1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Can a hawk be doing this?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by shaun14, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. shaun14

    shaun14 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    25
    Nov 14, 2014
    Hi, I hope one of you can help. I was on a trip and 6 hens were lost. They took pictures of them. After returning and walking the area, I guessed it was a raptor. The ones that had injuries seemed to have them on their heads and I observed a big hawk hanging around watching the pen. They were all killed in the daytime in their pen and they now hide in their chicken house most of the day. Two of them had been somewhat eaten, more like a bird would, but two of them only had small marks on the tops of their heads.

    I put up white flat horse fence tape back and forth over the pen like a weave. I tied streamers to it and put reflective things on the pen. I also made a scarecrow with my clothing.

    So for a week, all has been fine. Then today whatever it is killed one during the day when I was working on the next field. It seems to chase them in the corner of the pen. The hen was unmarked but seemed to have her neck broken.

    The hawk was hanging around and kept coming back many times. I locked all the chickens in.

    Would a hawk do something like that? It seems it would have had to fly in between the strings and get on the ground and corner it. Would it break it's neck? It's a red tailed hawk, pretty good size. Why would one go after hens that are full grown? I am puzzled.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    27,125
    10,436
    616
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Nto sure, but what i do know is that some raptors do aim break the necks of their prey when making the initial contact. There's one species of raptor (looks falcon like to me) that has taken chicks in the past and it actually hides on the ground, in the hedgerow before attacking. It seems that they have more than one approach to kill - far too crafty for my liking!

    CT
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,221
    800
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    Hawks especially the "BIG" hawks like A female Red Tail hawk kill standard size chickens by more or less running them down, either on foot but mostly with a combination of short sprints and flights (think in feet). The hawk attack then turns into a wrestling match. Things like fence corners are custom made for a hawk to corner a meal in, or against the wire, or even inside the coop. If not interrupted to severally the hawk will return time and time again to feed on a previous kill, leaving a more or less complete skeleton, and some offal, often surrounded by a pile of feathers.
     
  4. shaun14

    shaun14 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    25
    Nov 14, 2014
    It is a big red tailed hawk. So it is flying in between the web I have stretched up and cornering them? It does get interrupted often and hasn't really been able to eat much of its kill. Why does it keep returning?
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    27,125
    10,436
    616
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Cos it can get a free meal - they r pretty smart (unfortunately)
     
  6. shaun14

    shaun14 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    25
    Nov 14, 2014
    So stringing a web like design won't keep them out? Is the only solution completely covering my pen? I have quite a large pen and am not sure how I can do it and be cost effective. Any ideas?
     
  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    5,221
    800
    291
    Dec 25, 2012
    I have posted this video before but remember that the Raptor in this clip is not even a so-called-chicken-hawk like a Red Tail, Coopers, or Blue Darter hawk. The Raptor in this video is a Goshawk, a form of falcon, and they are not as agile in the thick stuff as most chicken hawks are because Goshawks normally catch their prey on the wing. But I still think that they are amazing.

    [​IMG]
    Falcons are fighter planes and hawks are more like a crop duster when speed, agility, and maneuverability on the wing is counted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by