Hawk Problem

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by campyconnors, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. campyconnors

    campyconnors Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2014
    Hello,
    So my chicken (and duck) coop is built in 5 major sections. The chicken coop (where the chickens sleep and lay), the chicken run, (mainly for the chickens but ducks visit a lot :) ) the duck house (where my ducks sleep), the duck run (small fenced in area with netting overhead. Has a pool for them and some grass, chickens love it there too!) and the main run (actually an old converted tennis court that doubles as a garden). So, since I got my flock (4 chickens, 2 ducks) back in April, they've been semi-free ranging in the main run. This main run is about 500 square feet and has no over head cover, especially now that the leaves have fallen. The birds love to run around there, grazing on plants, forging for insects, ect. When I first started doing this, I was very worried about hawks. There are a lot where I live (CT) and I'm sure they'd love my birds as an afternoon snack. My concerns, however, went away when I saw them run for cover every time a hawk was near by. I knew they could take care of themselves. This was during the summer; when they were pullets. The hawks departed for a long time after that and I didn't see them very much at all. This weekend, however, I heard that familiar screech and saw a massive red tailed hawk over head. This time, I was much more concerned. My flock didn't seem fazed by the hawk at all. I quickly got them out of the main run and into the enclosed area. I let them out again when the hawk left. Thinking it would leave, I let them out to semi-free range again today. I didn't get any issues until late today. I was raking leaves and I suddenly heard the birds going berserk. I looked over to see the same hawk (he hangs around my yard quite a bit) from yesterday trying to carry one of my ducks away. Luckily, he was not able to get a good grip on her and flew away empty handed. She was not injured at all. Strangely enough, the birds didn't run for cover and continued grazing. Not even my duck seemed phased by it. So here's my issue. 1. My birds don't run away anymore. They just wait there like sitting ducks (no joke intended). 2. The simple solution is to put the birds inside the run and not let them free range. I'm not sure how that will affect them, though. They are very plump, healthy birds with very good diets and keeping them restricted to the coop could make them unhappy. I'm just wondering what you think is more important. Should I let them keep free ranging or should I keep them in the (rather large) coop for the time being. Please let me know what you think. Thanks so much!
     
  2. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just put game bird netting over my almost 900 sqft run using one of these http://www.amazon.com/Best-Choice-P...8&qid=1415600047&sr=8-1&keywords=game+netting

    I have a similar situation, the chicken house, a secure run, then a big uncovered run, 56 x 16. I used some hog wire rings and pair of hog nosed pliers to fasten it to the sides. Stretches out nice and flat across the top.

    I had just redone my large run w/automatic door opener, replacing all the lumber with 7' treated, aviary wire under some 2x4" field fencing (the old stuff which was only 4 ft). I had foxes and hawks just rattling my nerves.

    Anyway, I ran a hot wire around the top, the netting keeps the hawks out and is a backup to the hotwire for foxes and coons who try and make a quick entry.

    I'm super happy with how it came out. I should take some pictures and post them. Just note this is 50x50 netting and I had to cut (put it up first) to get 56x16'. Connected again with the little hog rings. Those things are wonderful.
     
  3. campyconnors

    campyconnors Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2014
    Uhh whoops... I did a bit of a miscalculation. Its 5000, not 500 square feet... So looks like covering it wont be an option. Not entirely sure what to do about it. I think my best bet is just to let them out when I'm watching and keep them in the run when they're alone. The hawks don't show up late in the day, so Ill just let them out then as well. Thanks for the help, though!
     
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Just call me an ogre but I think that live and [​IMG]unhappy poultry are better than the dead but cheerful kind.

    Sorry if I come off a little gruff.
     
  5. campyconnors

    campyconnors Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2014
    Yeah thats what I thought. Besides, the coop is very large. Ill just watch them when they're out. Thanks for you're opinion!
     

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