Hawk advice please

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MuranoFarms, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. MuranoFarms

    MuranoFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This has been going on a few weeks now. First it took a full grown hen. We found a wing [​IMG] Everybody stayed locked up for a week or so, then let them out when we knew we'd be out all day. Went in to make lunch.....all of 20 minutes, it took a 3 month old silkie. They stayed locked up again. the last few days I let the ducks out thinking there's no way in H**L it could carry off a Khaki Campbell. A duck went missing yesterday. The yard is wide open, about an acre. I can't hang anything like cd's because there simply isn't anywhere to hang them! We're in the middle of the woods, but we've only ever had 1 hawk problem before and my rooster attacked him. Never saw that hawk again. Since the attack last month though, I've frequently seen 6-8 hawks circling overhead...and LOTS of turkey vultures. I know I can't shoot the hawks, but I have started lighting small fireworks when they're around. The noise scares them off temporarily. This latest attack really put a dent in my next years breeding program. This was one of my girls from my KC trio. I'm expanding every year, and this puts me back at last years number which is a pair for this breed.

    What else can I do?
     
  2. SillyChicken

    SillyChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Keeping the birds contained in a netted top enclosure is the only way to really protect your birds, esp for those in a breeding program. Or use tractors that you can move around the yard for them to still be able to forage.
     
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    I agree.............. total enclosure is the only true safe way, I can't free range my breeders either they are worth too much and yes it would set me back also, so I don't let them out.
     
  4. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Like everyone else says.
    Only having a run with a roof will protect them.
    I have been dealing with hawks and Eagles for years.
    They have taken many of my chickens.
    Locking them up for a few weeks will do nothing, the hawks know that eventually you will let them out.
    They will stalk your chickens till that day. They will sit in the trees and wait.
    They never forget a free meal.
    The hawks and eagles aren't scared one bit of humans.
    One swooped down a few feet right in front of me and my fiance and tried to take a chicken right next to us
    I was yelling and screaming at it but i didn't scare it one bit.
    So even if you could put up CD's or put on a radio it probably wouldn't phase them.
    I use to free range but ever since the hawks found out, ive now had to resort to making them a covered run as well.
    Its sad they can't free range anymore, but its better knowing they will be safe.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  5. MuranoFarms

    MuranoFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you! I have covered runs for all but the silkies. They have a run, no cover yet, I will work on that today.
     
  6. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    I have to laugh every time I see a post where someone suggest putting up CD's to thwart raptor attacks on free ranging birds, it's a waste of time and looks really tacky, some say it works but I question that seriously. The breed of chicken or should I say the size usualy dictates who get's swooped up first, The bantams first, then the lite colored Foo-Foo birds like silkies and such, then the skinney birds like RIR and the like. Raptors know how to spot what is the easiest meal.
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Our biggest problem is red-tailed hawks. They'll slam into a large chicken, kill it and eat it on the ground. They don't need it to be light enough to carry away. That's a natural behavior for them. They prefer not to have to eat on the ground if it's a more dangerous area and they have safer choices. Having dogs around that might attack them on the ground makes it more risky, especially if they know the dog will come after them.

    Long term, you could think about getting a dog to guard your flock. That takes choosing the right dog and training. Short term, keeping them locked up in a run with some type of cover is the way to go.

    Converting to tractors for breeding stock would be a good plan, since it keeps breeding stock separate.

    In our area we can get away with free ranging most of the growing season. The local hawks during the growing season know the area and can be more choosy about their hunting.

    We get heavier hawk pressure in the fall, during the fall migration. We also see large groups of hawks passing by or circling above at times. When we do get non-local hawks stopping by, they're hungry and more desperate hunters. It makes them bolder. That's also when the trees and bushes are losing leaves, leaving the chickens more exposed and visible. We've gone to confining the chickens more often in the late fall.

    You could try adding CDs or DVDs. You could try adding a few tall t-posts and running line between them. You could still mow underneath. That might help. I wouldn't risk your most precious birds in an experiment, though.
     
  8. queenbeezz

    queenbeezz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are having the same problem. From what I understand this is the migration time of year for hawks. They have raised their young and now the young are on the move looking for their own territory. Fortunately for us they haven't prefected their aim yet and we have had several near misses. We have locked up all the smaller birds until this passes. I doon't think they will try to take full grown Jersey Giants, they'd never get off the ground!
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2011
  9. foxypoproxy

    foxypoproxy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thats good.
    Well the silkies would probably need a covered run more then anyone because they are more likely to be taken since they can't really fly away like some other chickens can.
    I wish you no more hawk attacks!
     
  10. mothrhen

    mothrhen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A giant red tail came within 6 inches of grabbing one of my hens and I was only about 15 feet away from her. She ran towards me and I ran towards her and the hawk took off. The hawk swings by every day to check things out. . . [​IMG]
     

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