post #11 of 11

It is as WoodLandWoman indicates a function of relative size between chicken and hawk.  Hawk species and circumstance also important.

Usually hawk tries to control encounter by grabbing chicken by back, especially if former relatively large.

Hawk catching small chick, latter can be killed outright by tallons.  The high impact of some catches puts temporarily more power into grip.  Red-tails do that a lot.

Coopers and with rare intances where sharp-shinned involved, the hawk will strike and carry often live catch away immediately, especially if larger (adult chickens present).  If adult chickens counter attack on these smaller hawks, results potentially lethal for hawk.  Such hawks will not go after a flock (usually roosters or hen with threatened chick) that fights back.  Counter attacks usually lauched from cover.  Counter attacking can be risky for chicken too.

If talons fail to kill, the bill is used on neck and behind skull.  Red-tails use this system to very rapidly to put down rodents.  The accipters (Coopers and Sharp-shinned) seem a little sloppy in giving coup de gra which may be in part because they must remain vigilant about other other raptors.  The rip at neck area (lower throat just above breast) and a several tears maybe required to kill.  They seem to steal from each other more and are not as high up on food chain sometimes as a red-tail might be.  Struggling prey attracts attention.

Red-tail rolling on ground with single struggling chicken will grab chicken with talons, many vital organs vulnerable and chicken sometimes just goes into shock.  Red-tails also more inclined to work on vertebrate of neck which when proper damage made,  battle is over instantly.

American kestrol very different in killing birds its size but not likely significant predator of poultry any way unless very young hatched chicks alone in middle of open feild.

I have never seen hawk consume live prey (except kestrel) and apparent plucking of live prey related to hawks attempt to rapidly dispatch prey.

I have never seen goshawk hunt chickens but I think they more capable than red-tails when dealing with large prey.

Never seen owls (GHO) actually make kills but based on interrupted meals, technique very different.  They do have different methods / requirements for making initial contact like pushing / knocking chicken off roost or grabbing prey by neck.
This may be because bulk of natural large bird prey in my area are turkeys.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.