chicken supervision

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by eggsontoast, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. eggsontoast

    eggsontoast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 7, 2010
    North Atlanta suburbs
    I am in the process of having a coop built and acquiring my first chickens (3 hens). My backyard is fenced, but woody, and there are hawks around here. I'd like to let the chickens free range for at least a few hours a day...but am worried about a hawk swooping down and killing them. Do I need to worry about a hawk attack if my children are in the backyard while the chickens roam around? Are hawks that bold??! I don't want to put my new chickens in any danger if I can help it, plus I think it would really upset my kids if they were to witness one of their new pets being attacked.
  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    My first hawk attack occurred when my toddler, myself and 2 dogs were less than 50 feet away from the birds. We never heard a thing or saw a thing until I found the feathers. I still free range, but my flock is much larger now, so a loss is not nearly as devastating as when I only had a few birds. Free ranging always carries risk, but supervising your birds while they are out and about should alleviate some of those risks. Just being outside and not paying active attention the birds sometimes isn't good enough, though.

    Good luck.
  3. TheSitcomGirls

    TheSitcomGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 17, 2010
    We have many, many hawks around here (Red-tailed and Coopers). They are afraid of me....I can't get within 100 ft of a tree they are in without them flying away. But I can't say if yours are that afraid of people.

    I did have a red-tailed hawk swoop down within 100 feet of my 90 pound dog and grab something in the pasture. I think it was a baby turkey. My dog chased it off but it didn't drop whatever it had caught. They are pretty bold.

    We have two Turkey Vultures that circle our property every day for a few hours. They fly at about the same time every day (~10 - 1). They do not get along with red-tailed hawks and I have never seen a hawk about when they are flying.

    Turkey Vultures don't bother the chickens at all. If you have Turkey Vultures and you can figure out what time they are flying, it would be safer to have your chickens out then.

    My chickens are allowed out to free range all day but have access to their coop and an area of hopefully hawk proof cover. I always see them out in their free range area when the Turkey Vultures are flying. Other times they do go inside. Possibly they have figured out the time of day when the hawks hunt and know it is not safe to be out and about.
  4. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    I had a hawk try to get a chicken when I was no more than 8' away watching her. Had another that tried twice and I was close to them raking leaves. Both attacks failed.
  5. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    Our hawk attacked while I was about 30 feet away locking the gate. Luckily the bird netting was loose,so instead of breaking through the hawk just pushed it to the ground. There was enough space along the fence line for my hens to get away,and my ds was yelling enough to make the hawk fly.

    I can't see the hawk,but I hear it daily.I am sure even if I am right next to the hens the hawk will attack if it is hungry enough. I stand with my hens,but boy is that getting old real fast in the cold.I spend my time out there thinking about the secure run I will built next summer!!
  6. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    The local hawks are fearless, but apparently well fed. We have a lot of turkey vultures here and they have never threatened my flock, although they once perched nearby to sun themselves.

    My favorite hawk defense is the trio of crows that live here. They steal dog food and chase off hawks. When the crows give their war cry the chickens hide. I guess they recognize the hawk alert.

    Today I saw two hawks and one turkey vulture flying around. They might have been at different altitudes, but it makes me wonder how effective turkey vultures are at chasing off hawks.

    In any case, my rooster keeps the flock under cover when there are hawks about. I maintain air and ground defenses to make my flock an undesirable choice for predation.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010

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