Can small, flighty breeds avoid birds of prey?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by UrbanEnthusiast, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I get chickens again next year, they will have a very sturdy coop, so my primary concern is daytime predators, mostly chicken hawks in our area. I don't know yet if we will be able to have a rooster. The flock will spend most daylight hours free-ranging unsupervised. I know the common wisdom for prevention of losses to hawks is to get large breeds. But I actually keep chickens primarily for laying and money for feed is tight, so I'm interested in lightweight layers like Hamburgs (hens ~ 4 lbs), and I'd even like to get a pair of Egyptian Fayoumis to act as "watchdogs" (hens ~ 3.5 lbs). I prefer "wilder" personalities in chickens and my thinking is that if provided with adequate cover these two breeds will be wary and fast enough to stay safe. I'm OK with occasional losses but the fewer the better. If I do have hawk problems I plan to take all the standard measures such as hanging shiny moving things in the yard, scarecrows, etc. But am I crazy to think that any 3.5 lb chicken won't be terribly vulnerable to hawks and eagles? The only predators I've dealt with before were raccoons and our own dogs. That was in the city. I think where we are moving next year (Whidbey Island, WA, for those who are curious) has a lot more birds of prey.

    Updates:

    Regarding getting goats, turkeys, donkeys, etc. to fend off predators: Not possible for me.

    Regarding getting gamefowl: They don't lay enough for my purposes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  2. refamat

    refamat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We, I'm having better luck this year with full grown turkeys in the pasture with my chickens as well as the goats. Last year I lost some to eagles (something Whidbey Island also has an abundance of). I'm just north of there in Blaine Wa.
     
  3. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I can't get any turkeys or goats, so I'm wondering here what folks' experience has been with lightweight, flighty hens in regards to birds of prey.
     
  4. heronz

    heronz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ancona chickens.
     
  5. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Can I ask why Ancona in particular? Looking for all the info I can get, thanks!
     
  6. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Have you thought about gamefowl?
     
  7. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I love gamefowl but they don't lay enough. From everything I've read, Hamburgs seem to be the best combination of survival instincts and laying capacity. I would consider getting a game hen or two to serve as "watchdogs" but I figured the Fayoumis can serve a similar purpose and lay a bit more, plus I like how they look all freaky like roadrunners.
     
  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote: Hawks can and will kill ALL types of birds
    You just have to take your chances
     
  9. UrbanEnthusiast

    UrbanEnthusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, that is what I'm reading in other threads. I just watched this Youtube video and it's pretty intense. It was shot right here in Western Washington. I don't even have chickens yet and I'm already paranoid. [​IMG] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWHFHPGgq7o
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  10. heronz

    heronz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hate that it takes so darn long for them to die.
    What a horrible way to go.
     

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