We have a small flock of 8 and they are very beloved pets. They are in an enclosed run throughout the day, but we try to let them out to free range for a few hours every evening. Lately we've noticed a large hawk hanging around the vicinity of our coop. If we walk to the coop and our hens greet us with any kind of noise, that hawk is in a nearby tree within minutes. We've been afraid to let them out for the past week or so. We also have a very small dog that we are concerned about. It's like that hawk is just waiting for a meal! Is their any advice anyone can give about how to deal with this issue? We feel so awful that our girls haven't been able to free range lately and when we walk to the coop, they immediately go to the back door (the door we let them out of).
Also, our property in Ohio is mostly wooded and is nestled up against a federal forest area. The coyotes are beyond thick this year. At night they get pretty close to our house and although our chickens are locked in tight at night, they are still a concern for us. Has anyone had any issues with them in regards to their chickens or trying to get into the coop?
Thanks for any advice. We love our hens and although we know this is just a part of backyard farming, it is still something we would like to avoid our two young kids witnessing at some point. The hawk is definitely the main concern, so any advice is appreciated!