Hawk Attack? Chicken survived sans feathers

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ChristaJ, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. ChristaJ

    ChristaJ Chirping

    Dec 18, 2010
    I have free ranging birds - with no daytime predator attacks for about a year - but yesterday while ranging we heard a commotion. Saw a large bird fly away and I had a stunned full grown barred rock. Most of her tail feathers and all of her underbelly feathers are gone. I checked her and there appears to be no wounds and she is eating and drinking after spending most of yesterday in a daze. There were three piles of feathers from where she was attacked.

    I am left with several questions. Could this be a hawk attack? We couldn't make out what type of bird it was because it flew off too fast. I'm not sure it was a hawk because I would have expected talon wounds.

    Will the hawk be returning? How was the hawk able to pluck so many feathers from my hen without killing her ? Should I be checking her for more wounds?

    I would really appreciate any advice or information, thank you in advance, Christa
  2. Achickenwrangler#1

    Achickenwrangler#1 Songster

    Aug 7, 2011
    west virginia
    More than likely a hawk, keep and eye on her, could have some internal injuries, at the least alot of bruising..., sorry to say, she may have been too heavy to carry or the grip was just on the feathers and not into the flesh..the bop will be back, I would take defensive measures quickly, even keeping the chickens under roof for a while.
  3. stoopid

    stoopid Chicken Fairy Godmother

    Aug 3, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    X2. Good luck.
  4. ChristaJ

    ChristaJ Chirping

    Dec 18, 2010
    Thanks for the advice. We live in a densely wooded area in NC and right now I have a very secure coop and I make sure to lock my hens up every night. I have a fenced in area of about an acre which is their run. I am thinking of getting some netting to hang above this fenced in area, but would it be worth it to only have the netting up if it is not completely attached to the fence?

    Also, do you guys have any thoughts on getting a rooster to protect my hens? Right now I only have 7 hens, no rooster.

    Or should I scrap the netting idea and just build a small totally secure run? I dislike this option the most because it seems like the hens really enjoy scratching and eating bugs all day and up until this point I haven't had an attack.

    What should I be doing right now if my attacked hen has internal injuries? She is eating, drinking and pooping, but I can definitely tell that she is not herself- she's favoring one leg/foot and she is not eating as much as she usually would.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I'm pretty new to chicken raising and I want to make sure that I am doing everything I can to protect my girls.


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