Broad tailed Hawk TRIED to kill our chickens!!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by scoutchicken, Sep 22, 2013.

  1. scoutchicken

    scoutchicken Hatching

    Jun 19, 2013
    My son is raising eleven chickens (different breeds) for both a Boy Scout and 4H project. We let them free range on our 4 acre wooded lot from about 7am until 7pm every day. Well, tonight at about 4pm, we heard some God-awful noises coming from our back porch. We quickly went out to look and saw 8 of the hens huddled under the eaves:D of our house, looking terrified and literally SCREAMING...the other 3 hens were across the back yard, hiding in the heavily wooded area, not making a peep. We noticed that some blackbirds were also making a racket about the hawk. We really want to be able to continue to free range the eggs, especially because people are paying my son $4 a dozen for the eggs! I don't WANT to kill the hawk, but will if I have too. Does anyone know any way to scare the hawk away from our property? Would putting up "bird netting" (used to protect fruit trees) work against such a large predatory bird? I think we're in a sanctuary area, so killing the hawk is the last resort, since its probably not legal. We all used to love looking at all the diverse birds in the area, but these hens are like family to the kids and me too...the chickens come first! ...and no, we do not have a rooster (didn't want fertile eggs). Any advice is greatly appreciated :)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2013
  2. scoutchicken

    scoutchicken Hatching

    Jun 19, 2013 of the hens we have literally has a broken can feel.the bone bend sideways. She acts totally normal, but does hold.her head sideways, so I'm afraid she'll be easily killed by this hawk, and it's my kids' favorite please...
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Being involved with BSA you should not condone breaking the law!
    Make the birds less acessable to hawks by providing hiding places such as pallets on concrete blocks and string netting in stragic places.
    If you free range expect losses. The 8 screamers will be the first to get caught while "the other 3 hens were across the back yard, hiding in the heavily wooded area, not making a peep" are the smart ones and will have the longest life expectancy.
    1 person likes this.
  4. dpenning

    dpenning Crowing

    Jul 20, 2013
    Blue Ridge, TX
    BSA is not the only reason not to kill a hawk. These birds are protected for a reason. I'm somewhat surprised anyone here would even consider that action. :(. That would be a Very poor example for your children.
  5. MamaDoodle

    MamaDoodle Chirping

    Sep 12, 2013
    My Coop

    ChickenEd13 is right. Entirely.

    I understand you are upset by this and I know how important chickens can be to a family, however, hawks are illegal to kill and it was simply doing what it naturally does. Even if you killed it, you may get the wrong one. Free range birds do not all make it, you must understand... It's why free range birds are bought in large amounts, and often have a rooster, but not always.

    Please explain this to your son, and set up some protection for the hens.
  6. petersonroad

    petersonroad Hatching

    Sep 22, 2013
    We have recently had 9 of our chickens taken by various birds of prey. We have a lot of time, emotion and some $ involved in our flock and if given the chance I am not sure I would not elect to rid myself of the preditors permanently - so I Understand your frustration. However the hawks are much smarter than i am...
    in the end you must concede that free range chickens will be exposed to numerous hazards and as others have pointed out some chickens are just smarter than others and they survive. We have just finished a new large enclosure for our birds and only let them out when we are in the area doing yard work etc. we have a little more peace of mind this way and the hawks have left the area for now at least.
  7. mcalypso

    mcalypso Hatching

    Oct 10, 2012
    Lone Grove , Oklahoma
    I just had two of my hens taken by a hawk last week. We also free range. I thought my hens had good protection, a rooster and also a small flock of guineas that make a HUGE racket when anything out of the ordinary is near. Unfortunately, the other posts are correct. When free ranging, no matter what you do, sometimes the predator wins.
    I cried for hours when I saw all my favorite chickens beautiful feathers scattered all over my property. It was horrible. I wanted to sit outside with the shotgun and wait for that hawk to show up. Luckily, my husband talked sense into me. I'm not going to kill a protected bird. It was just doing what nature intended it to do(as much as I hate that it did it to my girl)
    I'm sorry this happened to you. I put my chickens on lockdown. No free ranging unless I'm home. Maybe after a while the hawks will move on.
    1 person likes this.
  8. shannara200

    shannara200 In the Brooder

    Sep 16, 2012
    I have had problems with hawks also, I have 47 acre with my house in the center, I have 25 acres of woods and 15 acres of pasture including a 5 acre lake near my house so hawks and other birds of prey are always around my land.

    I did some research on the internet and found a solution that chicken farmers have perfected...

    MIRRORS !!!

    And they seem to work, it seems farmers setup mirrors on poles or on the ground facing straight up and what it does is they reflect the sunlight back up into the air which annoys the hawks, they also reflect back the image of the bird making them think there is another hawk in the area.

    I setup about six of them, 12 by 12 inches in the area my chickens free range with one right on top of the coop. I spent sometime outside watching them fly around to see if it works and once they make one or tow pass over the area they go away..

    It's been about 2 weeks since I put them up and I have no problems, you can purchase the mirrors I use in Walmart, they are the type you can hang on the wall you get 6 of them in a package fro about 7 dollars

    the only thing you need to do is make a base out of plywood for each of them so they have some support with some type of small lockdown to the plywood

    Just remember to clean the mirror every few days and right after a rain storm.

    Good luck and let us know if this trick works for you as it did for me.

    Crazy Yankee in Georgia
    1 person likes this.
  9. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    Free ranging exposes you to all predators in the area. Once the hawk is successful he will continue his chicken buffet.
    The only secure way to protect the birds is a covered run.
  10. Huntered

    Huntered In the Brooder

    Sep 8, 2013
    Berks Co,Pa
    First ,there is no such hawk as a Broad tailed hawk.There is a Broad-winged Hawk,I dont think they would bother with chickens.They eat mostly rodents and insects.It is either a red-tailed Hawk or a Cooper`s Hawk.The fines are quite high for killing a hawk.a lot more then your chickens are worth.

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