Have to give them credit...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SmittenChicken, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was in the coop just now when there was a huge commotion out in the run and all of my 19 week old girls booked it into the coop, slamming into each other to try and get through the door. They all went into the far back corner of the coop and piled up together, a bunch of them were singing the egg song too (hadn't really heard it before!)
    I went outside and didn't see anything except a few geese flying overhead, so I figured they were just being chicken... until I went to leave, walked around the corner of the coop and saw what I think was a red-tailed hawk perched on the fence surrounding their run. I thought it was a chicken at first glance because it was about the same size (maybe a little larger), but then I looked at its face - and ran back to the coop to do a head count! Fortunately everyone made it inside and is fine, though pretty traumatized.
    I'm wondering if a hawk this size will harm my chickens? They normally have access to the (uncovered) run surrounding their coop during the day - will hawks follow chickens into a coop, or would my girls be safe as long as they can run inside? It's not really feasible to cover the run, we're renting our place right now and the landlord is sort of a PITA. I don't want to keep my girls cooped up, but I also don't want to open up a hawk buffet just as they're finally getting ready to earn their keep! We have a lot of rabbits, mice etc around here (though I haven't seen so many rabbits this week, come to think of it...) so I doubt this hawk is desperate for food. Would it help to keep the girls cooped up for a couple days? I'm thinking the hawk might find another place to hang out if it doesn't see chickens for a while... anyone have any experience with this?
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    The hawk will kill your chickens and eat them. I recommend you purchase netting from a home improvement store and cover your run with it to prevent the hawk from flying in to the pen. It's not that expensive, easy to put up and a good temporary solution that'll protect your chickens. The hawk WILL be back. Good luck.
     
  3. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Dawg,
    The fence around my coop is only about 5 ft high, so it will be a challenge to cover the top and get in/out. I'm thinking I'll have to run netting from the edge of the coop roof out to the fence line, that should hopefully be high enough near the gate that I can get in without crawling.
    What kind of netting should I get (plastic?) and how does everyone normally attach it? Could I just go around with a staple gun on the edge of the coop roof?
    Also, I've noticed my 3 EEs flying out of the run to explore this past week - wasn't too bothered by it until the hawk showed up. I'm worried they might try to do this again with netting over the run and get caught, could that happen? For the meantime my poor girls are locked in the coop - and not happy about it, it's a beautiful day [​IMG]
    Thanks for the help!!
     
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, Red-tails are the ultimate "chicken hawk" and will harm your birds. It is best to cover the coop and close the door after them when they run inside whenever the hawk comes around.
     
  5. Luke13:34

    Luke13:34 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Along these lines, in addition to the netting, is there any way to scare the hawks away? I plan on covering my run, but we have a lot of red-tailed hawks in our area and I don't want them perching on the top of the run and drooling all over my chickies.
     
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Maybe you could buy one of those fake owls at a home improvement store in the garden section. You could put it up in a low hanging tree branch or something and make sure to move it around your yard in various places. I've read that doing that will deter hawks and other birds of prey.
     
  7. Slinkytoys

    Slinkytoys Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try tying some old CD disks so they will turn with the breeze. The shiny, holographic flashes will scare them away.
    Slinky
     
  8. Stonerowfarm

    Stonerowfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've heard some people talking about mylar ribbons. I'm still trying to figure out where to get them, but they sound like a great idea. Light enough to flutter in the breeze, and shiny enough to scare away the hawks. Right now we are currently using deer netting over our runs, but within the next few days the teenagers are going to be out free-ranging. I have a lot of natural cover, but I'm worried already.

    Does anyone know of a source for mylar ribbons, or do I just need to shred a bunch of balloons [​IMG]
     
  9. Country Chick at Heart

    Country Chick at Heart Chillin' With My Peeps

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