Hawk Problems...Share your stories...What works for you?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Summerlove, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Summerlove

    Summerlove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So two days ago, I was giving my silkie mommy and her babies some coop time while the rest of my girls were outside (weather has been cold and wet). My coop has a small run attached with cover but I don't confine my hens to their run I let them free range in my yard. While everyone was content I came inside. About an hour later I went out to find a hawk eating my bantam black wyandotte. :( All my girls had ran behind some wood I have leaning against the fence. I feel terrible they weren't able to get back in their coop! Yesterday I didn't let them out of their run for fear he would come back. I will soon be adding a larger run that is covered but I don't want to confine my hens for too long they are used to being out and want to go out. My questions are: Will he likely come back? Someone told me to put more coverage for them outside. If I put more leaning wood/ some tables/ chairs on the lawn. Will they have more of a chance to get away? I don't have a rooster. Also during the attack my cat was inside. My cat is a great hunter would the hawk come around with him out? Should I make sure my kitty is outside? Any suggestions are appreciated.Thanks all!
     
  2. fmernyer

    fmernyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'd be interested in what works, too. My yard has quite a bit of cover and when a hawk (I think it was a red shouldered) got one of my girls - I found them both behind and sort of inside a bush. So I wonder how far a hawk will go to chase their prey. The cover didn't seem to help but since I didn't actually *see* the attack I'm not sure why not.
     
  3. Summerlove

    Summerlove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard that they may dive right into a bush, but I'm not sure. When the hawk got my bird she was almost in the middle of the lawn. She was an older bird who I think was caged most of her life. I didn't get to see the attack but I'm not even sure if she would have known to take cover...Just to be safe I've put out some hiding spots. I had some lattice lying around so I leaned it up around the yard so they have some coverage wherever they are. I had an old louver door that I have set up like a tent in the middle of my yard. It kinda looks like a tornado went through my yard. LOL. How long have you had your birds? Have you lost many to hawks? Would love to hear what others have to say as well..:)
     
  4. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have five birds that have a secure coop for night, but they range an acre and half during the day. i had a hawk hit one of my girls (i have heavy breeds) & there were alot of feathers on the ground - but my huge black australorp attacked the hawk. i heard the commotion & came out just in time to see the hawk lift off & away. the rooster wasn't hurt & amazingly neither was my girl.
    they have quite a few hiding places - but i can't give them complete protection while letting them range. so they and i take the risk.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Do not treat hawk problem only as a short-term concern. If your interest in chickens is long-term, then begin changes that will come into effect a year to two down the road. Best short-term option is confining birds. Work at increasing available cover which might include changes in planting and pruning. You indicate no rooster, then fix that if you can and do not use a bantam or fluffy breed. Larger is better. Avoid the hen only / juvenile only flocks as with those you are only feeding hawks whicih is not fair to chickens. A dog out with birds is difficult to beat as a method for reducing losses to hawks. I do a combination of the above with numerous hawks (red-tail and Coopers only significant species) and seldom loose a bird to them despite free-ranging very small juveniles. I do nothing to directly threaten raptors and think they are cool.
     
  6. fmernyer

    fmernyer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I now have 5 - only lost the 1 (so far!) to a hawk. They aren't quite a year yet but they are red sex links so they're pretty large, considering.

    I guess like bj taylor and centrarchid are saying - we take the risk - or we don't - but the hawks will be back. At least I know mine will. We know there are several hawks in the area and at least one owl because we've either seen them or heard them calling. I know I'm darn lucky that they didn't hunt from my flock sooner.

    I understand the raptors gotta eat, too - (I almost considered leaving him my dead bird so he could finish what he started!) so I won't 'hassle' them - and I sure like the idea of their free ranging and eating the ticks in our yard! But since I only have the small flock (and despite chicken math haven't the room for too many more) - I think it'd be a bad idea for me to keep feeding the raptors - lol. *sigh* It was nice while it lasted.

    I'm considering a permanent run - with plans to maybe pasture them or something so I can keep them moving around and eating good stuff (and the place I want to put the run doesn't get direct sunlight).

    For right now I'm stringing cd's from my trees (with yarn for now out of desperation - it looks pretty crummy - lol) and I'm thinking about other ideas like crisscrossing some string across the yard....and more cds...yeah - not many ideas from me - lol.

    I'm not sure if we're allowed to have roosters - but even then - wouldn't we be potentially trading one problem for another? I know it depends on the animals but...

    ...same thing with a dog. If I thought I could free range more often with a dog I'd run out and pay the adoption fee right now!!
     
  7. Summerlove

    Summerlove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will be building a much larger run for my girls as well. I'm not allowed to have a rooster so that isn't an option. Right now I am keeping my dog out whenever they are out and I did increase their cover.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Cover from hawks tend to work against chickens when a four footed predator like a red fox shows up. In the latter case wood piles etc are more likely to cause your hens to go to ground where the fox can catch them faster. Think of it like you are providing Renard the Red with the props for an Easter Egger roll. [​IMG]
     
  9. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    My Coop
    Our Number one defense for Birds of Prey. A large Roo. I've never been so pleased for that happy mistake. They really do make the difference.

    Cover, cover, cover: Picnic tables strategically placed, decks, trailers, RVs, cars, bushes and creative landscaping.

    I've heard also of stringing a matrix monofilament or fishline across the yard overhead. That has worked for somebody here on BYC . Difficult tho' if you have a large yard. And to be honest monofilament tangling and shall we say polluting my landscape doesn't sit all that well with me. But you'll have to determine where your own values are with that. [​IMG] Maybe I'd feel different if I didn't have a rooster and lost a hen or two.
     
  10. farmer boy

    farmer boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    people say keep crows around and they will fight off the hawks or even eagles but i hate crows i kept them around until one ate my chick i have roosters every where at my place cats do nothing to help with the air predators i have a bald eagle around me that is none to eat cats and my roosters chase my cats away anyways .. i have been attacked by a hawk but he went for my biggest and mean'st hen and she was to big for him to even lift off the ground some rooster shave killed hawks before and roosters are good to keep around they will make a call to tell the hens if he sees a hawk or bird in the sky and the hens will run away to hide .. my never run from a bird in the air they are not scared of them or anything ... i have many different types of roosters around 3 big ones that walk the yard .. i have bantams around and nothing will attack my birds but to keep hawks away idk of nothing but roosters to help
     

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