Hawk Strike

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by cafrhe, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 1 main flock that is pastured. It has about 25 hens plus an adult BR rooster. I have noticed more hawk activity recently. I am not sure if we are on the path of their migration, or if some hawks have moved in. At any rate, because I work from home, I have been able to witness our Roo guarding the girls against at least 1 hawk. In the last month or so his noise has led me outside where he had all the girls gathered in a safe place around 4-5 times. I see a hawk fly off or over each time.

    I have another small coop where our young chickens are. It has a small penned in area plus a 4'x6' enclosed run that I use with little chicks when they are acclimating to the outdoors. It is currently just sort of sitting in the pen with the 8 young chickens. They can go in and out as they please.

    I was away this weekend and get a text from my husband that a hawk had attacked the young chickens. As he drove down our driveway he saw a commotion (this coop is next to the driveway). He sees a hawk in the baby pen and a chicken run out of the pen and under the coop. The hawk is now trapped in the pen. My text to him was--did you scare the crap out of it? He says yes. But probably not as badly as I would have! It turns out that he had to tip up the pen so the hawk could get out. It was too panicked to find the opening out and escape on its own.

    This is our first actual hawk strike. We went from 8 chickens last March to the 35ish we have now (with more hatching). The chickens are pastured and I sell eggs. I work from home and have 2 gsds who go outside with me often. The rooster does a great job of alerting us to danger and also getting the girls to safety--right now they are outside my house, so have part of the front of the house behind the azalea bushes to hide. I also plan to plant more cover and build some low shelters they can run under.

    Anyway--those who know more about hawk behavior. I have read that if they are successful, you can lose your whole flock as they have a plan and keep coming back. Does anyone think that this hawk's experience was negative enough to discourage it from trying again? Of course this is my hope! Not only did this hawk not get a chicken, it got trapped and had humans within 2' of it.

    I am also wondering if with the size of my flock, if having a 2nd rooster (assuming he is like our current boy) would help with security.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
     
  2. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2014
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    Well....never mind. Went to check chickens about 1.5 hrs after they were let out of the coops. As I was walking down to the (unusually quiet) baby coop, I saw a hawk fly off from a tree approx 200' from the coop. Didnt see a single chick....thankfully they had escaped the bad fencing and were safely under a bunch of bushes in one of the gardens. There will be pen changes this week. Or the babies will be moved into the big chicken pen.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hawk species important.

    Could you confine second rooster with young birds hawk has targeted?
     
  4. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2014
    Western central NJ
    Our main hawks are Redtails. I have seen more recently than in the entire last year we have been here. Maybe I am paying more attention since I have tasty treats on the ground now. My flock are all larger breed chickens with the Ameraucanas being the smallest. I think we have a smaller greyer hawk, but I dont see that type often.

    I only have 1 mature rooster. I do have a 5 month old Rhodebar roo that is larger than the 2+ month old birds. He is crowing and considering how aggressive he wants to be. He could probably be moved back with the babies (he and several Ameraucanas just moved into the main flock area from that pen). The young birds are clearly distrustful of their pen now and refused to go back to it and stay today. They had escaped the attack and ended up in these same bushes on Sat when the hawk attacked. Until I put wire over their pen, I will allow them to hang out closer to the house in the bushes. I have considered letting the in with the main flock, but then worry that they will draw a hawk to my main flock.

    These young chickens are offspring of my mature roo...I am now considering keeping one of the cockerels and hoping he has his daddy's protective instincts. I think the flock is getting too big for 1 rooster. But I guess Luigi is doing a good job, the hawk decided the smaller chickens were a better bet even though they are more enclosed than the main flock.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Rooster to be kept with young needs to be at least 8 months old. The grey look makes me think you are messing with a Coopers Hawk. This time of year males only will be hunting and they woill only target what they can fly back to nest with.
     
  6. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2014
    Western central NJ
    The hawk that tried for a chicken was definitely a red tail.

    I didnt even want the 1st rooster lol...But they seem to be handy to have around. The RB roo has something wrong with him, so he is not too long for this world. Will allow the young boys to grow up and see who is going to stay.
     
  7. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2014
    Western central NJ
    And another ****** hawk attack. I am not liking this spring. I really hope this activity is the tail end of the migration back north and we go back to our resident hawks who leave the girls alone. Granted I have 8 chickens at this time last year and about 30 this year--bigger target I am sure.

    I was cooking dinner last night and have lots of windows. I had let the birds out to free range (from their fenced in pasture) and they had gone across the driveway to where I have my 'sick coop' and there is a ton of leaf litter. They were next to the wire fencing that I havent attached to the posts yet. The rooster was with them. I see a ruckus and flapping and yell Hawk! I run outside yelling and it is already over. The hawk was lifting off and crows were attacking it. The garage door had been open and I had a garage full of chickens. It turns out at least 10 chickens had been across the driveway (I had only seen 3-4 initially through the window). There were no flying feathers, no obvious injuries, just scared chickens. We (daughter and I) tried to check them out with out scaring them further, one huddled under my atv and I thought she needed to be looked at--she disagreed. So we herded them all back to the pen and let them be. They got a thorough checking when they went in for the night and the one (our easter egger, Peck) who had sat down in the garage did have a gash on her back. Not bad at all (the last little roo had a hole in him--he has healed btw), through the skin and some flesh, but I cant see a hole. So she is treated and with the flock.

    Gosh this stressful! I will continue to pasture my birds, but dont want to lose one either. I will probably keep one of the 5 cockerels that were going to freezer camp. One is very similar to his sire--dances for the girls, not overly rough with them. Hopefully he is alert and protective as well.
     
  8. Dsterio

    Dsterio Out Of The Brooder

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    depends on the hawk and the area if it know that there is easy food he will come back. unless something bad happens then he would stay away for a while until he gain his confidence back. or he get hungry enough. if you are going to scare in away like u did it could fly away, AND WHAT HAPPENS if it had CHICKS with most raptor both the parents have to take care of the chicks. if one goes away the hole family will starve to death. i would us more of a deterrent, hawks are mostly shy just like most birds if you put out lights or something that is man made that is effective all over your pen. a couple years ago a lot of the mice died because of a ice storm that came in the early spring so we had hawk troubles because they where all hungry and what say eat me like plump small ducks. We had a couple of hawk and owl attacks. then we put up Christmas lights around the pen and we have never had another problem with them again.
     
  9. cafrhe

    cafrhe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2014
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    They havent been attacked in the main pasture. No more free range unless we are out with the dogs all day. I will probably build a scare crow and get a fake owl. Definitely planting more bushes etc. The pen across the driveway that is for younger chickens will be covered. I will continue to encourage the crows to hang out here.

    I am not terribly worried about scaring the hawk. I am certainly not going to watch it take one of my chickens. Perhaps it will learn that the 300 acres behind me of mixed meadows (kept open for ground nesting birds) and forests is a better place to hunt.

    One hawk got a rabbit in my back yard this winter. Bunny came in to get the bird food the birds dropped. I would be happy to encourage the bunny population...but would rather not lure the fox in.
     
  10. chicknshrimp

    chicknshrimp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2014
    If you can handle caring for more dogs, I always recommend livestock guardian dogs. I have two, and they're still young, but they will chase a hawk before it even thinks about landing, they won't even let it get close. They see EVERYTHING. And they're out with the livestock 24/7, so I can relax and don't have to be thinking about them when I'm trying to do other things. An investment, but totally worth it to feel safe and not have to worry.

    Otherwise another rooster may help a little, mostly just to warn the girls, as the hawk will eventually just kill the rooster, but the girls will have time to hide due to his warning.

    Good luck!
     

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