Almost lost a hen today

Wolfie2

Songster
5 Years
Feb 23, 2016
89
249
129
South of Houston
To a hawk. We usually let the birds out of the run during the afternoon, usually about 3-4 hrs. They are let out into a fenced acre which is also home to 2 goats.
I let them out as usual about 2 pm (they are usually back in by 5, or just before dark as they are ready anyway) As I was walking back to the house, which is about 50 feet away. All heck broke loose in the acre. Looked back in time to see a hawk swooping down toward a hen who was running for shelter. There was an old tire leaning up against the fence in a corner and she got under it just as the hawk hit the ground right behind her. I ran toward the fence flapping my arms and hollering. The hawk flew away. Went to the hen and found she didn't have a scratch on her, picked her up & Proceeded to herd the rest back into the wire covered run. The Roo was already there with about half the hens ( 12 hens total ) hidin in the coop. Had a talk with the Roo about his responsibility to protect ALL of the hens, not just half of em.
First time for a hawk attack and I have been raising chickens for quite a while. Things worked out OK this time. But the incident has made an impression in my mind. The hawk knows where they are now and may try a replay.
I hate to confine them to the run 24/7 as they love the "outdoors". Will think on this for a while!
 

CluckerFamily

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Feb 14, 2016
5,804
25,887
871
Wisconsin
I’m glad everyone is safe.
I would leave them in the safe covered run for at least a week. The hawk will keep checking back.
You may need another rooster. I have 1 rooster for my 16 hens while my sister has 3 roosters for 50 hens (and picking up 2 more cockerels this weekend).
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
11,960
43,982
1,037
SE Missouri, USA
Yes, this is why I have two roosters for my flock of 23 hens. I recently had to replace a rooster, as this past summer I had an experience very similar to yours. One roo got the girls into the hen house while the other lost his life defending them from the rear. No doubt if I'd had only one roo I would surely have lost at least one hen, probably more, as the rooster kept the hawk focused. Hens tend to scatter in panic and the hawk could have taken more than one.

Also like yours, the flock was traumatized afterward. I kept them confined for several days afterward in a very small run. Eventually the hawk moved on and the flock was able to come out into their nice large run again. But they weren't very brave. They tended to huddle under their little shelters and avoided the open spaces for about two weeks before they relaxed, still keeping an eye to the sky. Good luck with your flock!
 

Wolfie2

Songster
5 Years
Feb 23, 2016
89
249
129
South of Houston
B6400_LT33502 USFRPVMESWWTP IP_AIMAP
Yes, this is why I have two roosters for my flock of 23 hens. I recently had to replace a rooster, as this past summer I had an experience very similar to yours. One roo got the girls into the hen house while the other lost his life defending them from the rear. No doubt if I'd had only one roo I would surely have lost at least one hen, probably more, as the rooster kept the hawk focused. Hens tend to scatter in panic and the hawk could have taken more than one.

Also like yours, the flock was traumatized afterward. I kept them confined for several days afterward in a very small run. Eventually the hawk moved on and the flock was able to come out into their nice large run again. But they weren't very brave. They tended to huddle under their little shelters and avoided the open spaces for about two weeks before they relaxed, still keeping an eye to the sky. Good luck with your flock!

The other half of the flock I found inside the barn with the goats. When rounding 'em up they ran straight to the run door and inside. They know they are safe there. May have to get another rooster, but these have all been raised together from young'uns and I was not planning to get another. Will probably keep them inside the run for a few days for the hawks sake (hate to have to shoot it).
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
13 Years
Nov 18, 2007
25,576
17,650
771
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
To a hawk. We usually let the birds out of the run during the afternoon, usually about 3-4 hrs. They are let out into a fenced acre which is also home to 2 goats.
I let them out as usual about 2 pm (they are usually back in by 5, or just before dark as they are ready anyway) As I was walking back to the house, which is about 50 feet away. All heck broke loose in the acre. Looked back in time to see a hawk swooping down toward a hen who was running for shelter. There was an old tire leaning up against the fence in a corner and she got under it just as the hawk hit the ground right behind her. I ran toward the fence flapping my arms and hollering. The hawk flew away. Went to the hen and found she didn't have a scratch on her, picked her up & Proceeded to herd the rest back into the wire covered run. The Roo was already there with about half the hens ( 12 hens total ) hidin in the coop. Had a talk with the Roo about his responsibility to protect ALL of the hens, not just half of em.
First time for a hawk attack and I have been raising chickens for quite a while. Things worked out OK this time. But the incident has made an impression in my mind. The hawk knows where they are now and may try a replay.
I hate to confine them to the run 24/7 as they love the "outdoors". Will think on this for a while!
Glad your flock is ok. You can't depend on a rooster to protect the flock. A hawk will get him too if it has the chance. Sorry to say but true, it's the risk you take when you free range. You will eventually loose birds no matter how many years you have had them and sooner or later especially when you free range. A predator will strike when you least expect it. They are always looking for an opportunity. I learned the hard way myself. Now my birds all have nice large covered pens. I know they are safe. Good luck...
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
11,960
43,982
1,037
SE Missouri, USA
That's right, hawks are protected. Around here, at least, though, they seem to be migratory. Or at least, opportunistic. If my birds are not easy prey the hawk moves on. I have only lost two or three, I believe, in ten years to hawks, and I do free range every afternoon. I believe we can live in balance with nature if we work at it.
 

ChickenLord33

In the Brooder
Nov 5, 2020
15
16
34
Man I'm dealing with the same thing. A couple weeks ago one of my birds was attacked by a hawk and managed to escape missing only feathers (luckily my neighbor was out back otherwise she would have been gone!). So I've been keeping them in the coop and their run for the last 2 weeks and one of the girls is just so mean to the other chickens. She won't stop pecking and pulling out the other chickens' feathers...so I am forced to let them out because she doesn't do it if she's allowed out.

Ironically the feather pecker is also the one that got attacked by a hawk originally. Annoying is an understatement...I let them out to free range today but I'm so nervous and I keep checking on them.
 

BigBlueHen53

We will get through this... together!
Mar 5, 2019
11,960
43,982
1,037
SE Missouri, USA
Man I'm dealing with the same thing. A couple weeks ago one of my birds was attacked by a hawk and managed to escape missing only feathers (luckily my neighbor was out back otherwise she would have been gone!). So I've been keeping them in the coop and their run for the last 2 weeks and one of the girls is just so mean to the other chickens. She won't stop pecking and pulling out the other chickens' feathers...so I am forced to let them out because she doesn't do it if she's allowed out.

Ironically the feather pecker is also the one that got attacked by a hawk originally. Annoying is an understatement...I let them out to free range today but I'm so nervous and I keep checking on them.
Do your chickens have places where they can get under cover in a hurry? After our hawk attack in which we lost our roo, we put out little hidey places. One of them is a sheet of corrugated metal roofing material screwed at both ends to a couple of sawhorses. It makes a great awning and the hens love it. They've made a dust bath under it and use it for shade on sunny days, shelter on rainy ones. Another one is a couple of pallets standing up, leaning against each other at the top and wired together. The cockerel uses it as a lookout. Not pretty but useful. (We have no neighnors, no HOA.)
 

ChickenLord33

In the Brooder
Nov 5, 2020
15
16
34
Do your chickens have places where they can get under cover in a hurry? After our hawk attack in which we lost our roo, we put out little hidey places. One of them is a sheet of corrugated metal roofing material screwed at both ends to a couple of sawhorses. It makes a great awning and the hens love it. They've made a dust bath under it and use it for shade on sunny days, shelter on rainy ones. Another one is a couple of pallets standing up, leaning against each other at the top and wired together. The cockerel uses it as a lookout. Not pretty but useful. (We have no neighnors, no HOA.)

Thanks for the message. They do and they don't, we have a large field with trees but the areas right outside their coop are more barren of cover besides their run. I also leave our barn open so they can run into the main barn, they often go under our house patio and bushes around the house. When my girl got attacked the other chickens ran and hid under a mesquite tree. I just went out there to check on them and they heard the call of a vulture before I even did and ran into the coop. Smart birds, hopefully they will stay safe.

I think you are onto something...I need more cover closer to their favorite scratching areas and their coop exit. I have some awning material I could use for them. Much appreciated.

EDIT: As soon as I posted this I saw my chickies run into their coop on their chickie cam. I ran out there and heard hawks screeching from afar (about 2-3mi away). I closed them up for now, but wow they have good hearing.
 
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