1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Hawk population increased ?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ichoudhury, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    2
    103
    Jan 3, 2011
    Stone Mountain
    I am starting to observe an increase in Hawk population in my area recently.

    Previously I've lost chicken but most of the time had no idea what abducted them (I wouldn't find any trace when they went missing. Recently the attack took place about few feet from me, so I got to witness it. It was a large Cooper's hawk or red tail (I was too shocked to really identify). Fortunately my Roo, Nigel live to crow another day.

    I used to allow my chicken to Free Range all the time but recently they move around under a PVC chicken tractor. I don't like it and chicken don't like it. I can't blame them anyway. But hawks are patrolling the area everyday. Never seen that many around here .

    Maybe a lot of the Hawk family has new edition. Around 2-4pm are the worst time for chicken as Hawk like to glide through our area. Not much I can do other than hang around with them outside or keep them in lockdown.

    How do you protect them from these Avian attack if Free Ranging is something you really like your chicken do?
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,451
    2,079
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I am not clear where you are located but in much of the midwestern U.S. the hawks seem to have had a bad year with respect getting young-of-year birds off and on there own. Drought has not been good for their prey and has likely hampered the hunting of younger less experienced birds. Still, you should be seeing migrants now which in come areas would give impression of increased population size. This apparent increase is likely only for a few weeks unless you are in southern U.S. where many reside for winter.

    I deal with hawk issues using multiple methods. During growing season my young birds are free-range and thus more vulnerable than most poultry to losses by hawks. I compensate by having patches of heavy vegetation birds can go to when a hawk visits. I also have penned adults scattered about place that may confuse hawk initially interested in going after young birds. Very importantly I have a very active dog that responds quickly and aggressively to chicken alarm calls and clearly has an interest in catching hawk.

    Owls can be a problem as well but dog deals with them using a different method that is also very effective.

    Same system thwarts fox as well.

    I have lost only one free-ranging bird to a predator this production season so system works reasonably well. At peak I had 100 birds running about over about 5 acres but you had a hard time seeing more than 25 at any one time owing to cover they used.
     
  3. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    2
    103
    Jan 3, 2011
    Stone Mountain
    My location is Stone Mountain, GA (about 30 min from Atlanta). I have 7 chicken at the moment including the Roo. All are grown but couple of them are Banty which worries me the most. Since my Roo (fairly big) almost became a hawk bait shows how vulnerable they are. Thanks for all the insight,

    It's funny how I used to be so excited to see hawk, falcon , owl or other birds of prey for my photography hobby, but now I wish not to see them. :)
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,451
    2,079
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You are where many hawks will be staying winter. Confinement with overhead protection will be helpfull. What kind of rooster do you have? On walks with game rooster and adequate cover, hawks are seldom a problem. Game roosters (adults) are pretty capable against red-tails and Coopers hawks and if you have need for only one rooster, then game is way to go.

    Bantams and the fluffy breeds will always be problematic with respect to hawks and predators in general owing to either dimunitive size and / or limited mobility.
     
  5. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

    906
    55
    153
    Jun 9, 2009
    Agree with everything Centrarchid said. We don't have a dog, but heavy cover helps a lot, as the chickens seem to instinctively stay under it much of the time, so you cannot even tell they are there. Also, I do all yard/garden work while chickens are out, because human disturbance deters most predators. Our resident hawks quickly learn not to waste time and energy going after our chickens, but during migration time, a lot of new characters are moving through, and you will see more attempts. I had 2 attempts by different hawks on Saturday alone.

    I still love seeing hawks, and hope you find a way to keep your chickens safe, so you can continue to enjoy wildlife, too.
     
  6. Acefit411

    Acefit411 Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    3
    93
    Apr 13, 2012
    Catskill, NY
    I too agree about being excited to see the birds of prey.... until I got chickens in April!

    I have had 3 close calls and now only let my 6 laying hens and 1 rooster out when I can be in the yard with them. I'm so blessed to have an awesome rooster who does his job VERY WELL ~ he is such a good boy! His chicken calls alarm me to overhead danger every time!

    I feel bad that I have to pen my flock up until I can carve the time out of the day to give them a few hours out of the run ... they are very upset with me (they clearly show it), when they can't be out. They went from being out 8-10 hour a days to 2 - 4 hours a day. I will do as much as I can to keep them safe, and happy...

    ~anna
     
  7. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    2
    103
    Jan 3, 2011
    Stone Mountain
    Yes, he's a fluffy one alright :) He's a Chocolate Cuckoo Orpington. I really love the way he looks, so it would have been a shame if he became a "Hawk Bait" :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    So I only let them "Free Range" when I am around. Otherwise, I keep them in their Run or use a Chicken Tractor I built with PVC. They don't like it, but I can't help it .... "Happiness or Life?" I guess I chose life for them ... :)
     
  8. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    2
    103
    Jan 3, 2011
    Stone Mountain
    Yes, indeed. Just about 2 days ago, another Hawk flew over my backyard .... looking for the opportunity. Blue Jays are helping out, but not sure how long I can count on them. Meanwhile, chicken are under lock down :(
    I know exactly what you mean. We are pretty much on the same boat. I have 6 Hen and 1 Rooster (only two started to lay).
     
  9. ichoudhury

    ichoudhury Chillin' With My Peeps

    131
    2
    103
    Jan 3, 2011
    Stone Mountain
    I had the visitor again today. I didn't have the right lens at the time

    [​IMG]

    So ran back and got the right lens, but got caught by then (All Chicken were safe since I kept them under a PVC made Chicken Tractor)

    [​IMG]
     
  10. viejachula1

    viejachula1 Out Of The Brooder

    14
    0
    22
    Apr 7, 2012
    I recently lost one of my hens, and I suspect an owl or hawk, since we live near some trees in back of the house. We have two dogs in the yard, so I know no animal got in, and didn't see any feathers or hints that one of the dogs got her. I finally got around to getting a replacement, and ended up getting two. I got a Yokohama hen and a Black Bantam hen. So now, six hens and one rooster. They say the Bantam lays turquoise eggs... can't wait for the first eg. The only thing wrong is that both girls are smaller then the others, and they are at the bottom of the pecking order... and I wonder if I should have waited to buy larger breeds.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by