Hawk attack...whole flock missing

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by TarantuLady, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. TarantuLady

    TarantuLady Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    29
    Mar 31, 2016
    Hi... I checked through posts for an answer to this, but I didn't find what I was looking for, so I'll ask. After an attack, how long before the flock returns to the coop? Flock consists of 7 Buckeye hens, 2 Buckeye roos & 1 bantam Cochin hen. Actually, they aren't mature yet, so they're pullets and cockerels, just shy of 4 months old. A hawk attacked a pullet, managed to kill it, but then got scared away somehow and didn't consume the bird, but just plucked it some and ate a little. Talon marks obvious under each wing. Anyway, the whole flock is gone. Since last night. I discovered the dead bird (Buckeye pullet) around 8:00pm, in the weeds, about 15 feet from the coop. The attack happened outside the coop. They were free ranging...ugh. I live on 18 acres of forest and wetland....plenty of resources for them, so will they come back at all? Will they hear the rooster a 1/4 mile from here and try to join that flock? Don't know what to do, if anything.

    Appreciate any advice... Thanks.
    Pam
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    7,280
    1,589
    356
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Welcome, and so sorry for your loss. Your remaining birds may return if they are stlll alive, but overnight they were totally vulnerable to every other predator out there. A hawk will take one bird at a time only. I would have been out there last night with a flashlight, but start today and hope you find some live birds. Mary
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  3. TarantuLady

    TarantuLady Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    29
    Mar 31, 2016
    Yeah, hubby and I were out there with a flashlight last night, looking, calling and listening, but nothing. I got up at sunrise this morning and went back out. Then, just got back from looking for another hour...and buried my lone bird body. My property doesn't allow for walking around and looking. It's forested and wetland. I did as much as I can do, but I can't get through the overgrowth. The cattails and other weeds are over my head. I guess I'm out of luck, and my birds are probably dead then. I feel sick....and I can only hope they return.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,494
    2,151
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    If attacker was a hawk, then most likely still alive. If predator something like a fox or coyote then most birds likely killed and policed up by predator. I would walk out into woods and stand in a location for a few minutes listening closely. Then move 50 feet or so to repeat. Birds will likely betray themselves to you if present.
     
  5. SueT

    SueT Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,597
    741
    226
    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    In your search you may find feathers if any bird was attacked. There may be a small pile here and there or a large amt. If a chicken is grabbed by the tail it can release its tail feathers.
     
  6. TarantuLady

    TarantuLady Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    29
    Mar 31, 2016
    Thanks to all who replied. Sadly, I never saw hide, nor hair (feather?), of any of the birds again, through much calling, looking and listening... They've been gone a week as of this evening. Alas, we raise them for eggs,not as pets, thankfully. It hurts a little less that way... I did cry (softie that I am) as I buried the one hen...and my neice's 4H project bird (a bantam frizzled cochin) is among the missing. That's the worst part, I suppose. The project fell through (as it sometimes does with youngsters), but she still loves her bird. Stupid auntie wasn't watching...and now I have to tell her. Crap. Guilt sucks. :-(

    So, an update: I'm rebuilding a flock, or two...lol I got a 2 yo RIR rooster (good roo...really like him, so far) & seven 3.5 mos old RIR pullets. Also, three 7 wk old brown leghorn pullets. Today, I go get a quartet of hand-raised silver duckwing old English bantam birds, three hens (already laying) and a roo. Hopefully, my niece will forgive me with new little banties to play with. *fingers crossed*

    Again, thanks for the advice/suggestions. Much appreciated. :)
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,210
    444
    231
    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    You may want to take some predator prevention steps, or you might just end up starting over again. Either a safe run. Or a bigger area surrounded by electrified poultry net. I have just over 7 acres here. I got a way with freeranging my flock for just over a year. Then, the fox discovered them. I lost 9 out of 11, in the first attack. Bought 20 more. A few months later, lost another 7. Both attacks were done in broad daylight. I now have 650' of Premier's electrified poultry net. Started out with 300', liked it so much I bought another 350'. Going on 5 yrs, and haven't lost a bird to a ground based pred.
     
  8. TarantuLady

    TarantuLady Out Of The Brooder

    24
    2
    29
    Mar 31, 2016
    Yeah...that's what makes it worse...we DO have a safe run! Ugh. I have a geodesic dome, 131sf, completely covered with chicken wire, with a wire "Chunnel" (chicken tunnel...lol) running to a very secure coop. I, unfortunately, gambled that they wouldn't be predated upon free ranging while I was away for a bit. Boy, was I wrong! If I had just listened to my husband (& don't think I haven't heard that from him! lol)...my birds would still be there. I knew better, I suppose, but I had ordered extras...and wasn't gonna be too freaked out if I lost one or two to a hawk. I just didn't envision the whole darned flock taking off. :-0 Live & learn. As far as I'm able, this will never happen again to my flock. I free range these new ones only for an hour before roost time, and only if I can stand right there, watching, with my treking stick...ready to play baseball (hawkball) with any bird that crosses my plate. Which won't happen...cuz they're afraid of my being there. Win, win. ;-)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by