I don't think your rooster made your flock a target, predators will find them over time. Your roo is young, so he is not at full fighting capacity. As he gets older, his protective instinct will get stronger, and he may get more aggressive. Some roos make good protectors, and will sacrifice themselves, and other aren't very good, and watch from a distance. Give him time, and hopefully he will grow into a great protector.
Will a rooster attract predators? - Page 2
Also found it interesting that Bruce (my roo) was raising all manor of commotion about it but was not defending against the hawk. I assume because the one being attacked was one of my old 7 year olds that he does not mate with. Is that how it works? He will only protect "his" girls?
Every ingrained behavior that a rooster has is there because it increases reproductive success - defending the hens that aren't productive puts him (and the other hens) at risk without any sort of reproductive gain. Many roosters will run off or even kill hens that refuse to mate.
Roosters are better alert systems than they are protection systems - most roosters can't take on an adult red tailed hawk. Most adult geese can't even take on an adult red tailed hawk themselves.
Thanks for the input thomasboyle and CrazyTalk.....makes sense.
I will give him credit that even though he was hiding with his girls under the lilac bush....his carrying on got me out to the backyard within about 30 seconds so I was able to chase the hawk off. All of the young girls were carrying on too. Scared the heck out of us all.
Sooner or later every predator in your area will find your flock, and hawks are happy to eat chicken too. Your young birds just learned a valuable lesson, and your cockrel did the best he could. Lock everyone in for at least a week or maybe two weeks, until that hawk moves on elsewhere. Mary
Thanks Mary. Yes, they certainly learned something about danger, they have been out to free range a few times since (with me hovering around them the entire time) and they are still nervous about being out in the open spaces, they run from one protective bush area to another. Maybe I shouldn't even have them out for that hour or so a day though....so as to hopefully let the hawk move on. I think I need to quit feeding wild birds in the yard too...that is probably an attractant as well.