1 Chicken killed by hawk, now what?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Landon1117, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Landon1117

    Landon1117 Chirping

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    Hi guys,
    I have around 20 hens and a couple roosters (and about 10 ducks) which free range everyday before I put them away at night. Unfortunately, today I was in for an awful surprise. I won't go into detail, but 1 of my Buff Polish hens, which I gave haircuts to often because she just could not see well at all, was obviously eaten by a hawk, as I found her body exactly how others described their hens that have been eaten by hawks. I was really sad about this, but this is what happens when you free-range chickens. I haven't had a predator attack for almost a year now (when 2 coyotes came in and grabbed 2 hens fast) but I'm worried that now that the hawk has gotten one, it will come back for more. How long should I wait to let my chickens out again? I have seen my roos fight off a hawk before, but that was when I was home and able to scare it away on time. I just don't want to see what I saw today happen to any of my other hens. Also, does anyone know if my ducks are equally at risk? I feel like I should know the answer to this because I've had them for so long but idk. I think my Polish may have been specifically targeted because she can barely see to run away, but maybe not. Thanks in advance, and if you need any more information just let me know.
     
  2. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Crowing

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    I would leave the carcass out there and get a rifle and wait for the bird to return. They will return if they have success. And they do like those smaller birds that cannot see very well. Good luck.. You will get other opinions shortly.
     
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  3. Landon1117

    Landon1117 Chirping

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    That sounds like a good idea but I don't own a gun:hmm. Thanks for the tips though, I only have one Polish left and you bet I'll be watching her like a hawk (no pun intended). She has always had no problems getting around luckily.
     
  4. Landon1117

    Landon1117 Chirping

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    UPDATE: So it is definitely a hawk, I heard and saw it in my neighbors yard. Today it left behind a bunch of feather in my yard of some sort of wild bird, so I'm glad I left all of my girls in. What should I do to get rid of this problem?? I think it might be nesting next door, which is extremely disappointing because the weather's finally getting nicer for all of them and I'll probably have to keep them inside for a couple of months if it stays.
     
  5. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Crowing

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    What kind of hawk is it? If they are nesting near you, you need to start building a big run with a top on it.... You can still do things to make it safer to free range. Chicken is generally not on their menu, wild birds are their natural prey... and there are a fair amount of wild birds around.... this hawk went for one of your smaller birds..... who knows..... you will lose one here and there undeniably.
     
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  6. Tiana's chickens

    Tiana's chickens Songster

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    Agreed. A run with a top to protect them. I've never tried this but I've heard hanging CDs to blow around in the wind can scare them off and mirrors can deter them too
     
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  7. Landon1117

    Landon1117 Chirping

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    Not sure what type of hawk it was, I only got a small look at it. Hopefully I'll see it again soon to find out. She was actually the smallest bird in my flock, not sure if she was a bantam or not. My concern was that even though she was small and defenseless, it looks as if the entire attack went on under the cover of a lot of trees.
    I have 2 mains roos who hang out with the hens, a silver laced Wyandotte whos kinda a coward and a mix roo who I've had for probably 6 years now, but he lost all of his toes to frostbite and probably wouldn't be able to really fight a hawk. My favorite roo died a couple years back. We just hatched another rooster this year who also hangs out outside, and I've found that he's probably the best defender in the whole flock, he'd definitely give his life for one of the hens, but he's only integrated with some of the girls.
     
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  8. Lordofchickens 86

    Lordofchickens 86 Songster

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    or you can do what I do and scream get out of here at the top of your lungs. Sure my neighbors look at me funny but who cares. lol just kidding they don't. I only do supervised free ranging now because I lost two to a hawk:barnie
     
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  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

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    Your hawk will return, at least every three days or so. Keep the birds in for at least ten to fourteen days, and maybe it will get discouraged and move on.
    This is one good reason to have a covered run!!! Large enough to keep your birds happy enough when they can't free range.
    Hawks tend to take the smaller birds; my bantams are most at risk here.
    It's a federal crime to injure or kill any raptor in the USA! Just don't! They are just part of risk management when keeping chickens, and have, over time, been much less of an issue here, compared to foxes, and other land predators.
    Mary
     
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  10. Farmer Doc

    Farmer Doc Chirping

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    Keeping them in with discourage them when they return. Simply not worth the effort if the food isn't there. Your routine is probably pretty predictable. Change it up some and that will help if you don't want to keep them in. Do you have trees where they free range or is it mostly open? I have not seen our Roos fight off a hawk but they do keep an eye on the sky for a long while after an attack. We have many red tail hawks and occasionally they get a chicken but it is not common and the Roos call the girls in when they are checking out the yard. Short rage covered runs help for a place to go when in need - we have about 20 feet off the coop. They prefer being out but the Roos will call them in when necessary. Hope this helps and sorry for your loss.
     
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  11. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Crowing

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    Just as a general rule, it is usually a Coopers Hawk, but not always..... a Coopers hawk will not be deterred by trees. They hunt in woodland habitat. It might not want to take on a larger chicken. But there are some that do, quite efficiently. But you can throw them off. They are for the most part extremely wary, although some describe hawks that they could reach out and hit with a stick. Just being around will discourage them. Not letting them out early. Keep th chickens hungry for a treat so you can get them to go back in when you need them to. I let mine out a little later generally but hawks can attack at any time of day. Roosters are helpful but they are edible to hawks also.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2018
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  12. Haihai

    Haihai Chirping

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    I too had a hawk attack two weekends ago on a silkie, I was home and heard him do the warning call, I ran out and he was on the ground with a big chunk out of his back neck, thankfully I was able to recoup him in the house. ( nothing like having a roo crow at 6am in the mid room lol) I decided only to let mine free range when I was outside. I put a net with zip ties on top of the run and the hawk has come back a few times but with no luck... I think early spring is a time for the hawks to really attack! Good luck and I’m sorry to hear about your loss!
     
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