Flock tested


8 Years
Jun 12, 2011
Granbury, Texas
I walked into our home office a little while ago and heard lead roo raising a fuss like he does when a hen will sound a distress call. I looked out the window and he was looking up and I could hear the crows calling. There was a crow sitting on a wire above where the rooster was so I just thought "Silly Roo, that's your friend". He was still sounding the alarm when I left the room ao I thought I'd just go out there and encourage the crow to find another roost.

When I turned the corner of the house and looked up at the crow, there... Not three feet from the crow, on the electrical pole, sat a large red-tailed hawk. It took off as I walked over there, followed by about six crows in hot pursuit (thanks guys!). I started calling chickens and almost all of them were hiding in the brush under where the hawk had roosted. The rest were already in the run.

I don't know for sure, but the hawk probably swooped on them while they were ranging in the pasture and they took cover in their favorite brush spot that they love to dust bathe in. I got them all back into the covered run and closed them in for the day, three of them (understandably) needed more convincing to leave the cover of the brush
. They seemed glad enough after I got them all in there, and that's a first! They usually raise heck if I close them up during the day. Odd thing is that I had seen a hawk dead on the road very close to our house two days ago and thought to myself that it would be one less to worry about.

Don't really know if this is the flock's first encounter but glad they came through it unscathed.
I watch and listen for the crows and blue jays. I see either busy in the yard and I know somewhere close is a hawk. Even without leaves I find it hard to *see* the hawk.
Yes-- it really pays to learn the different vocalizations of the local crows and jays. I can tell when they are just communicating with one another vs. agitated over a predator. The crows have always alerted me when there is a predator nearby-- from a hawk to a cat. Crows and jays have "saved" my flock from possible attack at least 5 times in the last few months, by either driving the bird of prey away or by alerting me to its presence so I could get the flock to safety.
I agree with all of you, also good to recognize the different calls of your flock. Thankfully, we have tons of crows here BUT that also means that you hear them calling pretty much all of the time. They LOVE to peck through horse manure for oats and will argue over it
. We also had a crow nest and babies this past spring.

We regularly have hawks too, but they are usually roosting on some highline towers or flying when I see them. I know it's a risk, and had wondered if the roosters would do their jobs, and wondered what the silly hens would do. There's not much cover in the pasture areas that are closest to the house and coops but the flock loves to go out there and give the crows some competition for the horse poo piles. The hens look like their just "laaalalalalaaaah, I'm just eating oats out here. Oooh look, there's a big bug!!! Hawks???? Noooo, no hawks here". Lol, I wish I could have been outside to see how it all went down.

It's s'posed to rain here pretty much all day tomorrow so we'll see if the hawks are flying or if the gang spends much time outside of the run. It's mostly covered so they may stay in there more depending on how heavy the rain is.
I lost a hen last week. Most likely a Hawk. Something scattered my flock I found my Rooster and one hen a block away. Looked and looked but was still two short. One must have had a good hiding place and returned the next day. The youngest hen did not make it.
Looks like I need to hatch out some more in the spring.
I keep my ears tuned for mocking birds, jays and grackles because when they start bet your bottom dollar something is there.
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