Hawk or something else?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by themenagerie, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. themenagerie

    themenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've lost 3 birds this week, a 9 week old pullet, a hen and a rooster. My chickens and coop are enclosed in a fairly large chain link pen, maybe 20 x 40. I noticed last week that I couldn't find one of my pullets at bedtime, but figured she was just huddled under someone else. In the am she was still missing and there was a pile of feathers in the run that were definitely hers. The same day she went missing I noticed that all my birds were inside the coop/or under it in the middle of the day, but it was rainy and I was short on time so I thought nothing of it at the time. The same day the pullet disappeared one of my roos was sleeping outside at bedtime,which is unusual, so I put him to bed on the roost, .the next morning he was dead. At that point I wasn't sure if he'd been sick & I didnt' notice, or if one of the other roo's hurt him, there were no marks on him that I could tell. . Today I had a 8 month old Golden Comet pullet that was completely normal at 8 am dead at 4. She was lying in the middle of the pen with a bunch of loose feathers around her, but no apparent trauma. My experience with sick birds is that you can usually tell that something's up before they die, and they usually find a dark, quiet place to hide when they're ill, they don't just drop dead in the middle of the pen. I'm thinking that maybe I'm dealing with hawk strikes and the other roos are scaring the hawk off before he can eat. What do you all think?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2013
  2. Catfish267

    Catfish267 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    fox? oppossum?. I've seen them in the day before...
     
  3. themenagerie

    themenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's no way in/out unless they're climbing a 6 foot fence. Can a hawk strike kill an adult bird?
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Some foxes, especially grays, but some reds as well can scramble over a 6' fence. Otherwise all does seem more hawk like. Close birds in coop until you have handle on how to stop losses.
     
  5. themenagerie

    themenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think if it were a fox or other predator of that type, it would be taking the bird with them. The chick disappeared, but it's small and easily carried. I don't think a hawk could fly off with a full grown chicken. I'm finding them dead, with missing feathers, but no apparent bites. The hen had some bruising/blood around her eyes, but no sign of punctures that I can see. Can the impact from a hawk strike kill a hen? I was casting about last night for some sort of way to "hawk proof" the pen. I can't put up avian netting since it snows here and breaks under the snow load (been there, done that) . I have lots of baling twine from round bales for my horses, so I spent last night putting up a lattice across the top of the pen. I had no losses today, so I'm hopeful. .
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hawks I deal with (Red-tails and Coopers Hawks) do not kill my impact. They can cause serious damage with talons but that leaves puncture wounds. Some Red-tails might consistently capture large birds like chickens and kill them through asphyxiation by hanging on to the neck. Otherwise they kill by ripping prey apart alive easting as it goes.

    Consider deer netting. It usually does not catch too much snow and is cheap.
     
  7. joan1708

    joan1708 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I saw a small possum crawl through kennel fence. I would think if it could crawl through that, it could crawl through a chain link fence. Also, Do you have weasels in the area?
     
  8. themenagerie

    themenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    During the daytime? These are happening in the daytime. Since I put up my makeshift netting, I haven't had any more losses.
     

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