Do Hawks go after full grown chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by keltown, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. keltown

    keltown Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2016
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    Recently there have been 2 active hawks near my yard. The girls are in a covered run but I like to let them free range. I only let them out when I am out there. The hawks have been screaming back and forth for a couple of weeks. They do land in trees nearby. I think they are protecting their territory. My husband doesn't think they would bother with the chickens when we have so many open fields and a vineyard around to hunt in. Anyone have any thoughts? How to dissuade them? One was pretty close today and I walked right up to where it was sitting in a tree and he flew away. It's unnerving to hear them scream but I figure they won't be hunting if they are screaming?? It think it's a red shouldered hawk. My girls are about 9 mos., Americaunas, Rhode Islands and Brahma. No rooster, but I am within 10' of them when they are outside.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Before investing a lot in the discussion more info needed. How and large are chickens? Any standard size adult roosters? What species of hawk involved?
     
  3. keltown

    keltown Out Of The Brooder

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    I just updated the post. Thanks for the question.
     
  4. Millworker26

    Millworker26 Out Of The Brooder

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    By no measure do I have any credible experience specific to your question, so take this as my opinion. Chicken hawk species are red tails, Cooper, and red shouldered hawks. So the hawks in your vicinity will attack chickens if given the right circumstances. They may not be able to steal of with a full grown chicken, but would rather try to eat it on the ground. What may be most relevant to your question is what sort of cover is available to your birds to hide, and or to complicate a dive attack from the hawk. Your presence in the area is probably not a long term solution, with a hawk that strikes prey at over 100 mph bad stuff would happen before you even knew it.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am betting the hawks are actually young of year / juveniles that fledged back in May. They are not likely to take on anything of size until fall and by that time they will have left your area. If Red-Shouldered Hawk then they are in my experience not likely to target adult chickens even if they are bantams. Red-shouldered are much less likely to target larger birds when compared to the slightly larger Red-tailed Hawk and the slightly smaller Coopers Hawk. This time of year even the larger female Coopers hawk are not likely to go after anything bigger than a half-grown chicken although in fall and winter the female Coopers hawk will take in an adult hen or juvenile. Red-tailed Hawks are harder to predict although they cause me less trouble than even the Coopers Hawks when I have fully adult roosters and ample cover. The chickens are all scared of hawks above although roosters defending harem / offspring will turn tables on hawk that comes down onto ground and does not already have rooster in his talons. In my setting that is OK because hawks seem to target smaller chickens leaving the rooster free to attack.


    If you are present and moving about the hawk will be less likely to attack. If it does then engage it by walking into its flight path or standing over if it does grapple a chicken. In the 40+ years I have had chickens I have had hawks come in only a couple of times while I was present and they are easy to chase off. They also must struggle for some time with an adult chicken before making kill. See such is not a frequent occurrence.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  6. 8MerryHens

    8MerryHens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just lost a 16 week old Easter Egger to a hawk today, so she was pretty good size already. The chickens were free ranging (they have a lot of cover - bushes, trees, etc.), I found the hawk in the run with her, so it must have went in after the chicken (the run is under the coop and only a lower door was open). I love to let them free range but guess that will be restricted from now on to when I can be with them.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    16 week old easter egger is juvenile and only about 1/3 to 1/2 mature weight so easy pickins and size I say makes them vulnerable.
     
  8. Wickedchicken6

    Wickedchicken6 No Rest For The WicKed Premium Member

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    I haven't had a loss to a hawk yet but we have a ton of hawks, mostly a new type that I'm not familiar with.
    We used to have mostly red tails...and we're getting to have quite a few bald eagles.
    Last year when I was combining it was nothing to see 18 hawks around me in the field watching for rodents.
    It was kind of freaky, I've never seen that many in the fields before. (25 years of combining)
    Hawks are fantastic rodent control, but I don't want them in the yard.
    I've bought 8 mirrored disco balls from the dollar store. (yes, you're reading this correctly...[​IMG])
    I've hung them on three foot stakes strategically placed around the yard.
    Darn things are always flashing and I think someone's driving in the yard all the time...but so far so good.
    I haven't seen a hawk here to date and the flashing managed to keep the cliff swallows from building nests on the house.
    I read somewhere to put up reflective tape to keep birds away...but I think the bright, random flashes from the mirror balls is one step better.

    Oh, I should've noted, my birds are free range. Lol...oops!
    The mirror balls do not keep foxes away unfortunately. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Does new type fly a lot and appear solid gray?
     
  10. Wickedchicken6

    Wickedchicken6 No Rest For The WicKed Premium Member

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    They don't fly at all. They just sit there in the trees...watching. Kinda like a horror movie...lol.
    If I remember correctly, they appear to be a dark gray. Very ominous looking.
    If they fly, they're above the cab and I don't see them.
    I'm always worried about the bald eagles...so huge.
    Didn't have any 'til about 10 years ago.
     

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