Hawk! Only a predator to young or bantams?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Redangler, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. Redangler

    Redangler Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2012
    Bradenton, FL
    Since getting our chicks a few months ago I have become very keen on spotting hawks around our property. Also reading on this site about all the problems people have with hawks as well. This leads me to my question: Are hawks a problem only to the young and bantams? I have seen hawks come and go on our property and yesterday had one land about 50 ft away from my free ranging 8 weeks old girls. He flew away without incident but I noticed that the girls are as large or larger than he was. It would seem to me that my girls are only a potential meal for them for a few more weeks until they are then no doubt much larger than the hawk. Will a hawk attack something that is possible 3 to 4 times larger than itself. My coop and run will be very secure from ground predators when completed but will be open from above to birds of prey. I could understand an eagle attack on a full grown chicken but a hawk attack seems very unlikely. Any thoughts?
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Some hawks can handle even an adult Jersey Giant rooster but they are much more likely to tackle smaller individuals and hens in hen only flocks. They will even take a game rooster if they can catch him alone without cover. Hawk species important as is how you keep your birds. For me red-tails and feruginous hawks go after adults during winter while Coopers and red-tails will target smaller birds during production season. Provide lots of cover, and adult birds can at least provide confusion for hawks will limited brain power targeting smaller birds. In some instances I have a game rooster that will very aggressively attack hawk once it commits to grapple another chicken on ground. Best anti-hawk measure I have is bird dog that literally barrels through flock to get at hawk.

    Hawks can be a threat that can be managed.
  3. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2009
    I just want to emphasize that they absolutely will go for chickens that are larger than themselves. A small hawk cannot fly off with a larger chicken, but it can still kill a chicken and eat it in place on the ground. First year hawks are especially likely to try this in winter, when they are starving. I think this is because young hawks are relegated to the less desirable habitat, which means they are forced to take more risks in order to survive. However, with good cover for your chickens and a watchful eye, you can prevent losses. I don't even have a dog, and despite many attempts by hawks, I have yet to lose a chicken to one.
  4. WingnutCrazy

    WingnutCrazy Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 29, 2012
    I actually watched one of my chickens fight off a hawk! He is the one in my profile pic. The hawk swooped down and Wingnut(chicken in pic) jumped up and spurred him!
  5. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    here, redtails never went after adult standards and larges. have not seen them go after bantams or chicks. I did get to witness a redtail swoop down into my yard...... to catch a ground squirrel. the chickens and peacocks did throw quite a fit during this incident.

    coopers are VERY BAD about going after chicks and juveniles... extremely bold about it too, some dare to swoop even if I am 10 feet away from the chicks. when they are here for the winter, it just is not possible to let chicks free range. they have not gone after standard or large fowls.

    now... the worst ones are the big hawks I haven't got around to ID down to species yet.. they are big, look like redtails at a glance but are very heavily barred all over, don't soar much, preferring to hunt more like coopers- going between trees to hide and swoop. those go for almost anything- chicks to almost full growns. chickens are very scared of those.. (they don't pay much attention to other hawk species)
  6. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    I think it depends on the season, age of hawk, and the availability of prey.

    In the past I've had Cooper's hawks take anything from young juveniles on up to a 9 lb adult rooster. I even had a young Cooper's desperate enough one winter to follow the hens into the coop through their 18"x18" pop door to get at one.

    This year I had a pair of redtails hunting my adults even under some thick pine branch cover. Usually I see them hunting open fields but this year they were hunting through the trees.
  7. upmycreek

    upmycreek Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2011
    I had a hawk kill 7 of my birds in one day. It was a red-tailed and it went under my low carport and picked them out from under a very heavily branched/leafed butterfly bush. I walked out to it eating the biggest of the 7 right next to the remaining 10 that were still under the bush hiding. Pretty sure it would've kept killing them if I hadn't walked out. Sucky part was that I was inside ordering poultry netting for the coop that I was going to build for them after seeing the hawk flying around earlier that day. Killed my rooster and 2 of my favorite hens. The other 4 were all beautiful babies. It was devastating enough for me to create what my boyfriend calls the chicken P.O.W. camp.
  8. Cotton42

    Cotton42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2012
    St. Louis, Missouri
    I had a hawk try to attack my chickens today. It flew right into the run where my Cornish Crosses were hiding, but my Golden Comet chased it off before it could kill anything. I got it all on camera and it is the scariest and funniest thing I have seen all week. I guess it's time to make the backyard hawk proof.
  9. chickers

    chickers Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 18, 2012
    Gold Country California
    Yes, hawks will kill full grown chickens. We had a hawk kill an adult Wyandotte and proceed to eat her on the ground not 10 feet from my back door. You need some type of netting over your run or your chickens will not be safe.
  10. farmer boy

    farmer boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    i had a hawk or some kind of bird swooped down in my yard grabbed a chicken but the chicken was to heavy lol i ran out there all i saw was feathers so i ran out but the hen was just a little upset and had missing feathers but the hawk never came back ... the only thing im worried about is the bald eagles that live across a river from me me roosters and the eagles have yelling contest lol they squawk at each other but the eagle never came over once but i would keep the younger ones inside until their bigger and have more of a chance to get away or fight it off .... my rooster a partridge chantecler got in a fight with a racoon and saved me cat from it .. it was night time all you herd was the rooster crowing and squawking and going over to the fighting and then it all stopped

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