A chicken disappeared

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by FarmingCityGirl, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. FarmingCityGirl

    FarmingCityGirl Out Of The Brooder

    50
    0
    39
    Mar 21, 2013
    Michigan
    One of my chickens is missing. It's been several days. There's no sign of her, and I kept thinking she was hiding :( My husband thought the neighbor's dog got her, but after this weekend he now thinks a chicken hawk took her. He saw a giant shadow pass by the window, he looked, and it was a chicken hawk. He then watched it sit on a post at the chicken run and watch them huddle in a corner. We have deer netting over our run, but a super heavy snow could take it down. A hawk would also probably take the netting down, but it would get tangled up in the process. I let the chickens out of their run in the mornings, and in the evening they all go to bed and I close the run before bedtime. So I don't count them all every night anymore, they're usually already in bed. He thinks when they were out playing in the yard that a hawk came.

    Do hawks swoop down and take the chicken away? Do you think I shouldn't let them out anymore? Would a rooster alert the hens to a hawk up above and make them run into their run? There are (were) 12 hens. I don't want to make them stay in there all day...it is a big area, but I'm sure it's more fun being able to come and go as they please.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Yes, a large hawk can take a full grown chicken away. Smaller hawk specie can take young birds or will kill and eat where it is killed.
    There's no such thing as a chicken hawk. There are accipiters (bird hawks) which tend to be smaller and buzzard hawks, most of which are larger and feed primarily on rodents. Any hawk, if hungry will kill and eat a chicken.
    What people are usually describing when they use the term chicken hawk are either Cooper's, Sharp-shinned or Red-tailed Hawks.
    I've lost about 6 meat birds over the years to hawks and a young Buttercup rooster.
    During a severe dog attack with birds flying everywhere, a hawk picked up a Wyandotte POL pullet and carried it off. About 150 yards away it couldn't carry it any more and dropped it into the courtyard of an old folks home. The owner came up and asked if I was missing a chicken. He took me down to get it. Not a mark on the chicken.
    I used to say "I love hawks - they save my chickens from dogs"
    After all the hawks were here first, my chickens and I are the invasive species. Same goes for dogs, cats and raccoons - dang invasives.
     
  3. FarmingCityGirl

    FarmingCityGirl Out Of The Brooder

    50
    0
    39
    Mar 21, 2013
    Michigan
    hmmm..I don't know what kind of hawks these are then. My husband calls 'em chicken hawks. I've never seen one close, and I have a hard time telling how big these birds are when they're way up high. Our chickens are full grown, laying an egg a day. When he saw the hawk eyeing our chickens, he let our dog out after it and it flew away. I've been wanting to get some wire to use on our run, I want a bright color to weave a grid pattern instead of the deer netting. From my understanding, this will show from high up and deter anything from coming up to it...and hold up through a snowstorm better than this flimsy netting.
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,690
    2,639
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm in Missouri and we have something in the neighborhood of 20 species at various times of year.
    Sharp shinned are small - the smallest in the US at about 10"
    Coopers are a little bigger at from 15"-20". Those 2 are accipiters and would probably eat where they killed it.
    Red tailed are big at about 2 foot long. I'm sure they can carry one off. You can't miss the red tail. They're buteos or buzzard hawks and eat primarily small mammals and reptiles but are opportunistic and big enough to kill almost anything from frogs and snakes to small dogs, cats and turkeys.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by