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New at this! Babies got attacked by hawk today! :(

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We purchased 4 bantam chicks the day before easter for our kids. Figured we'd start a coop. The next weekend I found some EE at the feed store and purchased 4 more. So we had a total of 8 chicks. 3 weeks now we've had them and we were anxious to get eggs we purchased (2) 1.5 year old silkie girls. Great combo... and decided to put all 10 in the new coop we had just built. They did great through the night and our new girls ( Wilma and Betty, our silkies ) kind of adopted all 8 baby chicks and had mothered them throughout the night.

Woke up early this morning to let the big girls out to graze and left the coop door open while I was getting ready for work. I hear a lot of commotion out back, screaching and screaming. I run out back to see my big girl on top of a hawk and my biggest EE chick in the grasps of the hawk. I freaked and started screaming. My big girl fell off and there flew the hawk with my baby. I wanted to cry. My son woke up to me freaking to my husband. Here we were worried about the coons and never though of the hawk that lives in our neck of the woods. Put all the chicks up and I was devastated. Poor babies first day grazing in the yard and that was the end. It was their first time out back without the safety of the back porch. hit

Hubby stayed home today with our 6 year old who was just devastated! They went and picked out another chick from the feed store ( supposed to be an EE but legs are pink and not green so I know it's a bantam )
They got home and that darn hawk had put its talon through the chicken wire into the coop and stole another baby chick.... hit

At this point all babies went back on the porch and figured they were too young. Hubby went and picked up a lt brahma and blue laced wyandotte baby. Now we are at 9 chicks and 2 silkie hens.

Tonight going to bed, I hear screaching again and run out to the porch and 2 of my original bantams were pulling our new baby bantam ( the one DH thought was an EE ) throughout the cage and she was hiding under any chick she could find and they were going at her like crazy! Poor thing, I pulled our new baby out and put her in a box in our bedroom for the night. Is there a reason my 2 bantams are attacking my new baby. They are from the same feed store, same hatch date, same size, just brought in 3 weeks apart. They arent attacking my wyandotte or brahma either, only this poor bantam.  How do I stop this. DH says weakest link and we need to find her a new home because the other 2 will kill her. Is this the case. I already lost 2 baby chicks today, I dont think we can handle a 3rd. Son is so upset that they wont accept new chick and wants to know why. Silkies are fine with her, but I am not putting another baby in the coop until they are big enough to sound alarm and give a fight. What am I gonna do? barnie

post #2 of 9

u should build or buy a very small seprate coop that the hawks cant get into and put the chick and ths silkies in it as long as the silkies dont kill eachother sorry for ur loose

post #3 of 9

That is a horrible story.  I am so sorry that you had such a trauma and that your 6 yo was so impacted:(.  This is a very quick and hard way to learn the cycle of life I guess.

I have a question about the hawk and protecting chicks/hens in a covered run.  We are building our coop now and plan to use 1" poultry netting.  Do you think a hawk could get into that.  We have a Red Tail hawk in one of our trees and we have several crows too.

Sorry for ur loss.

5 very happy ladies, 2 excited young boy urban farmers, and 2 proud parents

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5 very happy ladies, 2 excited young boy urban farmers, and 2 proud parents

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post #4 of 9

I have never had a problem with hawks, but my opinion is this, that if they can see a mouse from hundreds of feet away they can surely see the netting over my run so they fly over but never come down, at least so far.

I'm Sandy!  Mom to 3 terrific sons, Grandma to 2 wonderful grandsons. I have 6 SS,  7 EEs,  3 CMs, 4 Cochins (2 blue, 1 part.. 1 Red)  1BA, 1BS, 1 SLW, 1 GLS, 1 CWL, 11 Beautiful Mixes, 8 Silkies, 2 SF/Silkie,  Broody sitting 10 Split Coro. SS eggs and Coming soon a dozen Pure Coro. Sussex Eggs!!

Rooster are Zeus (Orpington), Oliver and Rally (Sal.Favs) Blackbeard (SF/Silkie) and Truffle...

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I'm Sandy!  Mom to 3 terrific sons, Grandma to 2 wonderful grandsons. I have 6 SS,  7 EEs,  3 CMs, 4 Cochins (2 blue, 1 part.. 1 Red)  1BA, 1BS, 1 SLW, 1 GLS, 1 CWL, 11 Beautiful Mixes, 8 Silkies, 2 SF/Silkie,  Broody sitting 10 Split Coro. SS eggs and Coming soon a dozen Pure Coro. Sussex Eggs!!

Rooster are Zeus (Orpington), Oliver and Rally (Sal.Favs) Blackbeard (SF/Silkie) and Truffle...

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post #5 of 9

We have chicken wire over our runs and have no problems with hawks. We have had smaller birds sneak in but they're harmless other than stealing food.

NPIP#405 Check out the hatching eggs auctions for my current auction(s) of silkie hatching eggs and sizzle hatching eggs. Swap Page http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=24309
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NPIP#405 Check out the hatching eggs auctions for my current auction(s) of silkie hatching eggs and sizzle hatching eggs. Swap Page http://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=24309
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post #6 of 9

I cover the tops of my runs wiith that heavy black netting.  The sides that are exposed have 1" chicken wire.  The other sides are privacy fence panels. I have never had anything get into my coops either through the top or through the sides. 

They are attacking the new one because it's new into the flock and they are establishing their pecking order.  I would think the baby is going to get too cold in the box without heat provided.

Wife to a Patient Loving Husband, Mother to 6 children and 3 Grandchildren.  Breeders of Black, Blue, Blue Partridge, Partridge, Buff, Paint, Porcelain, Splash, White and AOV Silkies.  www.elitesilkies.com
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Wife to a Patient Loving Husband, Mother to 6 children and 3 Grandchildren.  Breeders of Black, Blue, Blue Partridge, Partridge, Buff, Paint, Porcelain, Splash, White and AOV Silkies.  www.elitesilkies.com
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post #7 of 9

Wow! Welcome to BYC! You have come to the coolest place on the internet for chicken knowledge.

I started with chickens last summer and the people of BYC have been great. This year I have tried hatching and buying chicks for even more chickeny joy. Please visit my BYC Page for my blog links that you may find informative or amusing.

It is not clear from your post that you have significant chicken-keeping experience. If not, you should spend some time reading in the BYC Learning Center.

Here is a lightning tour of chicken keeping:

Chickens go in a coop. It is a strong container or building made from durable material like wood with hardware cloth covering ventilation spaces. There should be a roost (2x4 wide side up), a nest box, food, water, a cleaning door (human size or smaller), and a pop door (chicken size). Your coop should be 4 square feet per chicken.

The pop door should exit to a chicken run, which is a strongly fenced area (eg. 2x4 farm fence). Since hawks now know you are serving meals, you need to cover the top of the chicken run. You can use farm fence or poultry netting. (I use poultry netting, see my Chicken Products link on my BYC page). You will want a door to get into the run to clean it and provide food & water. Your run should be 10 square feet per chicken.

Chickens have a pecking order. The term comes from the way more aggressive/larger chickens peck the others. This can be fatal so keep immature, smaller birds away from big birds. It is helpful that your hens adopted the chicks.

Adult hens need layer feed. Chicks need starter/grower feed. Birdseed is inadequate nutrition as are most treat foods, so use treats sparingly. Since the hens have adopted the chicks, you can feed everybody starter/grower and just provide oyster shell (at all times) for the adults.

Good job keeping an eye on the chicks to spot the abuse. Watch the chicks to learn their habits and you will quickly spot any chicks that are failing to thrive or acting sick or getting abused. Also pay attention to their vent area. Chicks can develop paste butt that will block their feces and eventually kill them. A warm water Q-Tip will soften the crusty poo and let you rub it off their nether feathers.

You got a brutal introduction to chicken keeping, but you have come to the right place to learn. I have only had chickens for a year, but I am confident giving advice because of what I have learned here and the certainty that wiser people will correct my mistakes.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerncherries25 

We purchased 4 bantam chicks the day before easter for our kids. Figured we'd start a coop. The next weekend I found some EE at the feed store and purchased 4 more. So we had a total of 8 chicks. 3 weeks now we've had them and we were anxious to get eggs we purchased (2) 1.5 year old silkie girls. Great combo... and decided to put all 10 in the new coop we had just built. They did great through the night and our new girls ( Wilma and Betty, our silkies ) kind of adopted all 8 baby chicks and had mothered them throughout the night.

Woke up early this morning to let the big girls out to graze and left the coop door open while I was getting ready for work. I hear a lot of commotion out back, screaching and screaming. I run out back to see my big girl on top of a hawk and my biggest EE chick in the grasps of the hawk. I freaked and started screaming. My big girl fell off and there flew the hawk with my baby. I wanted to cry. My son woke up to me freaking to my husband. Here we were worried about the coons and never though of the hawk that lives in our neck of the woods. Put all the chicks up and I was devastated. Poor babies first day grazing in the yard and that was the end. It was their first time out back without the safety of the back porch. hit

Hubby stayed home today with our 6 year old who was just devastated! They went and picked out another chick from the feed store ( supposed to be an EE but legs are pink and not green so I know it's a bantam )
They got home and that darn hawk had put its talon through the chicken wire into the coop and stole another baby chick.... hit

At this point all babies went back on the porch and figured they were too young. Hubby went and picked up a lt brahma and blue laced wyandotte baby. Now we are at 9 chicks and 2 silkie hens.

Tonight going to bed, I hear screaching again and run out to the porch and 2 of my original bantams were pulling our new baby bantam ( the one DH thought was an EE ) throughout the cage and she was hiding under any chick she could find and they were going at her like crazy! Poor thing, I pulled our new baby out and put her in a box in our bedroom for the night. Is there a reason my 2 bantams are attacking my new baby. They are from the same feed store, same hatch date, same size, just brought in 3 weeks apart. They arent attacking my wyandotte or brahma either, only this poor bantam.  How do I stop this. DH says weakest link and we need to find her a new home because the other 2 will kill her. Is this the case. I already lost 2 baby chicks today, I dont think we can handle a 3rd. Son is so upset that they wont accept new chick and wants to know why. Silkies are fine with her, but I am not putting another baby in the coop until they are big enough to sound alarm and give a fight. What am I gonna do? barnie


A few observations/questions/suggestions: 

1.  Never let tiny chicks free range unless they are accompanied by a very protective mother and you have a fierce rooster or two to protect them as well.  Your babies are way to small to be out with the big girls as they are like chicken nuggets for hawks.  Not only will a hawk take them out, but as small as they are even a crow and certainly an owl, fox, dog, coon, etc. will snatch them up as well.  I won't let my chicks out to free range until they are a least 12 weeks old.  They are just too small and defenseless.

2.  Are you saying the hawk pulled a chick through the chicken wire?  How do you know this, did you see it?  I find it hard to believe a hawk COULD pull a chick through the hole in chicken wire.  Most chicks would run away from the wire if a hawk was on the other side of it.  Also, hawks don't use their feet in such a way that they can put their foot through the wire and "catch" a chick with it.  What makes you think that's what happened?

3.  It is never a good idea to put small chicks in with larger birds, even a couple of weeks apart.  The larger birds will almost always peck them until they do severe damage or kill them.  You really lucked out with the silkies accepting the chicks and not hurting them.  Your bantams aren't accepting the new chick because it isn't part of their original flock.  It also sticks out like a sore thumb to them because it is by itself.  It would help if there were several new chicks to integrate into a flock of the same sized chicks, but even that might not work.  Bottom line is that chickens are not very tolerant or accepting of new members.  Also, as someone mentioned, the new chick must have a heat lamp on it or it will probably die.  You don't need to rehome her, you just need to keep her separate from the big chickens until she is almost the same size and can protect herself from them.  That said, you should not keep her alone, you need to get at least one or two other chicks of the same size to keep with her until integration with the older flock.

Sorry you're having such a hard time, but I agree with chicken.lytle, there are many great learning threads on this site that will help you learn to become a great chicken mama!
thumbsup

"Dear Father hear and bless thy beasts and singing birds and guard with tenderness small things that have no words."
3 Chinese Cresteds, 3 cats, 1 Severe Macaw, Ameracanas/Easter Eggers, ISA Browns, Barred Rocks, French Black Copper Marans, Barnyard Mutts

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"Dear Father hear and bless thy beasts and singing birds and guard with tenderness small things that have no words."
3 Chinese Cresteds, 3 cats, 1 Severe Macaw, Ameracanas/Easter Eggers, ISA Browns, Barred Rocks, French Black Copper Marans, Barnyard Mutts

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post #9 of 9

I'm so sorry for your losses!

Chickmate above has some excellent advice. smile

I'd also highly encourage quarantining any new chicks/chickens you purchase in the future. Here is a good read: http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=12751&p=1

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