"Chicken-Hawks"

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sab, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. sab

    sab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Ripley, WV
    My Coop
    I don't see a separate chat for Chickens. So - I will ask.... I just came back from putting my 3 chickens and a duck in the chicken tractor. I had let them out to free roam for a while. Maybe 3 hours they were out there. I found large - I repeat LARGE birds flying overhead. They had red on their beaks or close to their beaks. They were low in the trees. I found my birds nestled down low in leaves under a bush and had to coach them out. I assume they were chicken hawks flying overhead. Would these big birds have actually carried off my chickens? They aren't laying yet and somewhere between 2-3 months old. Maybe a little older. Does this mean I can't let them out??? How do you free-range chickens with flying predators??? My birds were certainly aware of their presence. Duck kept looking up before taking steps out into the open.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  2. burquechick

    burquechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Full-grown, standard chickens would more likely be killed and eaten right there. Chicks and bantams would be more likely to be carried away. Just my experience. I've lost one of each.
     
  3. burquechick

    burquechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2008
    Louisiana
    Oh, and if you are worried about losing your full grown chickens to hawks, it's less likely to happen I think if you have more chickens and maybe even a rooster. Now that my birds are fully grown (with a rooster to protect), I haven't lost anymore chickens.
     
  4. sab

    sab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Ripley, WV
    My Coop
    So what I hear is that I can't leave them alone??! How do others 'free-range' and flocks? I only have 4 to worry about and getting those 4 into the coup with big black predators flying overhead was no easy task.
     
  5. Snakeman

    Snakeman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2010
    Sounds more like buzzards to me. We have plenty of those around here and we don't worry about them. Our ducks free range all day and the buzzards are always around. We also have a couple different kinds of hawks and even a couple of bald eagles. None of these bother our adult birds. Ducklings are definitely at risk from the hawks and eagles. Generally speaking, even the hatchlings are safe as long as they stay with the flock.
     
  6. burquechick

    burquechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Louisiana
    I would watch my birds while the hawk was out there to make sure they were aware of it. I think once they learn to pay really close attention and hide when they see it, they should mostly be ok. Younger birds seem to pay less attention, so they make for easier targets. Older birds are more cautious, and then I don't think you need to worry about them as much. That would be my approach, but I hope you don't lose any birds because of my advice....
     
  7. sab

    sab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Ripley, WV
    My Coop
    The duck seems to be the dominate bird in this flock of 3 chickens and a duck. The duck is very aware of her surroundings. When she 'freezes' so do the chickens. I found all 4 of them under a brier bush and very quiet and very nestled into the leaves like they were trying to hide. Of course there is no hiding the white Pekin. But she seemed to be "guarding" the entrance to that hiding place. I think they did know there were there. I don't usually leave them alone but when I said to a friend who raises chickens (and cows and the full-farm-deal) that I sat out there with them, she laughed and said I needed to get a life....

    I don't know if they were buzzards or hawks. I will have to look that up. Either way..... didn't they come around to 'feast' on my living critters???
     
  8. zazouse

    zazouse Overrun With Chickens

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    Those are buzzards or vultures, they won't hurt your chickens as a matter a fact they will keep your chickens hiding undercover so a hawk can't get them either.

    Hawks sore but not as good as a buzzard a buzzard can fly plum out of site and you will never see them flap their wings, a hawk can sore but have to flap their wing pretty frequently, that's an easy way to tell the difference if they are way up high.

    buzzards also sore in bigger groups most of the time while a hawk will usually hunt alone unless teaching the young. or migrating
     
  9. sab

    sab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2010
    Ripley, WV
    My Coop
    I did a little research. I think they were vultures. According to the internet, they don't generally eat live creatures. So were they just investigating things or looking for leftover table scraps etc. from the flock??
     
  10. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You should not try to get them into their tractor/coop while a predator or big bird flies around. They are hiding or sitting still for a reason, and they will be ok once the bird is gone. Best is just to stand outside and wait until it is gone. I had my ducks in an aviary while small and got them out of it once big enough. They have also been free ranging since they are 8 weeks old. They do what their instinct tells them. Hide, lay low, and watch tightly. They do that even when they are not at risk, because it is in their genes and eventually they may have babies to teach exactly the same thing. I have a shade cloth hanging in my free range area over the pools and there are also trees. They stay under it to get out of the sun and to stay protected from predators. You are fine if you can provide areas they can sit under. Even a table is suitable. I've a kiddie pool with a slide and build them some decks around them. They like to hide under the slide and deck at times. Not just for protection, but to stay out of the sun and to nap. I would not worry about your birds at this point. Most flying predators are on the lookout for rodents and not full sized ducks or chickens. There are plenty of other predators to worry. Skunks, raccoons, and coyotes are worse in my point of view. Even rats are worse. These animals will move into the neighborhood and are there to stay.
    I think you may have seen turkey vultures, they are out for road kill so no worry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010

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