Favorite Hen Killed by hawk! Help!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sixbabychicks, Feb 22, 2016.

  1. sixbabychicks

    sixbabychicks New Egg

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    Feb 21, 2016
    Alabama, USA
    I know, I know. We shouldn't pick favorites, but one of my hens, Poachie was. She had the most gentle temperament of the flock, had a low cluck, got along with the others, and lastly, laid the biggest brown eggs.

    On the weekends, my father comes to stay in my house while my mother goes to her parents' house. They are divorced and even though it's for the better, it's still really tough for me and my siblings.

    On the superbowl weekend, I went to my school's Sadie Hawkins dance on Saturday. That night, my best friend spent the night and left early on Sunday to go to morning mass. Before she left, I took her outside to see my hens. I held them all and let her pet them until she had to go.

    After a while, my dad left. I stayed inside for the rest of the day watching the TV when my phone died. I walked across the room to plug it in when I saw something outside. I thought it was a rabbit. When I looked closer, I saw a freaky-big bird over a brown lump (a hawk). I thought, "Please let all the hens be alive." So I went outside and saw it was her. Poachie. I ran towards her and the hawk flew on the fence and up somewhere in the trees. Her body was intact but the flesh around her neck had been eaten away. I ran to check if the other hens were safe, and they were in their coop, God bless. I ran to them and I picked them up and took them inside away from harm.

    I ran inside and called my mom and told her what happened. I was hyperventilating on the phone and near the end of the call, I was wailing and screaming. I have never been this upset before about ANYTHING. I went back outside with a towel to cover Poachie up so the rest her body wouldn't be damaged. My mom and siblings came home (my siblings went to a birthday party on Saturday) and I told her all that happened.

    I have discovered that behind my house and around the cul-de-sac there was a family of hawks. A few times they have been close to the hens. I was in my room and I heard one of them clucking in distress. I bolted out the room and there it was- another hawk. I ran towards the hens and it flew away, and I locked their coop but made sure they had plenty of room, food, and drink. On a strict lookout for hawks. I heard that to kill them is illegal because they are endangered. What should I do!? There's a whole FAMILY of them!
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Sorry for your loss.

    IMO, it's the calmest most gentle birds that have lost their fear of predators that get picked up first.

    I've watched fox grab a calm, gentle orpington from the yard before she knew anything was behind her.
    I've had many flocks of Penedesencas and a rooster running with each. The roosters see the hawks long before they arrive, make a call that sends hens for cover and the roosters do battle with the hawk. Hawks don't win.
     
  3. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2015
    NC
    What kind of roosters? Mine are wimps (aka: EEs)
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Black Penedesencas, like the one in my avatar.

    I would think breeds like Minorca, White Face Black Spanish and Catalanas would be similar as are many of the larger game breeds.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 8, 2015
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    Thanks!!
     
  6. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    @sixbabychicks I am so very sorry for your loss. And even though we say those words automatically, please know that I mean it TRULY. It is so traumatic to come upon a scene like you did.

    I've had two coyote attacks on my flock in the last month. Our drought in California has been a game-changer and the predators are jumping over fences and walls and coming deep into our property in a way that has never happened before. I have seen two of my sweet hens being carried away by coyotes and I know how it completely jars your brain and freaks you out to witness something like that. I know the nausea that follows. And then the grief. And don't let anyone tell you "it was just a chicken", because it was a dear, small defenseless creature that you cared for and loved and you will never forget the feel of that bird's feathers and the sounds of its little clucks. My Silkie, Luna, always spoke as if she was asking a question. She was so sweet and so gentle and she deserved a much better end than she got, as I'm sure your Poachie did also.

    But just as your other hens will move on, you will also. Review the ways in which you can keep your birds safer, because once a predator has found a way in, it will continue to exploit the situation. If you have to keep your birds in the coop, then that's what you will have to do, because you don't want the situation I just experienced which is to think things will be okay and then lose another favored bird.

    Keep them safe. And allow yourself the sadness.
     
  7. CGilbert

    CGilbert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spirit Lake, ID
    Depending upon the size of your run, putting up a soccer netting on the run might work.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/111840172357?ul_noapp=true&chn=ps&lpid=82

    There's an example.
    They seem to be relatively inexpensive. Just some sort of netting on top of the run with supports to hold it up. If they free-range, you may want to invest in a run, just to keep them safe.
     

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