pack of beers 😊

No sooner did all of this happen but our new chicks arrived. The biggest logistical issue is now while I was going to rotate them to the crate while their older sisters were outside, everyone is on lockdown until the tea to we were building is finished. We had lost one on Saturday too and now are thinking it was an interrupted attack. I can't imagine letting them free range now without a rooster around, of which my husband says no way... I am also aware this comes with the territory. The good news is, we are in Southern California and have almost no weather- which is lately the bad news. Advice welcome. 💔💔💔 Our oldest with the new BO last night
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 


You can see the Falcon to the left if you zoom in... Zoom to the right and you can see the two baby tortoises Haleigh saved!
post #3 of 6

4 weeks is far too young to not be in a well secured area. I've lost 6 week old to stray cat, ambush attack from under section of house as it was catching flying ants.

 

Once birds are fair size they are not as prone to bird or stray cat attacks. Cock birds can fight to death to aid in saving pullets/hens but that's really only a short period of defense, their real role is early warning. Without a cock bird the flock will naturally fill the niche of predator watcher with the dominant hen. Free ranging is always a risk, I use electric netting to keep ground predators at bay and move it biweekly for near free range experience. My young birds are in covered run until 12-14 weeks, large enough to not be as appetizing to aerial attacks.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you. The area was initially intended for the tortoises and the chicks were to be added only during the times we were all outside. The 8'x3' run we were making for their safety had one more panel to go. Can you recommend types of bushes or trees that can help shield them better once they're bigger? We planned the coop for the middle of our mini 9 tree orchard.
post #5 of 6

Lilacs are nice shrub trees. My birds get moved around with electric poultry netting. I don't put them in there until 12 weeks or so in age so they are larger to deter aerial predators. They liked the orchard well enough and always chose a favorite tree to hang under but are in nirvana over the large spruce tree that's part of the current run. It has low branches, they have turned the entire area under it to dirt and perch on the lower branches just hanging out. They liked it so much I kept it as part of the corner of run on this last move. Currently they are working on weeding out two flower beds. Too much time and they can kill bulbs but depending how weed bound the beds (like these were) will take over two weeks to weed and till a 8x15 bed. That was with 14, 6 month birds.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Egghead- Since I am in Southern California, I'll take your suggestions to the nursery and see what comparable things they can recommend. We are far too hot and dry these days for lilacs- which is a shame... I love them. Everyone is in the house now, with the surviving three choosing to sleep next to the brooder with the three new babies in it. When would you recommend putting them all together, if they seem to continue getting along so well?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Predators and Pests
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › Falcon vs. 4 week olds