Do Hawks go after Large chickens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by schnebbles, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. schnebbles

    schnebbles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm guessing no. (I don't have chickens yet). I am still in my stage of picking what chickens I want. After reading about hawks, I'm now wondering if I should just stick with larger chickens.

    I was planning on a run, but let them out when I'm home but I wouldn't always be outside.

    Initially I wanted all bantams, but after reading this I am reconsidering.

    I'm getting 2 large cochins that I know of. I only want my birds as pets, nothing else so I'm only taking into consideration their cold hardiness, friendliness and now the predator factor.

    thanks!

    I went to a poultry show yesterday so I got to see many breeds in person and I was totally in chicken heaven! I had so much fun.

    Kathy
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Some hawks will go after larger chickens, possibly up to 10 lb varieties. My experience is limited to smaller (<7 lb) where red-tailed and ferruginous hawks will both go after those and make kill. Nonetheless hawks seem to target smaller chickens, especially with something like a Coopers hawk which will generally try for chicks and small juveniles. As soon as losses to hawks considered to be likely, simply staying away from bantams and other highly modified breeds like Polish and silkies is advised. I like roosters in flock and some can be very effective against hawks. Hen only flocks do not fair as well against hawks. Even with larger size and roosters, over time losses will be realized but the rate of loss can be kept down to acceptable levels. Size does seem to play a role with owls but a greathorned owl will take on even a turkey even though smaller birds will be taken first.
     
  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree size is a factor to a degree, the predator will usually pick out the smallest, weakest, therefore easiest meal. However I won't let that dictate my breed of chickens, I get what I like, I like to have some banties, it just comes down to how you keep them, I assume you will have some sort of coop and run setup? It isn't hard to hawkproof a run unless you have a massive run then it can obvioulsy get expensive. I prefer to have a good secure run and allow the birds into my fenced yard to range if someone can be home to keep an eye out or if the dogs can be out with them. Also I prefer to keep a rooster or 2 if I get some whos tempers I can deal with and who don't fight eachother or rough up the hens. I don't really mind if they attack the dogs, it keeps them in line, lol. Some have the opinion that just having 1 large rooster like a jersey giant in the flock will ward off some hawks but that would completely depend on the particular hawk and whether or not the big bird intimidated it, and probably wouldn't deter a great horned owl at all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  4. schnebbles

    schnebbles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    owls...didn't think of them either.

    Yes, I plan on a run. The 2 standard cochins are roosters. Might not be able to keep both though, they live together currently.

    No dog either :(
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    If zero losses is goal, then invest more in the covered run and forego free-ranging. You can also manage available cover making so chickens have a better chance against hawk. With respect to owls, you can make their job more difficult by managing access to roost at night so opening are closed once chickens on roost. Owls for me are biggest problem even though they seldom get their chicken. The owl comes in and flushes chickens from roost where owl would normally catch chicken on ground (I have watched several times). My dog stops that by standing over chicken walking about on ground and looking up at owl. They (dog and owl) will stare at each from only 10 feet apart but owl does not push issue since dog would likely kill even great-horned owl with single chomp. This does not stop owl from knocking every chicken of roost in a given tree which is the ongoing problem. Owl knocks birds down causing commotion and an hour or so later red fox comes, apparently in response to commotion, and tries for birds on ground. Dog has to work to prevent that.
     
  6. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well dogs aren't always a good idea anyways, it takes time to work with a dog to keep it from killing the chickens unless you are lucky and get a dog who just has no interest in them, many dogs don't mean to kill them but are simply playing too rough with them. If you are doing a run then hawks and owls shouldn't be a problem, just cover the run with netting or chicken wire or something, some people even have luck with runing a web of fishing line over the top or having streamers dangling in the wind, stuff like that set up properly will deter birds, it makes them think there is an obstacle in their way of flying directly into the run, however I prefer netting or wire as an actual barrier
     
  7. NicInNC

    NicInNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    YES. We've lost 2 large chickens to hawks. The hawks killed them as we were right outside with them. Some hawks have no fear whatsoever. They swooped down and got them straight in their necks. :(
     
  8. schnebbles

    schnebbles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    wow. That would be horrible to see :( I just found a really nice coop on craigslist, gotta see if I can grab it before it sells.
     
  9. NicInNC

    NicInNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It was horrible. My husband had been outside working and the hawk kept sitting on the neighbors fence and he would shoo it off. When he was on the other side of the yard, it attacked. It was over almost instantly. It never even took the chicken. Just flew down, broke its neck (it didn't decapitate it) and continued to hang around (I guess it was hoping to get a meal out of it, but DH buried it). It happened again months later.

    Same thing happened to my neighbor and her daughter actually grabbed the chicken from the hawk but it was already dead. I've heard their beaks are like razors. She's lucky it didn't take off her finger.
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    I have crows around me and they don't like the hawks and chase them away. Unless the crows are sitting on eggs. That's when I see a hawk.

    I like my Jersey Giants, by the way.
     

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