falcon attack

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by aswartzalso, Jan 1, 2015.

  1. aswartzalso

    aswartzalso Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I lost a beloved hen to a falcon attack. He had been spying on us lately and Polly being a big girl got trapped in a bad place. Falcon was back again today. All girls are up and miserable but safe. I hope to get this falcon... on my to do list for 2015. I know there are risks to free ranging but I wasn't prepared for losing one of my girls. Any suggestions? I plan on keeping girls caged unless I am outside for now.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Where do you live and what are your plans for the falcon?
    Also, what breeds chickens do you have?
    I'm assuming there's no rooster with them.

    My birds free range most of the time. If I have a flock of meat birds or breeds that aren't wary or with good vision, hawks will get some.
    If I have a good rooster with a flock of very wary birds, I never lose any.

    You may have to put a roof or at least bird netting on their run.

    Lots of shrubbery or brush to hide under helps a lot. But if the birds are silkies, polish, houdans, etc. they don't know when to go hide.
     
  3. Cluckies

    Cluckies Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    So sorry for your loss. [​IMG] Yes, I only free range mine when i'm out there, which averages about 3 hours a day in the summer. sometimes longer on weekends if i'm out doing stuff around the area. Many hawks, eagles, owls here.

    <--- as you can see from the photo on the left, not a whole lot of cover around right now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What country do you live in?
    Illegal to do anything to a bird of prey in the US...very heavy fines if you get caught.
     
  5. chixmaidservice

    chixmaidservice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think I also was vandalized by a falcon on New Years eve. Very small, swift raptor, all grey and white striped. All of the hawks I usually see here in Ohio are larger and usually brown and white feathered. I have a very narrow chain link gate that lets my hens out from their coop/ netted run area into my fenced back yard for free ranging. This raptor flew in through this gate ( think tye fighter chase scene from Star Wars) and killed my feathered shank FCM and a pioneer pullet. I startled him (and he, me) away from his "breakfast" when I went out to collect eggs about 10Am. I got a real good look at him, as he forgot to use the gate and ended up stuck in my bird netting. I was too afraid to grab that writhing mass of talon and beak and he eventually worked himself out the bottom of the net. Thankfully he was light enough to not rip it. This morning I let the girls out of coop at dawn as usual, leaving the gate secured and went back to bed as it is a holiday. Looked out at hen run an hour later and saw no activity- bad sign- so rushed back out to see all hens huddled in corner farthest from gate, under nest boxes and Mr. Falcon pacing the ground just outside the gate! Obviously once you find a "good restaurant" you go back day after day. Girls will be on lockdown in run for several days till Mr. F. finds somewhere else to dine. I have no rooster- this raptor was size of small crow- rooster probably could of taken him on in decently fair fight. More to ponder as I consider spring additions to flock.
     
  6. aswartzalso

    aswartzalso Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have a rooster. My girls had been hiding from this bird pretty good since it arrived last fall. The crows go crazy cawing and my hens would seek cover until bird left. I have seen the bird land in my mascanthus grasses and run after my hens. I guess he wasn't hungry enough to pursue them. He sits in trees near our fence line and watches. I have a friend who is a bird man. I told him of this bird who he thought might be a coopers hawk said probably wouldn't get my bigger birds. But I think it is a persistence falcon. Small bird. Polly was a white new hampshire. A good eight pound hen. Very docile. Must have seperated from the others and was caught between our property fence and a brush pile. I have been planting lots of bushes around my property for cover. Right now my plan is they will stay in covered run for a while. They had been free ranging a half acre fenced yard and I locked them in their house at night. So they aren't happy right now.
     
  7. aswartzalso

    aswartzalso Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will talk with my falconer to see if he can help me catch this bird......
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Could also be a Kestrel.
    Small hawks will kill and eat in place. Larger hawks will carry off to eat in private.
    Any hawk, whether an accipiter or buteo can and will take chickens when hungry.
    You still didn't say where you live - what state. That will determine what it could have been.
     
  9. aswartzalso

    aswartzalso Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Maryland.
     
  10. chixmaidservice

    chixmaidservice Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, I could not find a persistence falcon in any of my bird books- but if I had to name the falcon hunting my hens- persistent would be an excellent choice. He returned to my coop 3x (that I saw) on New years Day. Did not notice him at all today, so am crossing fingers that securing coop against him has worked. Will continue to keep hens confined under netting until ??? Anyone have any ideas on how long he will continue "checking for reservations"? Wish he would concentrate on all the squirrels that are getting fat snacking on layer crumbles.
     

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