A hawk nearly got one of my bantams. May I ask a few questions?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sapphire Sebright, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Sapphire Sebright

    Sapphire Sebright Chirping

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    Hello, everyone.
    Okay, so I have six bantams -- one pullet and five cockerels -- in addition to my six ISA Red hens, one Sapphire Gem pullet, and three Guinea fowl.
    Earlier today, I saw a hawk -- I'm assuming a Cooper's Hawk -- on top of my little Porcelain D'Uccle, Marshmallow. I ran over (screaming at the top of my lungs because I love my chickens) and it flew off, leaving Marshmallow lying on her back. She was breathing, and she jumped right up and ran off when I touched her. She is currently sharing a cage with my guinea keet, Spook. Spook has to be under a box, though, because he'll peck at her injuries.
    The hawk returned briefly about half and hour later, but it flew off again when I shouted at it.
    Question number one: Is there any way to deter the hawk from returning again? We're surrounded by forest, so it lives nearby, but I would just like to know if there's a way to make it less interested in my birds without shooting at it.
    Question number two: Marshmallow is alive and settled, as far as I can tell. Underneath her left wing, by the thigh, the hawk tore a hole about the size of a dime in the first layer of skin. She has another, smaller injury farther up by the wing itself, but there doesn't seem to be as much blood, and also a tiny bit of blood next to her comb. I cleaned the dime-sized wound with a little bit of alcohol and put some triple-antibiotic ointment on it. I'm going to try to cover it tonight. Did I do this right?
    Question number three: One of my ISA Red hens is missing. I haven't seen Komugi since the attack, and I was wondering if Cooper's Hawks (assuming that is what it was) carry off their prey, and if so, can they carry a full-grown hen?
    These are my questions, and any feedback or tips would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you, and good luck with your flocks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019
  2. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    I doubt a Cooper's hawk could carry off a chicken, they're not very big.

    You can hang up netting (NOT mist netting, that's for catching birds) and old CDs on strings to try to deter the hawk, but that's no guarantee. If you know you have hawks, it's best to keep your chickens in an enclosed run, with a roof. Supervised outside time may be OK, but especially bold hawks will even dive at chickens right in front of you.
    Even if you did shoot that hawk (which is illegal), there'll be more. One of them might not fly off when you yell at it. Take this as a sign that it's time to keep your hens in something enclosed.

    Don't put an injured bird in a cage with something that'll peck at her. Put her in her own cage, where she can see the others. Make sure she can easily reach food and water, and has something soft to lay in and something to perch on.

    I wouldn't cover the wounds. Also, the antibiotic is good, but it may be best to avoid rubbing alcohol in future. It's not good for the healthy cells in the wound. Definitely don't use it, or hydrogen peroxide, from this point on. Reapply the ointment according to the instructions.
     
  3. Sapphire Sebright

    Sapphire Sebright Chirping

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    Fishkeeper -- thank you so much for replying.
    I won't use any more alcohol, nor will I use hydrogen peroxide. I was just trying to clean the wound so that it would be less likely to be infected. I hadn't dressed a wound before, so I was doing the usual first-aid stuff from the books that I've read. That was for humans, but I figured that disinfecting would be the same for birds. I also won't cover the wound. Thanks for the tips.
    I'll try to keep the birds in the coop for a while while I try to set something up for them. Komugi hasn't turned up yet, but I haven't found any feathers. Hopefully she'll turn up.
    Marshmallow is now in her own cage, which is next to Spook's, and she's still inside the house. I'll try to put her cage out in the coop tomorrow so she can be with the others.
    We started raising chickens again in 2016 (we've raised before), and we haven't had any hawk attacks until now. My best guess is that the bantams were nice and small (I don't think that the perpetrator was fully grown yet), and Marshmallow really stands out. The last attack we had that I can remember was when a Goshawk picked off one of our Polish chickens, and that was at least seven years ago, with our old flock.
    It was cool to see a hawk up close, though, even if it was trying to eat my little pullet. I'm also quite glad that my throat isn't sore from my scream of dismay (it wasn't that I was screaming to scare it, I just thought that Marshmallow was already dead, and I'm kind of attached to my birds), and later shouting again (though not as loud as before) at the hawk.
    I also doubt that I could actually shoot at the hawk; I just meant some way to deter it that wasn't too drastic or violent, with guns being the absolute worst-case solution. I also didn't know that it was illegal to shoot at a hawk, even if it's attacking your birds. Sorry; kind of a young user, and still new to chicken keeping.
    This post is all over the place! Sorry again; just trying not to be rude or sound like an idiot (and probably failing).
    Anyway, everyone's been put in the coop and shut in for the night.
    Thank you again for replying, and good luck with your flock.
     
  4. Helloworld

    Helloworld Songster

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    We use mirrors and the sun. Watch and follow them and let sun hit mirror and hold it on them until they fly away. May take a few days but they will move on. We use it for eagles and osprey.
     
  5. Sapphire Sebright

    Sapphire Sebright Chirping

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    Helloworld -- Thank you for replying. I don't think that I'll be able to use the mirror tip you mentioned (it's overcast right now, and I stay inside for half of the day), but thank you anyway. It never hurts to have as many tricks as possible up one's sleeve!
    Thank you again, and good luck with your flock.
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    First it is illegal in the US to shoot birds of prey. I encourage the crows to come around and if they see a hawk they usually chase it off. I also covered my pens with heavy duty netting because of hawks and owls. I do have large pens.
     
  7. CJLR

    CJLR Songster

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    You could try to put a fake owl out and put a roof on the run you could put iodine on it . It would be best to keep her in a wire dog crate inside the house or in a garage away from flys and gnats if you keep her outside than she might get fly shrike also watch for signs of infection keep her away from other birds
     
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  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Here is a picture from @aart. A picture is worth a thousand words. I love this picture...
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Emojikitten

    Emojikitten Songster

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    I absolutely hate hawks! They fly around my house a lot and scare my hens. Some people put up scarecrows, but I'm not sure if that actually helps. If hawks keep invading your yard, I would buy a large run (With a top, of course!) for your chickens to go in during the day while you're at school/work, or you're not able to watch them. I'd only let them free-range while you're outside watching them. Having a dog outside (that won't eat your chickens) can also scare the hawks away from your flock. I hope this helps! Good luck!
     
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  10. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    The problem with any kind of fake predator (owl statues, scarecrows, etc) is that animals notice they don't move and figure out they're not real. If you frequently move one around, that might do it.

    The only thing that will 100% keep your birds safe from hawks is to keep them under a roof.
     

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