Dead Hen - Hawk?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Bubba1, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. Bubba1

    Bubba1 Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    22
    May 11, 2008
    I lost my first chicken today. Let them out of the run this morning and left for a short time. When I came back, I didn't see any of them. I checked the coop and saw most of them inside, and then noticed 4 under a bush that ran toward me when they saw me. Then, on the outside of the run, I noticed the dead hen.

    I checked her out and it looks like her head was missing and there was a gash in her side. Feathers everywhere. I buried her. She was under some trees behind the coop.

    Am I right to guess it was a hawk? They seemed to be hiding from something above, and the feathers are consistent with what I have seen when hawks attack doves. Maybe the hen was too heavy? She was about 11 weeks old. Is that too early to let them out, or can I never do so?
     
  2. kcallis

    kcallis Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    Oct 20, 2008
    Florida
    I'm new at the chicken thing too. but I just lost my first two birds to a hawk last week and they were 7 months old. The hawk attacked two of them while I was out and found the hen with a large gash on her back and feathers everywhere. No scratch marks, and the neck was not broken, so its not consistent with a mammalian predator I've hard that Hawks only attack young chickens, however I have to disagree from this attack on my adult hens. I have yet to figure out how to get rid of the Hawk, since I let my girls run around the back yard for most of the day. Good Luck!
     
  3. Bubba1

    Bubba1 Out Of The Brooder

    13
    0
    22
    May 11, 2008
    I confirmed that it was a hawk, since I saw it digging around the feathers. It flew up on a branch as I approached, and then swooped away. Next time I will be armed.
     
  4. kcallis

    kcallis Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    Oct 20, 2008
    Florida
    Keep in mind that Hawks are protected under the endangered species act, so you cannot physically hurt them. My suggestion is a scare tactic. Every time you see the hawk make lots of noise and lots of movement. Try to teach it that your yard does is not a save place to hunt.
     
  5. dacjohns

    dacjohns People Cracker Upper

    As was mentioned previously, hawks are federally protected ( I don't think it is the endangered species act, they are protected under other acts to include migratory species).

    This is an open forum, you never know who is reading it. Please do not do anything illegal. If you do, do not announce it here.
     
  6. SandraMort

    SandraMort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2008
    ny
    I lost two to hawks this week. I'm torn -- I really want to range the birds, but I want them to live, too!
     
  7. kcallis

    kcallis Out Of The Brooder

    37
    0
    32
    Oct 20, 2008
    Florida
    My understanding is that Hawks tend to hunt most between 9am-1pm. You could try keeping your birds in a run or tractor during these hours and let them range in the early evening. They will still get their exercise, and be able to eat the tasty things in the yard, but have a better chance of being protected from the Hawk. My girls don't like being cooped up, but sometimes, at least while the Hawk is around, I have to do what is best for them.
     
  8. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

    919
    0
    149
    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    I lost my first to a hawk yesterday. My chickens free range and are very wary of hawks, additionally we have a host of corvids in the neighborhood that alert everyone to the presence of a hawk or other predator...good birds even if they are noisy. This particular hen had a brood of 8 that are still young enough to fit through the fence and forage freely in the wider woods. I usually put mamma over the fence to forage with them, but was gone yesterday afternoon. When she can't be with them she snuggles up at the fence near where they are, unfortunately yesterday it was in an open area. I knew we'd loose one to a hawk eventually. It was able to strew feathers around, pull her head mostly off and eviscerate her upper chest cavity before the dogs chased it off (they actually protect the chicken and didn't touch the carcass once the hawk was gone). The rest of the flock hid in their woods access and yelled up a storm until I arrived home and presented myself out in the yard. I had to go into the woods to get them, they would not come out at first. Then they all went and inspected the remaining feather pile (I cleaned everything else up before they could get to it).
    The teens that belonged to this hen are a bit distraught this morning, but are now ranging with the rest of the flock and spent last night on the roosts even though I provided a heat light in the coop near where they typically nest with their mom at night. [​IMG] Luckily they are old enough (7 weeks) that I don't have to worry about them too much.
    Funny, I found one of the 3 weekers up on the roosts with the teens this morning....dreams of being like its bigger sibs.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by