Cooper's Hawk - will it eat a full grown chicken?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Rusty's Ranch, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Rusty's Ranch

    Rusty's Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    So Cal
    We seem to have a cooper's hawk in the neighborhood. It swooped down over the backyard (right over our 2 RIR's), then flew up over the fence and into the yard behind us. I've read that's how they hunt - flying low then swooping up over something to catch their prey by surprise.

    I'm not sure if the hawk was after my girls and changed it's mind because hubby and I were in the yard, or if it was after something in the yard behind us. Do I need to be concerned? Will a cooper's hawk go after a grown chicken? Do hawks hunt any particular time of day - or is it an all day kinda thing.

    I don't want to have to coop the girls up in their run, but will do what's necessary to keep them safe (protests and all).
  2. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    Cooper have taken my pheasant full grown, They stay away from my grown peafowl.

    Know they will taken the lighter breeds chickens, so would think your RIR maybe at risk.

    Cooper feed anytime during the day, their main prey are birds.
  3. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    i just went and looked up your hawk and it eats small rabbits.. lizards. squirrles.. i don't know if it would do a whole grown chicken. but they are known to be strong flyers who can chase prey through vegetation... gl..
  4. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    I have seen a Cooper's hawk take a large full grown pigeon, so I expect they might take smaller chickens, but it would seem to me that a 6 lb chicken would be beyond it's capabilities.
  5. Hazelnut

    Hazelnut Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2009
    At a local farm I buy veggies from, the farmer said they lose a few full grown hens from Cooper hawks on a regular basis. Apparently they are very bold and can swoop in and grab a hen right in front of you. I don't think they can carry it off, but they can certainly kill a large breed chicken. I would be very cautious!!
  6. Mrs. Glassman

    Mrs. Glassman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2009
    Cedartown, Georgia
    I've had a Cooper's Hawk take a full grown OEG roo right out of my back yard while I was watching from the window.

    The roo started freaking out & that's what made me look, then it swooped down & it was like they were locked up in a ball for a moment, then it flew away with my roo. I was too stunned to move & it all happned so fast.
  7. Rusty's Ranch

    Rusty's Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    So Cal
    Thanks for the feedback. We've been letting the girls free range to keep them quiet, but I'd rather have them a little peeved than dead.

    Back to the run for them!! Hopefully the neighbors will be understanding.

    Thanks again [​IMG]
  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I lost a full grown Wyandotte hen to a Cooper's hawk this spring. She survived the initial attack, but took two months to heal from her devastating wounds. By the time she healed, her flock would not accept her back. She was much changed in appearance- no feathers would re-grow on her entire back, sides and tail, so she had to be re-homed.

    I don't know if they will eat a full grown chicken, but I can say from personal experience that they will try. The end result is pretty horrific. It's a wonder that my hen even survived the attack. She was flayed by that little bugger. The part that kills me is that the hawk was literally half her size.
  9. Rusty's Ranch

    Rusty's Ranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    So Cal
    CMV, I'm sorry that happened to you. Well, I've been warned. Seems I've been careless and am lucky nothing bad has happened yet. They will have to get used to be penned up until I can sit with them in the afternoons.
  10. geosheets

    geosheets Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2009
    I have lots of Coopers hawks... no chickens though. Last year I lost two juvenile mallards to the hawks but the ducks were too big for them to fly away with. They killed them and ate them in the yard. Once the rest of the mallards were full grown, the hawks no longer bothered them... I think they were just too big for the hawks. This year I have hung some reflective balls and CD's around the yard and haven't had one land in the yard this year. They land in my trees but don't come down to the ground like they did last year so I'm hoping the reflective things are working.

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