Hawk attack...whole flock missing

TarantuLady

Chirping
Mar 31, 2016
34
25
64
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
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
22,969
37,518
1,096
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
 
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TarantuLady

Chirping
Mar 31, 2016
34
25
64
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.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,726
856
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.
 

SueT

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 27, 2015
9,549
29,843
947
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.
 

TarantuLady

Chirping
Mar 31, 2016
34
25
64
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. :)
 

JackE

Crowing
Apr 26, 2010
2,327
756
281
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.
 

TarantuLady

Chirping
Mar 31, 2016
34
25
64
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. ;-)
 

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