hawk attack

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hitchyourwagon, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. hitchyourwagon

    hitchyourwagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]We live on a farm so hawk sightings are not uncommon but they have never been near our house and barns. I recently decided to let my twelve week old chickens (mixed flock of Brahmas and Rocks) out of their covered run for the first time. It was about three hours before dusk as I wanted to see if they would automatically return to their roost at dark. They were excited to explore freedom for the first time and quickly began scratching for insects around the outside of the coop. I decided to go grab a soda and snack. I wasn't gone more than fifteen minutes and when I returned there was not one but two red trailed hawks sitting in a small tree not ten yards from them. My approach scared off the predators before they could do any damage but was definitely a close call!
    My question is since I have large breed chickens will they ever be big enough where the Hawks will no longer try to mess with them or will they only be allowed supervised visits outside the coop/run for life?
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I am unawares of any standard breed chicken that a Red Tail hawk can't kill. Hunting and killing Chickens is a difficult and sometimes dangerous activity. I suspect, but I don't know if a 4 pound (the largest) Red Tail Hawk would attempt to prey on a 6 pound hen but under the right conditions I suspect that the hawk will.
     
  3. N F C

    N F C Home in WY Premium Member

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    I think where hawks are around, the best protection you can give your birds is a covered run. Hawks are a natural predator of chickens and if given the opportunity, they will kill chickens regardless of size. I've also read that hawks will "stalk" their food (meaning sit and observe and wait for the right opportunity) before attacking which is what sounds like you describe. Here's a link that might give you some ideas on how to help protect your birds:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...ators-how-to-protect-your-chickens-from-hawks
     
  4. hitchyourwagon

    hitchyourwagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the educational article. My run is covered but was hoping to let them out occasionally to do the things chickens like to do. The article did reference hawks attacking chicks and small chickens so perhaps there is a size where they no longer feel comfortable attacking big chickens? Definitely gonna let mine grow before trying it again.
     
  5. hitchyourwagon

    hitchyourwagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickengeorgeto
    When my chickens are fully grown they should be between 7 to 9 lbs. I am hoping that will discourage hungry hawks in the future.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    A red-tailed hawk can take down a 12 lb chicken. What will be working for you is hawks do prefer smaller prey making to attacks on your birds as adults less frequent. In the end, other predators will come in to fill the void left open by hawks. Great-horned owls and raccoons at night, and coyotes and foxes at all hours. Look into additional antiipredator methods in your setup in investment in birds is high.
     
  7. hitchyourwagon

    hitchyourwagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow 12 pounders not safe! Good to know. My set up is super predator safe as long as they are confined to coop and run. Solid roof, 1/2 inch welded wire - buried, poured coop slab foundation, rocks around outside of run. Thanks to all the great tips on this site I believe I have it covered. It is just play time outside the coop that I was worried about.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    The outside part is what I was referring to. I keep all young birds outside and they are much smaller than yours. Additional antipredator systems are employed and most make even your fot knox system even safer.
     
  9. hitchyourwagon

    hitchyourwagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh sorry I misunderstood. So are you talking about hanging CDs or other shining objects from the trees? I have also read of flashing lights being deployed? Guard dog? Other? Seems outside protection would be very difficult in a free range environment but looks like you have a system? How many birds are you raising?
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am in Missouri as well. Currently I have about 120 birds but have capacity for 4x as many. All but forty free-range kept. The forty are kept in flimsy chicken tractors year round and that number jumps up to about 60 during the offseason. I am too spread out to even attempt the CD's and flashinglights so employ a combination of cover (vegetative), fencing with multiple perimeters and some that includes electrified poultry netting, and dogs. I also employ traps and rifle but latter is very seldom. Key to making things work for me is keeping birds in areas I can actually protect which currently is limited to 5 acres.
     

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