HAWK deterrents...lost my first chicken yesterday... :(

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sarahandbray, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have our first flock of chickens ever--and are loving being chicken owners! Chickens are 7-weeks old and have been out in their coop for 2 weeks. They have a 10'X10' coop, a fully covered 12'X8' chain link dog run (with chicken wire on top) and a 40'X40' electrified poultry netting pasture around the whole thing.

    We REALLY, REALLY want pastured chickens and were hoping to add another 164' section of PoultryNet fencing in the spring for them. The PoultryNet has successfully kept out all 4-legged animals, which is great, since we have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, etc., but a hawk got one of our Barred Rocks chicks yesterday.

    What can I do to keep them away? Would be willing to get other small animals to keep in the pen--guinea hens, small goats, etc., but am not sure if I want to get an outside Livestock Guardian Dog, though there is a Great Pyrenees rescue organization near me.

    Short of covering 1600sf with bird netting and making the whole set-up a pain to move, what else can I do?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    How in the world did that hawk get in? Sounds like you've got a fortress there!
     
  3. LanceTN

    LanceTN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My dogs hate birds and keep chase them off the property.

    Particularly hilarious to watch and useful
     
  4. Rhandi74

    Rhandi74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow I also can not imagine how a hawk got in. My set up is similar without the electric netting. I have 2 Great Pyrenees that pretty much keep everything out. I covered their run because I was not sure if the hawks would come down and my LGD's could not get in to stop them. They deter any that are flying near though. They definatly do not like them by the yard. My chickens get about 4 hours each day free ranging in a fenced in acre. I have lost one that decided it would be fun to wander out of the fence and a stray dog got her. My Great Pyrenees alerted me right away but by the time I got out there was nothing to be done. Sorry for your loss, it is never easy.
     
  5. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, it's not a fortress. The chickens are pastured where they're not covered, though we did cover part of it--the whole set-up is three parts--safe coop, safe dog run (12'X8'), which is then open to the pastured area (not covered). So most must have made it into the coop when they saw the hawk, but one unlucky Barred Rock Roo got taken and eaten just outside the pen. Pretty traumatic for my 9-year-old son who found the carcass. Right now, I left them in the covered dog pen area which is open to the coop, so they're 100% safe for today, but I hate to leave them contained when we spent so much $$ and effort to install PoultryNet.

    Would be willing to get two goats to pasture with them if that was a deterrent. We have three dogs (that are on their own electric fence) but they would eat the chickens and their electric fence doesn't allow them down there anyway.

    Not sure what to do. CD's? Pie Plates? NPR radio on loudly all day? We have electricity run to the coop, so if something needs to be plugged in, we have it.

    Do hawks take full-size chickens? These guys are only 7-weeks-old, so maybe they're still hawk-size...

    -Sarah
     
  6. Rhandi74

    Rhandi74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also have goats and they do not deter anything. They are great to have and amazingly fun but we bought the LGD's to protect the goats and later got chickens. Roosters do a great job of warning the flock of hawks. Sometimes my rooster notices before my Great Pyrenees does and then they run and bark once my Roo sets the alarm.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2014
  7. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies! We have a Great Pyrenees rescue organization here in New York State, but I really don't want another dog--we already have three! One is an ancient Rhodesian Ridgeback, who wouldn't attack the chickens, but is an indoor only dog. My Wheaten Terrier and Shih-Tzu would EAT the chickens (and have tried!), so they're out.

    I would hate to have an "outside only/garage" dog--we've only ever had pampered, inside, couch-hogging, bed-hogging dogs.

    Plus, wouldn't a LGD get bored all day in a 1600sf chicken pasture?

    Sarah
     
  8. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm thinking of putting our old 10'X10' pressure treated deck down in the chicken yard as added cover. Are hawks nervy enough to set down on the ground and hop over under a covered area to pick off a chick? Would that cover plus the dog run plus the coop be enough "safe" area to keep them from being eaten? We are planning to keep two roosters no matter what.
     
  9. Rhandi74

    Rhandi74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are right the Great Pyrenees would be miserable in there. The deck cover will help but not be a sure thing of no more deaths. Some hawks will just sit around and wait to pick them off. It will be a lot harder when they get bigger though.
     
  10. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hawks can take a full grown chicken, but the ones I've lost have been the younger pullets. And did you know that a Blue Jay will steal a baby chick in a quick minute?! I was surprised at that!

    I do have hawks circling around occasionally. My flock will be fine one minute, and then POOF! They're all hiding and not making a sound. And that's when I notice one circling or gliding over head. I seem to lose one chicken a year to a hawk.

    What I do, which is about the only thing I can do, is if I see a hawk coming around alot, then I change the time of when I let the flock free range for a while. And usually, the hawks come in the afternoon, some time between noon and 2:00. So currently, I don't let them out to free range until I get home from work, which is around 5pm. Hawks are creatures of habit. I don't usually see them in the late afternoon.

    Unfortunately, here in Ohio it gets dark early. And with the time change, it will get dark around 6pm. Boooo. LOL
     

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