Hawk attacks and dog packs

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Plucketeer, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Plucketeer

    Plucketeer New Egg

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Central California
    We've kept birds and critters of some sort thru three decades now. Parrots indoors, cats and turtles outdoors as well as Ring-Neck doves and now chickens. One threat to the outdoor pets is hawks, and we have lots of them here amidst California farmlands. There's Coopers hawks (the irony of their name - Coop-ers - having just downed on me!), Red-tailed and various smaller birds of prey that I've never accurately identified.
    There's also coyotes, bobcats (believe it or not!) and packs of dogs roaming about. OH! And feral cats - I found one sleeping of a big feast in the dove cage one day! A couple of weeks ago, I was roused from my sleep with the rabble of barking, whining dogs in our back yard. It took a bit for my senses to clear to where I realized the dogs were hassling 3-month old residents of our chicken tractor.Pulling shoes and shorts on, I made my way to the back door - picking up my trusty BB gun as I went. I'd seen a pack of setter-sized dogs around here before, and the trails of dog tracks on the back lot tell of their being here at night. As it turned out, I never even saw the dogs that night. I was snarling explitives as emerged into the yard so I'm sure they scooted when they sensed me coming. Of course, the fact that the moon was dark didn't help either. The birds were understandably nervous, but none of them were hurt. I've yet to have coyotes try for any of our birds, but I'm sure if they felt they could score a meal......

    Hawks..... Prior to us keeping any caged animals outdoors, I'd seen hawks take down songbirds from time to time. Hey, hawks have a place in this world. In '95 I started keeping Ring-Necked doves outside. It's a tale in itself, how that got started, but I soon found myself building bigger accommodations for them and things progressed from there. Having kept some of these birds for 17 years now, I refer to them as "winged rabbits" because of their breeding habits. Eventually, I built a "dove tractor/flight" of fair dimensions and we enjoy their calming cooing to this day.
    After having kept these birds for a few years, I was confounded when I found stripped cadavers of these creatures when I'd go to feed them. There would be one or more dove bodies, stripped of head, wings & feet - with NO evidence of anything having gotten INTO their flight. This kept happening on an infrequent basis for quite some time before I finally got to witness an attack.
    To my amazement, it was hawks that were doi
     
  2. Roosterlover5

    Roosterlover5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2012
    Sorry for your loses.:(
    Do you cage your animals at night?
     
  3. Plucketeer

    Plucketeer New Egg

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Central California
    CONTINUATION.......... To my amazement, it was the Hawks that were doing this to my flock. They'd zoom at the cage and fly back and forth until the doves were in total frenzy - then it would strike when one of the doves was clinging and fluttering on the cage wire. Hawks are crafty!
    I witnessed THREE attacks yesterday, and thwarted each one by shooting off my unloaded BB gun as I ran towards the dove tractor. I know from past experiences that THIS hawk will learn and eventually give up. It's happened like this before. Obviously, a hawk learns that his intended meals might not be as easy as they would appear.
    What I HAVE used in the past - and I'm gonna purchase one again - is one of the battery-powered "soft" BB guns you can get at Walmart or any sporting goods store. I favor the ones with a fully automatic function. This gives you a spray of plastic BBs which isn't gonna hurt anything. But it sure un-nerves the hawks! Since hawks aren't used to being a target, this really sends them scooting! And it's usually quite some time before one decides to try again. You can even get BBs that are bio-degradable so that they turn to dust. As an added bonus, it works good on cats too!
     
  4. Plucketeer

    Plucketeer New Egg

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Central California
    Yes, I don't intend to let our chickens free range here. Between the hawks and dogs - I don't wanna be monitoring them all day.
     
  5. Roosterlover5

    Roosterlover5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2012
    So the hawk was grabbing the animals from the outside of the cage? Maybe try putting a tarp up on the side of the cage that the hawks attack so they can't get the animals.
     
  6. Plucketeer

    Plucketeer New Egg

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    Oct 10, 2012
    Central California
    They try all four sides. What I DID DO was to hang a second veil of cage material around the outside of the top 2/3rds of the cage (it's 8 ft tall). This has pretty much thwarted further killings, but it hasn't stopped them from trying - and they COULD succeed if I didn't intervene when I see them trying. A bunch of tasty doves that can't escape is just too tempting a target.
    I HAVE had a small hunting dog chew THRU the cage netting and kill about half the doves a few years ago. The dog's owner saw it happening and cleaned up the mess before I returned from an errand trip. This neighbor was having enough trouble in his life that he didn't need me snarling at him - and so I gave him a pass on it.
    In another instance, I saw two dismembered doves on the floor of the cage one day and went in to collect their remains. I would've written them off to the hawks except they were too well dismembered to have been done thru the cage wire. As I was exiting the flight, I just happened to look back and see a sleepy feral kitten raise it's head up out of one of the open nest boxes! Turned out to be ONE WILD CAT! Took a fishing net and welding gloves to extract him from the cage - and I STILL got scratched by the little hellion!

    I just home I don't have to take such protective measures for my new Coop deVille chicken tractor. A neighbor 3 doors down lost 10 birds to coyotes a few weeks ago. Of course, he had no protected coop for his birds at night.
     
  7. Roosterlover5

    Roosterlover5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 8, 2012
    Wow! Good thing you caught that Wild Cat, can't believe it took a fishing net and welding gloves to get him out!![​IMG]
     

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