A stinking hawk got one of my girls today and injured another!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TOP KNOT, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I came home from work tonight to find all of my chickens cowering in the coop. They did the alert clucking when I walked up to the coop. I talked to them and they settled down. I knew something was wrong. I did I walk to the pasture, and only about 50 feet from the coop was feathers everywhere. A trail of them led to my americauna hen. [​IMG] I also noticed a tail feather from one of my roosters. It seems he tried to help his girl. I got the dead hen out so they did not have to look at her any longer. I looked over the flock to notice one of my buff orpingtons hiding on the roost. Her back was picked and cut up. I treated her with some blue-kote and talked to her. She sang quietly to me...she is so sweet! My question is what does one do to protect a free range flock from a hawk?? I have always said quality of life over quantity is more important. They love being out, but I sure don't want this happening again!! Hawks are the only predators that I have have had a problem with. I lock them up tight at dusk. Any suggestions??
     
  2. SAMnELLA

    SAMnELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I just started with chickens again after 5 years. The hawks and foxes were getting my chickens before, so I keep mine in a coop with a run. I'm not one for leaving pet dogs outside, but the only thing I can think of in your case is to get a dog that will guard them. My neighbor has his chickens free range and he says sometimes a fox or "chicken hawk" will get one.
     
  3. Muffinburgler

    Muffinburgler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's nothing you can do when it comes to hawks and free ranging. The only thing that stops birds of prey is a roof or netting overhead the chickens. People try hanging CDs, owl statues, shiny ribbons, but that kind of stuff only distract the hawks for a few hours before they start ignoring it.

    If you don't want to build them a run, you'll just have to accept that you'll lose one now and then ):
     
  4. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure about getting a dog....and I have a 12x24 run with a roof. I let them out to pasture each day. I would think a dog would really have to be trained to protect them and not kill them.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I free-range keep my birds with lots of hawks around. With present setup hawks are little more a source of excitement. I have several modifications relative to what you likely have and anyone helps at least a little but in combination they are very effective. Providing cover chickens can retreat to helps greatly. By cover I mean bushes a hawk cannot fly through such as brambles or dense stand of sumac. I also have roosters running about. They are full adult standard sized. American game is best but only one can be out and about so American Dominiques are being used with multiple males out. I also have two dogs that run with birds. Roosters work best when they have cover to work from. You can tighten up the flocks ranging habits by proper placement of feeding stations near cover patches.
     
  6. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! You gave me great ideas!
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    You can see some of the plant types in my photo albums. Managing growth form of cover patches can be done as well. I am still doing this and intend to have a lot more cover patches that can also provide edible fruits or other ornamental value.
     
  8. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like that idea, although they would have to be horse proof in my case. The chickens share the pasture with the horses. Right now ( the morning after the attack) they will not come out of the coop, not even into the roofed run. I hope they get their courage up eventually.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Have you ever seen horse pasture with little fenced in areas around trees that provide shade? The fence keeps horses away from tree trunk and shallow roots protecting tree from damage. I will be doing similar in future to protect my cover patches from goats and sheep I will be using to manage shorter areas of pasture.


    I will try to take some pictures today showing what I mean.
     
  10. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    I have heard of using fishing line over the coop and run area. I have also thought of making something like a short legged picnic table for them to run under. I have a lot of woody areas so if the woods get too dense then I have daytime raccoon problems.
     

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