Dang It... Lost Two Chickens to a Hawk

GreyhoundGuy

Chirping
Jul 9, 2017
25
28
79
Dripping Springs, TX
I came home from work last Thursday at 5:30pm and gave the hens their treats. All five came running up and said hi, chattering all the way. A bit later around 6:30pm, I went out to close them up for the night, but only three hens came up.

I searched the yard for the missing girls and found what I can only describe as an explosion of feathers. I texted a picture of the feathers to my wife, and she said it looked to be a hawk attack. We have seen a Cooper's Hawk flying in our area checking things out before (at which point we put our girls in the coop/run for a week or so until the hawk lost interest), but it's been ages since then.

I only found feathers of one hen. The other (different color variation) didn't leave any feathers. My fear is that she somehow jumped the fence or skittered through the fence during the commotion and simply wandered off.

We knew that when we decided to free range our chickens, this could be a possibility, but it still stinks now that it's happened.

So we're now in the process of revamping our coop and run.

Sigh.

-Joel
 
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Sapphire Jan

Chirping
Mar 10, 2018
22
31
74
So sorry to hear this. We, too, had lost a hen to a hawk in the past, and she was my favorite. We'v also lost one on the road, and our only rooster to a possum. It sucks, I know.
 

Deryk

Songster
Jun 12, 2017
98
121
116
Middle Tennessee
The feather explosion does sound like a hawk. I have lost several that way. If you didn't find a carcass for both the missing hens there is the chance that one could be hiding or run off and can't get back. I once had a mother hen that ended up on the other side of a river that borders my property. I saw her the next day and had to cross the river and catch her to get her back to what remained of her chicks. Not sure what the culprit was that attack, but I am guessing she flew across the river and her chicks probably drown.

During a hawk attack that I witnessed I had to find all the other chickens, about a dozen at that point. They were traumatized and would not leave the cover they had found. Some just layed flat and played dead until I picket them up and carried them to the coop.

My point is keep your ears and eyes open. If you have a lost hen you may get lucky.
 

Joeschooks

Just clucking around
Feb 7, 2018
3,170
10,503
752
Hampshire, UK
My Coop
My Coop
I’m so sorry for your loss. It always saddens me to read of predator attacks but hopefully it is of some comfort that your chickens had a good life and plenty of freedom.
 

Sparrowsong98

Songster
Jun 23, 2017
214
208
101
SW Pa
I agree. Fox attacks will leave those feather explosion spots, too, and more likely to make multiple killings in a short amount of time than a hawk. Foxes kill and stash.
I would jot say fox. A fox would attack at night, and from what they said, it was broad daylight. Also, I have had a hawk get my standard EE hen 10 feet off the ground before she twisted out of his talons. So a hawk will take a whole standard bird. The only thing that puzzles me is when the hawk attacked mine the whole flock screamed bloody murder and there ws no way I could not have heard them. From what they said there was no commotion. That is the only thing that screams fox to me. A fox kills it before it can make a sound.
 

Trish1974

Araucana enthusiast
5 Years
Mar 16, 2016
3,088
6,902
592
North Central IN
My Coop
My Coop
I would jot say fox. A fox would attack at night, and from what they said, it was broad daylight. Also, I have had a hawk get my standard EE hen 10 feet off the ground before she twisted out of his talons. So a hawk will take a whole standard bird. The only thing that puzzles me is when the hawk attacked mine the whole flock screamed bloody murder and there ws no way I could not have heard them. From what they said there was no commotion. That is the only thing that screams fox to me. A fox kills it before it can make a sound.
I witnessed several fox attacks last summer on my neighbor's free range flock. They happened between 9:00 am and noon each time. Fox can attack anytime, day or night.
 

BYC910

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Apr 13, 2015
10,339
18,909
866
Concord, Tn. the litte town no one knows about .
Sorry for you loss . Yes free ranging is nice but it makes it easy for predators . But they even get them when you think they can't .:barnieJust now came in from dispatching a possum . It killed a very nice young Gold Laced Wayndotte rooster:( I had held it out form the ones I sold last week . Possom had raised the door on the grow out gage I had it in I guess , and killed it last night . Carried it away and hid it in the corner of my kids old sand box. Just happened to see the possum coming in from the woods and go where it had the dead rooster hid . No more possum . Fox will hunt round the clock prefers early morning . Coyote will hunt round the clock . Hawks will hunt until it's to dark to see . Trail cameras can help you know what kind of predators are around . If you have chickens your going to lose chickens . Just a fact of chicken keeping . Hopefully the other missing ones are hiding and will turn up .:fl Little bit of lead rain takes care of a lot of different kinds of predators .;)
 

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