My 9 guineas are theoretically free-range, but so far they stick mostly to the fenced yard. This afternoon my husband saw a young hawk or, at least, a smaller hawk sitting on the fence eyeballing the guineas. The guineas are fully grown, about a year old. So, if the hawk decides to attack, who is likely to come out the winner?
Hawk eying Guineas
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Going by personal experience, hawks will occasionally take on full-grown guineas - they definitely go for the little ones (lost a young 'teenager' that way one year ). I actually saw one dive for my flock once, and fortunately, the hen he had his eyes on zipped into the bushes and all the hawk got was a few feathers. I guess it's really luck of the draw, and guineas are pretty hardy, but judging from the hawks talons and the speed at which they dive, if they can actually get a hold of the guinea, they'd likely come out the victor.
I was in my tree stand a couple years ago and a red tailed hawk came in at my peeps. Well I had two roosters at the time. The king Papa Grande and his jester Pretty Boy Floyd ( Papa was at the top of the peeking order and ruled the roost). Well I see the hawk coming down to try to get a free range hen right by the coop door. At this time I see Papa come barreling out at hit the hawk mid flight knocking it out of the air right before it nabbed the hen. Let's just say Papa took care of business ( 3 inch spurs). We never had hawk problems again..lol..Dan
We had a smallish hawk (sharp-shinned I think) attack one of our full-grown guinea hens just outside of the coop many years ago. The hawk was on top of the hen, plucking away at the feathers on her back, when I ran out to try to rescue her. Thankfully, I got there in time. The hawk flew off as I got close, but the hen just laid there and didn't move. I picked her up, expecting that she was already dead, but she lifted her head and started to struggle in my arms. She took a couple of days to recover from the shock of it all, but she steadily improved after that, and except for a few bald patches on her back, she was back to her old self in a week or so. I'm sure that the hawk would have finished her off if I hadn't scared him off.
Many years later, another small hawk swooped down and tried to get one of my oldest hens. The hen shrieked and ran off, and the hawk missed her. I think that one was probably a young hawk that wasn't very experienced in the art of hunting.
Around here in New Hampshire, I'd have to say that hawks are the number one predator to worry about when it comes to our poultry.