Hawk kill? (Warning dead chicken***)

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MI-Homesteader, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. MI-Homesteader

    MI-Homesteader Just Hatched

    Jun 25, 2016
    Holly, Michigan
    I've been free ranging my 20 chickens for 2 years now with no issues. I have had 4 killed in the last month during the daytime and I have no idea what is doing it. I am resorting to locking them up now until the problem is solved, here is a pic of the kill. I should note that all 3 were near the fence and looked like this

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Raptor kill almost certainly. If done at night, then owl. If done during day, then most likely a hawk but could be an owl. Leave carcass in place, raptor will come back to eat more. I would tie it down with wire otherwise bird will try to drag carcass off.
  3. MI-Homesteader

    MI-Homesteader Just Hatched

    Jun 25, 2016
    Holly, Michigan
    Sure enough it was a hawk...time to hawk proof the run. Beautiful bird I just wish it wasn't killin my girls

  4. Zoomie

    Zoomie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    Gosh, I'm so sorry, @MI-Homesteader but I do agree with you it's a beautiful bird. This is a hard time of year for raptors in this part of the world because a lot of youngsters are out there on their own and plus the winter months are slimmer pickings. I can't really blame the raptor. I think you're exactly right, time to hawk-proof the run. That's what I have done. I'm right next to the national forest and there are all sorts of predators here, so I covered my runs and it's the best thing I did. Now when a pair of redtails flies right over me, so low I can see every feather, I can just enjoy the amazing sight and not have to worry about my birds. For their part, they realize they can't get into the runs, so they never even try. It's made the raptors and I much better neighbors to each other.
  5. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2016
    Surrounded by the Amish
    If you keep your chickens locked up for a few weeks in your hawk proof run then the Hawks will eventually move on and realize they can't get anymore of your birds. Do you have any roosters or cockerels? I have a cockerel and I feel a lot better about free ranging and I think my hens and pullets do too. He's a great look out and does a good job of protecting my hens.
  6. MI-Homesteader

    MI-Homesteader Just Hatched

    Jun 25, 2016
    Holly, Michigan
    Have a buff Orpington rooster but man he is a wuss lmao...I love that he doesn't bother me or my daughters but he won't fight to save anyone but himself...I am just going to keep them in the coop for the winter and build a run for them this spring, my coop is in a 70'x70' fenced in area that I free range them in and there is no way that I could afford to cover it...so I'll save up for spring and build an attached run and will just add the pig area to there current fenced run

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017
  7. silkie1472

    silkie1472 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2016
    I have lost well over 40 chickens to hawks, and none of the kills have looked quite like this. Owls, however, have also killed many of my birds (24 turkeys and 11 chickens) and this looks very similar to their kills. Most owls do hunt at night, but they will actually kill your chickens during the day as well during winter/spring months. Another possible cause could be raccoons. Their kills also look quite similar. If there is a trail of feathers from some point to the fence (and the breasts of the bird are missing), more than likely it was a bird of prey as they cannot fly off with the food and must drag it. If the bird is missing it's head and all of the bird's "guts" are out, a raccoon is most likely your suspect.
  8. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2016
    Westminster, Maryland
    Your barred rock looks exactly what my BA hen did except the hawk ate more of her. I'm sorry for your loss. You talk about your rooster being a big wuss, I have two who did nothing when my hen was killed. Each rooster is different.
  9. Schneider0925

    Schneider0925 Just Hatched

    Aug 14, 2014
    Im also from MI and about a year and a half ago a Hawk attack my 12 girls. Luckily I was close enough to save them. Since then I have done some recearch on Hawks and have learned that if they don't have a clear flight path they won't attack for fear of hurting their wings. So I don't have the money to enclose their encloser for free ranging. So I came up with an alternative solution. I created a spiders web of white string over the enclosure to unclear it's flight path. I also hung some old CD's I had to reflect and scare them away. So far it's worked. In fact it's worked so well that I recently I was out getting their food when I noticed something in 1 of the trees. I thought it was an owl but when I walked closer to it I realized it was a hawk. It was like it was trying to figure out how to get to them but couldn't figure it out and it just flew off. I've seen a few flying over but the never go in for the kill. I hope this helps anyone with a hawk issue.
  10. ljat

    ljat New Egg

    Jan 3, 2017
    I am new to the list. I am also new to chickens. I have (or I should say...had) 4 beautiful heritage breed hens (all about 8-9 months old). Buffy (my Buff Orpington) was killed by a hawk on the 23rd of December. I was home that day and I noticed that they were extremely skittish when I went out to their yard. But, I had just added a "toy" for them to perch on in their yard and I thought that was why they were so flighty. Anyway, I left them to get used to it and went inside. Not a half an hour later I hear this cackling and clucking. I thought they were laying (sometimes they make a LOT of noise) but it didn't let up, so I went out there and I found my poor, beautiful Buffy on the ground under the hemlock trees with this hawk sitting on top of her! He flew away when I approached but it was too late. Poor Buffy was dead! She was a really sweet, quiet girl...I raised her from a chick....I was heart-broken! Anyway, this bird (I'm pretty sure it was a red-tailed) was probably only a little more than half her size and I really thought that since my chickens are large breeds, plus they have their coop and low branching hemlocks along the back of their yard for cover, that they were not at a high risk for a hawk attack. They have been out in their yard (a fenced area around their coop - maybe 20' X 45') almost daily since mid-summer and I have not had any problems (other than a neighborhood cat stalking them a couple of times). They get locked in their coop every night. Needles to say, I was shocked that this happened...and so sad! I locked up the remaining 3 in their coop for the next 4 or 5 days while I attempted to cover their yard with netting. I used deer netting that comes in rolls of 100 feet by 7 feet. I ran 3 strips of it across the yard and zip-tied the edges together to form a complete 20 foot wide net. I used large 8foot tall, round, plastic, heavy-duty, tomato stakes (got them at Home Depot) plus some 6 foot ones that I zip-tied together to make them about 10 feet tall. I stuck these in the ground to prop up the netting in several places and along the edges of the fence. Anywhere I had a gap (it's hard to get the netting all the way in the branches of the hemlocks) I put up fishing line and hung CDs around. I'm hoping it will be enough to keep the hawks out. I haven't seen any around since I put up the netting... maybe that one was on a migratory route and simply passing by, or maybe the fact that he really didn't get to eat any of her (she was perfect except for a little blood on her face) has kept him from coming back. Here is a thought that I would like some feedback on...I was thinking that maybe one of those LED/LASER Christmas moving spotlights that you shine on the house as a lighting decoration ...but pointed up into the sky....would help keep the hawks away? Thank you in advance for any thoughts or suggestions. I'm sorry for anyone who has lost their chickens to predators....I know what it is like to get attached to them. I really do miss Buffy!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by