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Hawk attack and roosters

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Wyatt0224, Dec 30, 2016.

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  1. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A hawk attacked and killed one of my hens this morning in their run. My RIR rooster was walking around the run with five other hens as the hawk was eating my poor hen. My BA rooster was in the coop with my Silkie hens, seeming as if he was protecting them. What am I to make of my RIR rooster walking around the run with the hawk down there? To me it doesn't seem as if he did his job. Any help or opinions would be extremely helpful.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Age of rooster? Species of hawk?
     
  3. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rooster is 10 months old. I looked on Maryland DNR and looked through species of different Hawks that live in Maryland. Looking at the pictures I'm pretty sure it was a Coopers Hawk.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    At 10 months of age, he may not have turned the corner as being fully adult. If a Cooper's Hawk, then even my game hens repel those so it is not a size issue. My roosters only fight to protect hens that are part of their harem and in their territory. Harem mentality probably not setup yet as mine have not done it yet but will be doing so soon as day length increases.


    One of these days I am going to have to start selling my Missouri Dominiques roosters as anti-hawk birds as they are like games in that regard.
     
  5. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those are some precious roosters then. I don't know what he was thinking or any of the five hens were thinking as well since they were walking around while the hawk was eating.
     
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    At 10 months, he's still immature. Where else could they have gone? Can they get out of the run to escape? Maybe they felt more threatened in the coop. Not all roosters will fight off a predator (and yours is still a cockerel - an adolescent at this stage). Some will lead the way, running in the opposite direction. Some will distract the predator, giving the hens a chance to escape, some will fight to the death.
     
  7. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I understand that every rooster is different. Some of my hens went up the coop along with my other rooster so they know that their safe spot. What really has me concerned is why he let other hens be in the run. But maybe they were waiting for the gate to open so they could run out in the yard and escape. It's still really concerning that he acted that way though. I at least would've thought he would've taken them up to the coop for safety like my silkies and BA roo did.
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Overrun With Chickens

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    How old is the BA roo? As stated previously, this one is young. He may not know all of his roosterly duties yet.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have seen roosters do their bit many times. They tend to be more vigilant and are more likely to produce alarm calls. They do not direct retreat of flock members. Harem masters will distract predator by behavior and gaudiness and will sometimes attack a predator, especially if risk relatively low for doing it. My adult roosters will take on a hawk that is on the ground when the rooster has offspring. If predator is something small like a Cooper's Hawk my roosters do not even bother to seek cover, they get out and take hawk head on. I have seen roosters chase hawks on ground with at least one contact event where hawk immediately backed off ( could not see but could hear activity). More recently had similar with hens actually attacking hawk going after their chicks and not losing any chicks as a result. In one instance I had to intervene to save hawk from being flogged to death. See below for account on that on page 5.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1139715/coopers-hawk-working-barn-area-hard/40

    With some looking you can find video examples of chickens attacking Cooper's or similar hawks. Some in other countries and many under conditions not legal here.
     
  10. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everything you just said is exactly what I thought my roosters would do centrarchid. I comepletely understand they won't attack a coyote but I expect them to do something about a hawk. After my RIR cockerels behavior do you think I should rehome him since he completely failed protecting my hens?
     
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