Hawk or Dog?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Pelephant, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Pelephant

    Pelephant Out Of The Brooder

    31
    0
    32
    Oct 7, 2008
    Long, long story:

    So, I usually let my chickens out of their coop in the early afternoon to wander around my yard and they always find their way back inside by sunset, in which I go and lock them in.

    Two days ago, I go to lock them in and find that I'm missing one of my Sussex. I spend the next hour poring through the yard with a flashlight, with no luck on finding the missing chicken.

    Morning yesterday, I search again and still don't see anything. Afternoon comes, and I suddenly find chicken feathers and intestines strewn across the lawn. (They weren't there a few hours before either!) I have a suspicion that it was my dog (a large German Shepard), but, thinking it was an isolated thing (the dogs have been with my chickens for the past year with no problems) I don't do anything.

    Today, I let my chickens out as usual, and spent the day outdoors working on the yard and what not. The chickens are happy as usual, I feed the sunflower seeds, and everything seems great. I turn my back for five minutes, and lo and behold, now there's a dead Sussex on the lawn.

    This time, she's got no wounds on her, is still warm, but her neck is floppy and probably broken. In anger, I lock my dog up and take the dead chicken away, mourning over the loss.

    An hour later, I go outside to check on the other chickens. To my horror, I discover that my Red Comet is missing. I spend the next hour poring through the yard again with a flashlight, but find no sign of her.

    Earlier in the afternoon, I saw two hawks circling up in the air. I'm pretty sure they were hawks since I heard the "Kaaww! Kaaww!" sound they make. We were outside near the chickens the whole day, so I didn't think to take any precautions.

    However, I'm not sure whether the culprit are the hawks or my dog. I never did manage to find the body of the first Sussex, however the body of the second one was perfectly whole with no wounds whatsoever. No sign of the missing Red Comet either, no feathers, nothin'. If it was my dog, it is possibly she got to her before she killed the Sussex, since I remember wondering where the Red Comet had gone to a few minutes before I discovered the Sussex's body.

    So my question is, is it possible for a hawk to snatch a full grown chicken bodily away? Or is the murderer my dog, who has expertly hidden the body somehow?
     
  2. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    4,247
    256
    291
    May 18, 2009
    Brooksville
    We are having a problem right now with a hawk. In two days I lost a full-grown light Brahma hen, a buff orp hen, a bantam hen, and a young dark brahma. Only one body was left - my light Brahma. No head, just body and lots of feathers. Last week we lost four others. We were told by a professional trapper it was a hawk or hawks. This is not fun anymore! It's not legal to shoot the hawk and we can't afford an enclosed run right now with hubby laid off from his job, so by the end of next week I imagine we will have no more chickens. These are my babies, hatched in my living room, and I can't even protect them.
     
  3. SimplyForties

    SimplyForties Chillin' With My Peeps

    891
    3
    141
    May 4, 2009
    Carroll County, Va
    Quote:Is your coop large enough to leave them penned in for a few days? Long enough for the hawk to find more fruitful hunting grounds?
     
  4. Pelephant

    Pelephant Out Of The Brooder

    31
    0
    32
    Oct 7, 2008
    I found my what was left of my Red Star this morning, just a ball of intestines and a bunch of orange feathers. Just wondering, what kind of evidence do hawks leave behind?
     
  5. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    4,247
    256
    291
    May 18, 2009
    Brooksville
    According to my trapper friend, they eat the head and neck and leave the body. They also pluck feathers. We have found two like that but mostly they just vanish except for a pile of feathers. We found some feathers/skin under a tree this morning, so I think that is probably the tree where they took one to eat.

    My DH is outside now building a covered 16 x 16 run attached to 2 coops. We have 18 chicks left. Ten will go in that run and the other 8 have their own 16 x 8 foot dog run and coop.

    I sympathize with you, Pelephant. My heart is broken. The hawks instinctly know which ones are my favorites and take them!
     
  6. cgmccary

    cgmccary Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,740
    216
    214
    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    If a hawk, I always recommend getting a big, brave rooster. This has worked for me. An acquaintance's rooster caught up with a Red Tailed that was after a hen and killed the hawk. His was one of the larger Game Roosters. I have seen my Rooster run at hawks.

    You might also consider getting a good fake owl-- hawks fear the Great Horned. Move it around so it is not in one place.
    Something like this-- the ones with moving heads seem to work better:

    http://www.biconet.com/critter/rotatingOwl.html

    Pelephant wrote: . . . Morning yesterday, I search again and still don't see anything. Afternoon comes, and I suddenly find chicken feathers and intestines strewn across the lawn. (They weren't there a few hours before either!) I have a suspicion that it was my dog (a large German Shepard), but, thinking it was an isolated thing (the dogs have been with my chickens for the past year with no problems) I don't do anything.

    This does not have the description of a hawk kill. If a hawk kills a bird, it eats it right there on the ground if it is unable to lift it (a large hen, say >6.0 lbs)-- after it eats a portion, plucking feathers, it eats certain parts, like the back and breast but it would not leave intestines strewn; once the carcass was lighter, it would take it to a tree or leave it. There would not be the messy entrails left scattered. The Hawk would eat the muscle meat. Hawks take only one bird at a time & would not leave a whole bird. Unfortunately, I suspect your dog or some other dog here.

    Sjisty:We are having a problem right now with a hawk. In two days I lost a full-grown light Brahma hen, a buff orp hen, a bantam hen, and a young dark brahma. Only one body was left - my light Brahma. No head, just body and lots of feathers. Last week we lost four others. We were told by a professional trapper it was a hawk or hawks. This is not fun anymore! It's not legal to shoot the hawk and we can't afford an enclosed run right now with hubby laid off from his job, so by the end of next week I imagine we will have no more chickens. These are my babies, hatched in my living room, and I can't even protect them.

    I wouldn't let anything keep taking them, one by one-- I suggest SSS (Shoot, Shovel, Shut-up.​
     
  7. TheBirdhouse

    TheBirdhouse Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    22
    Jun 15, 2009
    I am sorry about your loss:(

    I woke up the other morning and found a raccon trying to get in the run, it appeared wounded and sick by how it was acting and i could see its one leg was messed up , i decided to shoot it because of that, i know if i had chased it off it definatly would have come back at a better time when i couldnt stop it, i now have a large live trap and will use that now. I will relocate what i trap in a safe far area, I live in a remote area in the bush so its easy to do.


    I myself wonder that maybe the hawk had swooped to get the chicken, and being as it had to do this quick, i think that maybe when the hawk grabbed the chicken it didnt have a good grip and it dropped the chicken. I am aware the hawks are good hunters and rarely miss but it is still a possibility, nothing is perfect, just my thought.

    As for the other chickens, like the insides scattered and stuff? Maybe the dog found the carcass somewhere and had dragged the intestines and stuff, i think the dog is innocent on killing the chickens, but guilty on finding carcasses, i also think that this is the work of multiple hawks on the same day.
     
  8. Sjisty

    Sjisty Scribe of Brahmalot

    4,247
    256
    291
    May 18, 2009
    Brooksville
    OK - another one lost, Puddles my dark Brahma roo. That makes 5 in 2 days, plus 4 more last week. Not a hawk - I have a trapper friend who is coming out tomorrow with traps. No more free ranging for me.
     
  9. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Chillin' With My Peeps

    592
    7
    151
    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Sounds like a dog killing them and something else eating them. Maybe some other varmint like a possum or racoon came by and ate what the dog left. Doesn't take long for them to seek out an easy meal.

    So sorry for your losses. Hope you find out what did it for sure.
     
  10. allanimals21

    allanimals21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    684
    1
    141
    Aug 27, 2009
    MN
    We had a similar situation to that...crazy enough it was the coyotes coming in a killing everything and then the fox would take what wasl left behind. I caught them on my Trail Cam. This year I ended up chasing the coyote out of my yard on foot in the middle of the day. They get brave after awhile and don't care if your there or not. My thought is that maybe there were pups involved and thats why there were bodies left behind. Maybe they didn't know what to do with them? Thats just my experience with the nasty things
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by