Free range and hawks, still unsue on the best preventative if any

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by meinvw, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. meinvw

    meinvw New Egg

    Oct 5, 2010
    Over the past year have lost 5 of my hens to hawks, well maybe one to something else but pretty sure the bulk is the hawks. Have seen threads on hanging cd's, owls, dogs, a ton of stuff. my situation is I have a 14x14 coup, and 14x18 wired and covered run. This is at my shop and i am not there all the time. I let them out to free range in the morning on my way to work and put them in at night (shop is not where I do my real job). Since i am not there most of the time getting a larger animal like a dog to watch over them is not an option. So how does the hanging of cd's work? Should i get some owls (plastic),roosters? or any other thoughts? the property is 3 acres and mostly open surrounded by woods and the ladies like to run all over the place. What to do other than accept this as a fact of life or????? Thanks!
  2. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I have no idea! Some years a hawk will kill many of my hens, then other years none. If you are not there much, the hawk will likely feast, may be feeding it's mate or babies. My thoughts are to have lots of extra chickens, but that gets expensive. Guineas, maybe that would work, they set up a huge alarm when a hawk is around. Maybe that is why I haven't lost any hens to hawks in several years? Hum, just thought of that. They are loud and very watchful, they even attack MY vehicle. As far as the CD's, just hang them by fishing line randomly all over the place so they catch the sun and reflect. Good luck, it is tough loosing birds like that. HenZ
  3. mamabahre

    mamabahre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2011
    hawks are our biggest predatory threat here (outside of neighborhood dogs, GRR)
    and while we haven't had an issue yet I am constantly on the look out when I am outside and the chicks are free-ranging (supervised only due to the dog issues).

    The CD thing I had never heard of until I came to BYC, my mom's property has a lot of posts just in the ground sticking straight up that makes it hard for the hawks to swoop in and then take off quickly again. They avoid the areas with the posts.
    If you have 3 acres though it obviously isn't practical to posts all over the place.
    I would just make sure your chickens have lots of good hiding places to get under in the event of an attack. I have noticed our chickens avoid the open areas in general anyway and yesterday when a turkey vulture was overhead they made a beeline for the bushes as soon as the shadow passed over...

    Hawks are tough, how much can you really do, you know?
  4. lotzahenz

    lotzahenz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 28, 2008
    Lexington, Kentucky
    I forgot to say WELCOME to BYC, it is a great place to find all kinds of information. [​IMG]
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Back when CD's against hawks were being talked about a lot here, there were plans for suspending them so they faced upward and wiggled in the breeze. If I were going to try it, I'd fasten them flat to the top of a fence post, as loosely as I dared, so breezes would wiggle them.
  6. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    I have pie pans on string that reflect and a decoy owl and it works for me so far.[​IMG]
  7. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Lots of bushes and hiding places will be a chicken's best friend while free ranging. If you don't have a rooster or guineas and you want one, they will help alert your hens. Guineas are very great for watching the sky and screaming.
  8. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Make friends with the crows and blue jays. They will harass hawks.
  9. knjinnm

    knjinnm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    Sandia Park, NM
    There is no real defense against hawks, they wait and watch and swoop in just when you think your covered. As pinky said "a lot of bushes but a lot of bushes means very little grass to forage on.
    Keep them in a covered run.
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    This time of year my local hawk population starts to ignore adult chickens. The hawks want smaller packages they can transport back to nest. Are you certain hawks are culprit? If near woods, then owls could be making runs during daylight, especially with on overcast days. Providing cover options is a good idea assuming predator does not feel comfortable pursuing chickens their as well. As Pinky indicated, sometimes roosters can provide a level of protection, especially when hens are primary target. DO you have restrictions on roosters?

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