1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

A hard lesson

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DaddyChicken, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. DaddyChicken

    DaddyChicken Out Of The Brooder

    94
    0
    39
    Jun 9, 2011
    Byron, GA
    We were taught a hard lesson in chicken keeping yesterday when our rooster attempted to notify us of a predator and we ignored the warning. Our neighbors had come over and we were talking and my wife and son said they saw our rooster run across the back yard (the chickens were out of the covered pen) clucking and flapping his wings. We were too busy entertaining and all of the chickens but one had run into the pen. The neighbors left about 10 min. later and my son made his way across the back yard to the chicken pen and the wife and I had gone inside. He said he counted the chickens and noticed one was missing. About that time he said he saw the hawk about 20 ft away standing on top of the hens body and looking directly at him. He immediately ran to the house screaming and when I heard him I ran out and the hawk flew away as I approached but it was too late for our best layer (Barred Rock).

    I was talking to my wife and son when I returned to the back porch and spotted the hawk on a limb in a tree in the woods about 50 yards from the chickens. They are now confined to the pen and are not happy about it.

    My son, was extremely upset for the rest of the day. I was afraid he might have nightmares about it but I guess he slept ok. I felt so bad for him having to see all of that. I felt bad for letting it happen too.
     
  2. Chic-n-farmer

    Chic-n-farmer Showers of Blessings

    [​IMG]
    We all make mistakes. Just learn what you can from it and go on.
     
  3. evenstargirl

    evenstargirl Out Of The Brooder

    92
    2
    31
    Nov 9, 2011
    Illinois
    I'm so sorry for your loss! We learned about hawks this summer.... We had wire strung up over our run to deter hawks. We left a space open since our rooster loves to fly up and get out, and we just love watching him strut around our yard. I was near the coop when I heard a bunch of screaming and looked to see an extra bird in our run. I just stood there for a moment, dazed, before I realized it was a hawk. It shrieked and flew back up through the opening. Thankfully, it wasn't able to snatch a chicken, but it sure gave me a scare. Unfortunately, I'm like you, I don't always take the rooster seriously. However, I always go outside when our dogs start to bark, because that's usually a reliable sign something's out there. We've scared away coyotes, cats, raccoons and the neighbor's big dogs that way.

    Sorry about your hen. [​IMG]
     
  4. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    23,342
    1,204
    448
    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Quote:A tough lesson indeed. Roosters are walking radar screens, they are always watching the sky, trees etc...
    I pay attention to the sounds in the woods, listening for squirrels barking...that usually indicates a predator on the ground. Squirrels normally wont bark if a hawk is close by, they instinctively know they might become the next meal. Squawking blue jays and mockingbirds are a good indicator that a hawk or owl is nearby. Watch your rooster alert and perk up when that happens. I've actually seen blue jays squawk at snakes, obviously near a bird nest. Roosters will squawk at cats too, hens tend to cluck at them. I watch my birds when they look up in the sky, I look up too. It's usually a vulture or a plane....when they scatter, I know it's a hawk. There are other things I watch for, just cant think of them now. Good luck.
     
  5. silkymom1986

    silkymom1986 The Silkie Villa

    Sep 28, 2011
    Byhalia, MS
    Oh so sorry your son had to see that, and for the loss of your hen. We had to learn the hard way too, and it sucks but all we can do is do our best to not make the same mistakes.
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    63,179
    7,433
    726
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    A harsh lesson, but it's the chance we take when we free range. If not a resident the hawk will remain in the area for at least several days hoping for a repeat performance. Be cautious if you free range your birds and good luck.
     
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,081
    24
    184
    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    That's a good lesson for you and your boy. Now both of you will know never to ignore the sounds of distress. Like Dawg says, even though I'm losing my hearing a bit, I hear just about everything that goes on outside now. My biggest warning system is crows. They alert to just about everything that ain't good. They evern took me a to a copperhead.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2011
  8. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    5,314
    58
    291
    Aug 12, 2009
    It is unfortunate we can not dispatch hawks.They make chicken keeping so difficult at times.Sorry for your loss.Atleast the roo was able to herd the others away.
     
  9. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

    362
    0
    99
    Jul 18, 2011
    Eudora, Kansas
    It is most amazing to me to see our RIR come into his role. For the first time I saw him do a warning sound, not really a big warning, but a strange noise. I was out with the flock and looked up to see a bird (not a predator) flying overheard. He was staring at the bird. It was kind of cute....like he was practicing or something. I've never really seen that up close nature doing it's thing. None of the girls ran so it must not have been that kind of call. But it was neat to see.
     
  10. DaddyChicken

    DaddyChicken Out Of The Brooder

    94
    0
    39
    Jun 9, 2011
    Byron, GA
    Thanks for the kind words all.

    RIP Salt

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by