First hawk scare!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LivingLocal, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. LivingLocal

    LivingLocal Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2009
    We're raising 5 Ancona hens (20 weeks now) in a suburban subdivision of sorts that is surrounded by woods. My husband was out working in the garage ~15 ft. from the free ranging chickens (I let them out for 1-2 hours before sunset). He said a small hawk swooped in on the flock. (We have 10 ft. patch of woods between each of our side neighbors). I rushed out and saw 4 hens and looked up and saw the fifth spooked but seemingly ok. The four huddled in a thick part of the woods.

    My daughter, husband and I then herded the hens back into their run for the rest of the evening. It's a 10'x6' run with bird netting on top. Their coop is very secure.

    So, this being my first predator scare, what would you do? My initial thought is to not let them free range before sunset anymore. We're heading into the winter anyway. Thoughts?
     
  2. LarryPQ

    LarryPQ Easter Hatch!!

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    The first scare is always the worst. Keeping them locked up may be an option for you, or it may not.

    The bird netting will not stop a hawk, just slow it down. Hopefully, it will slow down enough to let your chooks hide somewhere more secure.
     
  3. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Hawks can strike at any time of day and then at night ... owls! [​IMG]

    You always run that risk with free-ranging and short of always standing with your birds brandishing a broom, you may have an occasional loss to a hawk.

    Maybe provide some cover for your hens like a loose brush pile, tarps or netting. If you can keep roosters, a roo may help keep a lookout and even fight the hawk to protect the hens.

    Our chicken run is uncovered, but we have trees in the run and hawks can't get a good dive into the run. In the summer, we occasionally hear them shrieking in frustration that they can't get a chicken dinner.
     
  4. LivingLocal

    LivingLocal Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 10, 2009
    Sadly can't have any roosters. Being in a subdivision etc, not sure if after this attack it's worth it to free range right now. Maybe I should take up sprouting and give that a go. Argh! The chickens really loved getting out for that hour (and they were quite vocal that it was time for me to come let them out)!

    This is the coop at the back by the fence. I suppose we should hardware cloth the top instead of the bird netting (no hawk attacks at/in the coop...yet).
    [​IMG]
     
  5. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

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    Maybe put some pallets up on cinder blocks for shade and cover so the chickens have somewhere to hide.

    We had a brush pile for our chickens when their run was kinda out in the open and they would hide in it if there was a hawk overhead
     
  6. Crabman

    Crabman Out Of The Brooder

    Quote:"bird netting will not stop a hawk" I can vouch for that. I had bird netting on top of our run and a Redtail went right through it nailing one of our hens. I have since installed wire cloth.
     
  7. Lippincott'sHomegrown

    Lippincott'sHomegrown Out Of The Brooder

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    I lost a Production Red laying hen to a hawk yesterday [​IMG]
     

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