Darn HAWK!! List your best deterrents other than just covering whole pasture...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sarahandbray, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have our first flock of chickens ever--and are loving being chicken owners! Chickens are 7-weeks old and have been out in their coop for 2 weeks. They have a 10'X10' coop, a fully covered 12'X8' chain link dog run (with chicken wire on top) and a 40'X40' electrified poultry netting pasture around the whole thing.

    We REALLY, REALLY want pastured chickens and were hoping to add another 164' section of PoultryNet fencing in the spring for them. The PoultryNet has successfully kept out all 4-legged animals, which is great, since we have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, etc., but a hawk got one of our Barred Rocks chicks yesterday.

    What can I do to keep them away? Would be willing to get other small animals to keep in the pen--guinea hens, small goats, etc., but am not sure if I want to get an outside Livestock Guardian Dog, though there is a Great Pyrenees rescue organization near me.

    Short of covering 1600sf with bird netting and making the whole set-up a pain to move, what else can I do?

    Sarah
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Large fully adult birds with roosters in the mix. A single game rooster is difficult to beat. Cover patches no more than 100 feet apart. Feeding stations near cover patches. An active dog that will press raptors that alarm birds. Not all dogs, even LGD's are effective against hawks as anti-hawk behavior is learned rather than instinctive. Strips of poultry netting can be used to deny hawks the low approach needed to avoid detection until last second. Avoid all female and chick / juvenile only flocks as they will be hawk bait. Avoid bantams and fluffy breeds with compromised ability to see (i.e. silkies and Polish).
     
  3. topdycke

    topdycke Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The hawks we have in this area are mostly Coopers and I could't picture those hauling off a fully grown LF Wyandotte hen but perhaps I am underestimating them...
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    They can do it but it will not be a regular occurrence.
     
  5. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!! OK, I have 43 7-week-old chicks. People are forever giving away full-grown roosters around here. Would it be a DISASTER to pick up a full-grown rooster off of Craigslist or a Poultry Swap (this Sunday, actually!) and keep it with these chicks? They're straight-run, so there's probably 20 roosters or so in the mix, but young. Would a full-grown Roo terrorize the little ones?

    I'll definitely put more cover out in the run--when we spied the hawk sitting on the dog run the first time a few days ago, it hadn't gotten any chicks. 30 had made it safely in the coop and 14 were around the corner huddling under a bush like little statues.

    We have all sorts of size chickens--from Pioneers/Dixie Rainbows who are GINORMOUS all the way down to Brown Leghorns and Welsummers who are small but FAST. Poor Barred Rocks boy...he was going to be re-homed anyway, but I still feel awful. The Barred Rocks boys are very precocious and brave--probably still out when the hawk came down.

    Pasture is ringed with big and small trees--thought that was great at first for dappled sunny and shaded areas...but not so much anymore...
    -s
     
  6. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder if I tied my very active, very vocal Wheaten Terrier on a runner just outside the chicken pen--would that deter a hawk? I guess he could be down there if I take off his electric collar--very shaded, etc. Think that would be of use? He himself would chase the chickens if he were in with them, but maybe he would also bark at a hawk or at least be a big, fluffy carnivore presence in the area...
    -s
     
  7. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wonder what kind of hawk it is...going to put my zoom lens on this afternoon and see if I can get a pic of it. It isn't a big, huge hawk--looked like maybe 12-14" tall when it was sitting and scoping out the pen the other day. Might have said some swear words at it as I scared it away...we live right next to a big area that the town brushogs and they just mowed it down the other day...you would think these hawks would be having a field day with the mice and bunnies! Guess everything loves chicken :(
    -S
     
  8. kayakfish

    kayakfish Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A Good Size DOG
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Quote: I agree with this. A good guardian dog also helps, though I don't have one myself.

    I credit my alert rooster brigade for never having any hawk losses though they scream around here every day and sometimes take half hearted dives. I also planted a lot of fast growing evergreens (leylands, rhododendrons) for cover.

    A hawk doesn't have to carry off a bird to kill it. He just dives, breaks the neck or back in the hit and starts eating on the ground.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014

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