Coons and hawks?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChocolateMouse, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,168
    663
    221
    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    Hi! What are the best deterrants for coons and hawks from your animals?

    I have some CX chickens in a small 2"X4" welded wire tractor. This is behind a 6' wood fence. The birds are NOT bright and stick their heads out to look for food even when my dogs are around, making them pretty vulnerable. I can't see them doing any different with any other animals.

    This morning I woke up to a bird at the edge of the tractor sans-head. There was a HUGE what I think was a rough-legged hawk standing next to the tractor chowing down. Whatever it was it was more than a foot tall with feathered, spotted legs and was not an owl or a buzzard. I sent my dog out to chase it off, but I picked the slower more obedient dog less prey-driven pooch for it and she didn't manage to catch it much to my dismay. She barely even gave chase. Next time I'm bringing out my murderous Husky. She's like lightning on the draw.

    However, that being said, the site of the kill seemed more remisicent of a coon to me?

    Also we've had baby rabbits disappear without a trace from locked cages near the ground outside. No fur, no blood, nothing.

    What would be the best back-yard deterrant for either predator? I'm not sure I'm allowed to set out traps, definitely not allowed to kill them. (It's "Wildlife" to these people. Mind you, there's about 10 dogs on the street that are 10lbs or less at risk....) I'd like to stop them at the 6' fence.

    I'll be making some changes to my tractor in any case. Tighter wire around the bottom especially!
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  2. turtleguy

    turtleguy Out Of The Brooder

    17
    0
    24
    Jul 20, 2013
    Georgia
    Yea I think smaller spaced hardware cloth would do the trick. That bird could have been a vulture or other scavenger, vultures tend to be a bit bulkier (and clumsier) than many hawks.
    I got the same problem in my area, plenty of coons, possums, hawks, coyotes,(and the frequent but occasional neighbors' dog or cat), shooting them is illegal. I don't know anything about guns but I thought of getting a bb gun just to teach 'em a lesson, and I think I will. Electric wire would also be an option. But in my case, I could only use it at night, because my siblings spend lots of time in the backyard especially near the chickens.
    As for The Case of the Missing Rabbits, too mysterious for me. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,650
    187
    186
    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    In most cases it is not illegal to shoot anything which is attacking your livestock, other than birds of prey of course. There may be city ordinances against firearms but I say you still have the right to protect your animals. Often times in a urban environment it may be easier to go with a tighter fence than eradicating the murderer. turtleguys suggestion of hardware cloth around your tractor is your best bet. It will prevent the birds from sticking their head out.
     
  4. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,168
    663
    221
    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    No, this is a pair of rough-legged hawks. I just spent the last hour watching them watch me from the trees and I got a really good look at them. It looks like it could be a breeding pair, one was smaller than the other so probably male/female. They are HUGE birds! They dived the tractor about 3X's when I had my back turned, but it's under a tall bush so it's hard for them to reach. I put up some temporary barriers and next time I see the little devils I'm releasing my husky. They finally flew off, but you better believe I'm gonna try to have my dog "conveniently" walk outside off-leash when one of them shows up next.

    I'm also worried about my laying hens. They are under trees with hiding spots but they're scared to come out right now because of these birds. They are bigger than my Australorps. They do not have a tractor; they have a pen. And they could be killed if a hawk decided it needs a snack that badly.

    Maybe I'll also bring out my bow and arrow. >P I also don't do guns, but I'm not a bad shot with a long bow...! I bet having a blunt-tip arrow hit them would make them reconsider coming 'round here if having tail feathers chomped off by my dog doesn't.

    Electric wire is illegal here. Suburb.

    The upside to this is I got to skin and gut a chicken for the first time. :p Never done that before. Good practice for when I process the other 12... Assuming they make it that long!
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  5. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,042
    62
    221
    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    If you allow your hens to free range hiding under trees will not save them, pure myth. If this were the case birds of prey would have disappeared a very very long time ago. There natural prey tries to hide from them as well so....expect losses eventually.

    As far as the tractor you will definitely have to go with a smaller gage wire. One thing that will happen with birds in a confined space like a tractor is they will panic when approached by a predator and in that panic they will try to get out through a hole that we all know will not work. instinct takes over an they want out to try to escape the eyes of the predator and the predator will quickly grab it by the head and you have a dead chicken or headless dead chicken. I've seen this happen, not fun.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,168
    663
    221
    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    I did not say the trees WERE the hiding spots. I'm not a total ninny, thanks. :p

    They can hide under the rabbit hutch, in or under the coop, and in one of the several large cardboard boxes around their pen. They're never more than 5 feet from a hiding spot. But they spend most of their time under the trees, which does offer some, if minimal, protection, and their fence comes right up to the branches in many places which would make it hard for a bird with a 3ft wingspan to fit through. So the trees definitely offer some protection.
     
  7. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,042
    62
    221
    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    ChocolatMouse,

    They offer some protection, true. I just don't want you to be shocked, disappointed etc. if a hawk gets one of your chickens. If they are outside of a fully protected run (meaning ano on the run) and hawks are about predation is very possible.

    Go to You Tube and type in Hawk/Chicken and the very first video that should come up will be a hawk that lands on top of coop, flies to ground and then enters the coop like he built it and has a chicken dinner.

    I can't tell (obviously) how old your are or how much experience you have with chickens and those things that like to eat chicken but a hawk does not have to catch the chicken by swooping down and grabbing, they will land on the ground and hunt chickens from the ground.
     
  8. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,168
    663
    221
    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    Yes. Hence my inquiries for deterring predators. :p Duh.
     
  9. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,650
    187
    186
    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    I don't know how large your pen is for your layers, mine is about 48 by 12 assembled form chain link dog kennel sections, I live in the woods and figured sooner or later a hawk, or more likely, large owl was going to raise heck with my birds so I ordered a netting off of Amazon that works wonderfully for me, it is 25x50 feet of 2" square mesh netting, it is rather tough stuff like a mason's line string. it was around 34 dollars I believe. The also have 50x50 sections for slightly more money. I ran a small rope like clothesline across the center of the pen to hold the netting up in the center then I stretched the netting across and fastened it every few feet around the top with zip ties. I don't worry about any birds getting through that
     
  10. snowflake

    snowflake Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,834
    55
    231
    Aug 21, 2009
    Belding Michigan
    hardware cloth as mentioned is best around the tractor as coons will pull anything they can reach through(a little at a time) the heavy duty plastic netting over top of run is a must with hawks,owls,and eagles, it is surprisingly strong, had heavy snow stretch it down to the ground,still did not brake, electric fence works well when it is on, mine is also off daytime and last night I noticed a spot were something had tried to bite it, today all birds are staying in and fence on, I hope he tries to bite it today [​IMG]
    That said as mentioned it is illegal to shoot birds of pray so it is better to keep your birds confined in a safe place till the hawks get tiered of waiting for the easy meal and go hunt somewhere else
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by