Hawk question

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by 3chickchicks, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got three full grown hens and two that are around 15 weeks that free range in my urban backyard. I caught a redtailed hawk this morning trying to snatch one of the little ones! I saw something big swoop by the window then heard the birds freak out. I went out and found the hawk sitting on the fence. My going out scared the hawk away. Everyone is okay. I went ahead and locked them in the run until I can settle down a little.

    My question is, is the hawk unlikely to return after an unsuccessful attempt and then me scaring it off?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  2. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    We had a hawk come and we went out just in literally just got on the hen! We scared it off before it could do real damage. It kept coming back now and then so I think that hawk will come back.
     
  3. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, he'll be back now that he knows he's got a chicken dinner waiting for him. I am not an advocate of free-ranging.
     
  4. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Whether or not he was unsuccessful and that I scared him off doesn't matter?
     
  5. familyfarm1

    familyfarm1 Overrun With Chickens

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    No it doesn't he will try try again!
     
  6. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    Short answer is Yes!!! And, if you are on or near a migratory flight path for hawks he is not going to be the only one. We get several a day, usually they circle up high and then drift down to see what is on the menu. So far we have managed to scare them away by just going out. Our geese are really good at alerting us that something is amiss and the dogs react to that and we react to the dogs.

    And, yes I do free range everyone but in a controlled range not loose in a large field unless I am out there with them.

    Also, as much as you might want to do it, you can not just go out and shoot the hawk. They are protected under treaty with Canada as part of a raptor migration treaty. If they become a real problem you can apply for a permit to shoot as part of a control but the permits are not easy or cheap to get.
     
  7. 3chickchicks

    3chickchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm in the city so even if shooting them were allowed, I wouldn't just because it is too dangerous for other people to be doing so.

    The older birds were inside the coop and hiding. It was the two little ones who were out. As skittish as they are, I'm surprised they didn't hide the minute they saw a hawk. The older birds keep a sharp lookout and know exactly what a hawk is even without ever having been attacked (this is the first). Maybe once the flock assimilates a little more, they'll learn from the older girls?
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with everyone who said that the hawk will return and return and return... that is until it has exhausted "your" supply of poultry.

    Posters here report hawks attempting to take hens within arms length of their owner.

    I had a similar experience year before last with a hawk taking an Orchard Oriole within spitting distance.

    The problem is that hawks today are insufficiently afraid of chicken shepherds.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Your red-tailed hawk is there first for a predictable and easy to catch prey assemblage which is dominated by small rodents. Chickens are targets of opportunity. Most hawks never eat a single chicken during their entire lives and those that do tend to be repeat offenders. If your chickens are the primary target, then confining them for a couple days will be enough to cause that hawk to move on unless it is actually after the previously mentioned rodents. I free-range with hawks hunting my place for smaller prey all they time yet very seldom loose chickens to hawks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  10. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great
    Great post.
    I've had red tails (usually juveniles) fly right by me (felt the wind) and go after my hens.
    There is one post here in this thread in which the poultry keeper does well with free ranging and hawks.
    I personally believe it is area dependent. Simply what is the supply of "natural" prey for the hawks?
    I had one hawk return 6 days in a row and kill a hen in their run. It was a new set up and had not had the time to cover the run. It was completely irresponsible of me to let the hens out after the second kill until I covered the run. The prey was too easy (slow and confined in a pen) and thus why should the hawk chase down rabbits, squirrels, mice, wild birds etc.
    Once I got the netting up that night when I went out to lock up the hawk came back (I knew he would) but apparently he thought he could breach the netting. He got all tangled up and died from apparent stress.
     

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