Hawk is picking off my flock!! Help!!

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
24,155
13,792
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
I'll agree to disagree with you. Watched a LF hen (BR) get killed last year by an immature Cooper's Hawk. Broke it's neck. Not a mark on it.
Breaking chickens neck is really hard to do. Every time someone reports a chicken with head oriented like in natural death, someone implies the neck is broken. Most of time when I can see what happens with a raptor catching a chicken, the raptor uses talons on the chickens body first. Great-horned Owl and larger hawks like Red-tailed can often do much of killing by that alone. The GHO is prone to go directly after head and upper neck to deliver coup de gras and start eating there as well. Hawks more likely to start eating while chicken still alive, especially Coopers Hawk which often cannot kill the chicken outright.

A lot more evidence needed to make me think a raptor did killing of OP's chickens. Unless the approach adopted works against all predators, we directing actions that may prove to be folly if assumption is only bird of prey involved.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
22,053
12,229
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
For feathered predators, try to become friends with the local crow population by feeding them during the winter. I bought a bag of scratch grain for my ducks last fall. They hated it, so i was using it as bird feed during the winter and the crows came in for the corn and other larger grains.
Since then they have started to nest in the trees around my house and not only provide early warning calls to my ducks, but also harass any kind of areal predator out of the valley, dive bombing them in mid flight, ruining their hunting runs by making lot's of noise and preventing them to rest anywhere.
Raccoons are my ducks nemesis here… :(
I more or less do the same thing and the crows are always around looking for the treats. I finally covered all of my pens with netting, now no more aerial predators problems.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
74,411
81,042
1,607
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you everyone!! We will put cds up today and hope for the best. Momma and babies are locked away safe.... hopefully my rooster can scare off whatever tries for the adults.
You can wish in one hand.....

Seriously, keep them penned if you really want to protect them.

As to a broken neck...birds necks are very flexible and when dead flop all over,
hard to tell if broken or just dead.
 

imnukensc

Crowing
May 22, 2017
1,464
3,244
289
SC Midlands
Breaking chickens neck is really hard to do. Every time someone reports a chicken with head oriented like in natural death, someone implies the neck is broken. Most of time when I can see what happens with a raptor catching a chicken, the raptor uses talons on the chickens body first. Great-horned Owl and larger hawks like Red-tailed can often do much of killing by that alone. The GHO is prone to go directly after head and upper neck to deliver coup de gras and start eating there as well. Hawks more likely to start eating while chicken still alive, especially Coopers Hawk which often cannot kill the chicken outright.

A lot more evidence needed to make me think a raptor did killing of OP's chickens. Unless the approach adopted works against all predators, we directing actions that may prove to be folly if assumption is only bird of prey involved.
Not disagreeing with you at all, but as I said, I watched it happen.
 

Karen Glatz

Chirping
Jun 28, 2017
51
83
84
For feathered predators, try to become friends with the local crow population by feeding them during the winter. I bought a bag of scratch grain for my ducks last fall. They hated it, so i was using it as bird feed during the winter and the crows came in for the corn and other larger grains.
Since then they have started to nest in the trees around my house and not only provide early warning calls to my ducks, but also harass any kind of areal predator out of the valley, dive bombing them in mid flight, ruining their hunting runs by making lot's of noise and preventing them to rest anywhere.
Raccoons are my ducks nemesis here… :(
I thought I was the only one. I live in town and we have quite a few crows in the area. I have 9 pullets and one cockerel. When they were young - 4 or 5 - weeks I had them outside, but kept as close a watch as I could during the day.

One day I heard crows screeching and ran out. There were 4 adult crows chasing and diving at a hawk. They chased it a couple of miles away over a ridge, then came back. They must have had a nest somewhere near. Never saw the hawk again, and the crows didn't bother my chicks.
 

TXChixRock

Chirping
Aug 2, 2016
11
4
61
I’ve had great luck discouraging hawks in my yard by stringing fishing line back and forth across the yard. I also have hung strips of metallic scare tape. I suffered 3 separate attacks a couple of years ago (fortunately had 3 wounded hens but no deaths) and read about using fishing line on Backyard Chickens. I’ve have only 1 failed attack since using fishing line. Do a search for that thread. If you can’t find it, I’ll see if I can. Nothing truly prevents hawk attacks except secure pens but you can hopefully discourage them.
 

TXChixRock

Chirping
Aug 2, 2016
11
4
61
Forgot to add that there is some controversy over the use of fishing line. Some folks are very much against it because they fear chickens will get tangled or eat it or some such. Mine is hung at least 6 feet high and in 2 years I’ve never experienced a problem with chickens ingesting it or becoming ensnared. Just giving you a heads up because you will probably hear some negative comments about it. I say we each have to do what we feel works for us as flock owners. Just my 2 cents!
 

jeepgrrl

Songster
Feb 25, 2017
164
248
187
North Central Ohio
We have issues with migratory hawks this time of year. I have lost one of my girls around this time of year for the past three years. The local hawks that live here year round prefer to hunt in the open fields, and there is a murder of crows that live in the woods behind us that help keep the local resident hawks at bay. That said, I do keep my girls locked in their run until I get home from work so I can supervise their free ranging. I also have one of my dogs with me (she doesn't bother the chickens) so hopefully her presence is enough of a deterrant. This goes on from the 2nd week of September until the end of October, when the migration ends. If your hen yard is small enough you could set out a picnic table, lawn chairs, stuff that the older hens could fit under while out foraging. I would definitely lock up the mama hen and her chicks during this time, that is the only way to keep them safe. Other posters mentioned hanging CDs around the perimeter of your coop; that didn't work at all for my girls but its easy to do and might be worth a try for you. Scarecrows and rubber snakes were also a failure for us, even though I would keep moving them around to try and fool the hawks. Hawks are extremely intelligent and learn very quickly, making them difficult to deal with, so aside from getting a livestock guardian dog or a large covered enclosure, your options may be limited. Unfortunately, since the hawks have already been successful at getting to your flock, they will keep coming back. Also, please be aware that taking out a hawk (as well as other raptors) without a permit from your state's department of wildlife/natural resources is illegal in many states - Ohio has a $15,000 fine for the first offense. Ultimately I just end up ordering a couple of extra chicks every spring with the assumption that the hawks will be by to snag one of my hens. It's not a great plan, but I can't take off work for 8 weeks to chicken sit. Good luck, I hope your hawks are just passing through and not permanent residents.
 

jeepgrrl

Songster
Feb 25, 2017
164
248
187
North Central Ohio
In many states it is illegal to kill birds of prey/raptors without a permit from the state's department of natural resources/wildlife. In Ohio, it's a $15,000 fine for the first offense. We have turkey vultures out the wazoo here but they only seemed interested when the chicks were babies and never tried to attack because I was outside with them. Now, hawks on the other hand have been issue. I've lost a young hen to migrating hawks in the middle of September for the past few years. I do lock up the girls in their run during the day until I get home from work and can supervise their free ranging, but this is less than optimal as they get very upset when they are confined. However, I have noticed that lately they seem to be more on guard than usual, spending most of their time hiding underneath a willow tree stump that is still sending out shoots and out in the open pasture a lot less. Last year's attack really traumatized them so I'm wondering if they can sense the time of year, thus the potential of an attack.:confused:
 
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