Are hawks always around?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by HeatherTheMommy, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. HeatherTheMommy

    HeatherTheMommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are hawks around all year or are they mostly a problem during a certain time of the year? I live in delaware and on jan 1st a coopers hawk killed my dominique hen. For like 2 months i kept my other girls locked up. The last few weeks ive been letting them free range again but while out running errands yesterday i saw 2 hawks swooping down in 2 different areas so now im reluctant to let them out :/
     
  2. N F C

    N F C just blowing in the wind Premium Member Project Manager

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    The hawks I have around here (north FL) are around all year. Once they spot a potential meal, they will hang out in hopes of getting another.

    I noticed the hawks seem to be most actively looking for food in the early morning and late afternoon/early evening. I don't let my chickens out of their covered run during those 2 times of the day (and when the chickens are outside, so am I).
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Different hawks migrate, some going pretty long distances. A Google search on migrating hawks might be of interest. Cooper’s Hawks stay in the US over the winter but they can change their patterns during different seasons. There should be a bird watcher’s club around you that could give you information about what the local patterns are. Different hawks have different preferred prey too, but about any that are big enough are a threat to chickens. They will take prey bigger than they are. Cooper’s Hawks are ones that are really dangerous to chickens.

    I know you had a bad experience with a hawk, but there are plenty of other predators around. I don’t know how urban or rural you are, I suspect suburban, but any time you let them free range they are at risk. If you chat with your local animal shelter you may be surprised to see what potential predators are common where you are. Dogs are often the biggest risk, not just because they are everywhere but because they kill for fun. They can kill a lot of chickens in a short time. I’ve experienced that. Hopefully you have a good fence around where yours range.

    I can’t tell you that they will ever be safe from hawks or anything else when they free range. They won’t. I don’t know how big that risk is for you. Whether or not you are willing to take that risk is your decision. I have seen foxes, coyotes, hawks, eagles, owls, bobcat, raccoons, skunks, possum, and mink here. I let mine free range for three years (locking them up at night) and only lost two, I suspect to a fox. But after two dog attacks from dogs abandoned in the country I put up electric netting to keep ground-based predators away. It worked. In four years I’ve only lost one, to an owl when I was late locking them up one night.

    I don’t know what your actual risk is, how precious each chicken is, or how much risk you are willing to take. Many people free range for long periods of time with no problems but the risk is always there. This is not an easy decision.
     
  4. Brian Rinaldi

    Brian Rinaldi Out Of The Brooder

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    Same....
     
  5. HeatherTheMommy

    HeatherTheMommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yesterday i was out around 2pm and saw the hawks. I let my birds out today but hope they stay under the car trailer if hawks come by :/
     
  6. DuyChick

    DuyChick Out Of The Brooder

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    I have Coopers Hawks all over around my house. I have lost a few of my chickens to them but I have lost more chicks to them. The other day there was one standing on the ground a few trees a way from one of my chickens but luckily it didn't harm anyone and I got it to fly away.
     
  7. DuyChick

    DuyChick Out Of The Brooder

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    There are also Red Tailed Hawks but they don't even try to get the chickens
     
  8. HeatherTheMommy

    HeatherTheMommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thats weird. Arent red tails bigger than coopers?
     
  9. DuyChick

    DuyChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes
     
  10. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hawks are a constant problem here in the Florida panhandle. I have taken to shooting bottle rockets into the trees in the wooded lot next door to discourage them. One grabbed a two week old chick that was not 4 feet from me this past Saturday as I was cleaning her crate. I shouted and ran after the hawk (Cooper's Hawk) but my little chick was gone. I gathered the other ones and took them back to their crate. As I was walking in the yard later, I heard a chirping and lo and behold, there was my chick, unharmed! What a blessing. Evidently the hawk released her when I shouted and ran after the hawk. Lesson learned is just because you are in close proximity, that won't deter a predator like a hawk that is bore sighted on its next meal.
     

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