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Hawk Swoop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Johnboy78, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Johnboy78

    Johnboy78 Chirping

    May 16, 2011
    Saw my chickies dive bombed a second time yesterday in their first month out.
    Red tail hawk, they are always circling somewhere up there.
    They scattered for cover, She and I yelled at it.
    It stopped on the roof about 10 feet up and looked down at us,
    like "Yeah, what are you going to do?"

    If I've seen it twice it must have happened more than that.

    They free range the yard, about a quarter acre. Lotta trees and bushes,
    like there's no spot in the yard where I can grow tomatoes or other sunlovers,
    so they have lots of cover and they spend most of their day under something
    scratching away. They don't expose themselves very much in the open.
    Sometimes I walk out and I can't even find them.

    I'm glad they've got the instincts even at only 13 weeks.
    Hawks are about the only threat here, most of the other potentials
    stay clear of the yard because of the doggies. What I've read seems
    to indicate that the threat diminishes as they get to be full size.
    I've never seen a hawk flying with anything larger than a squirrel
    but I have seen them dive on rabbits. I can't imagine one carrying
    off a full grown rabbit off though.

    Any truth to the idea that the chickens will be safer when they are bigger?

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio

    I've had hawks around my place too, for the past 3 years. I've lost about one young (pullet or cockerel) a year. It's never the full sized hens or roosters. Not sure if that is a coincidence or not....

    I did noticed that the hawks usually fly overhead in the morning hours. There is usually no sight of them after work when I get home at 5:00pm. So if I see hawks, then I'll keep my flock inside until the evening for a few days, and then they will get bored and go away for a while.
  3. 2overeasy000

    2overeasy000 Songster

    Dec 1, 2010
    Hawks don't need to be able to carry it off somewhere. They just kill and eat as much as they can and then fly away. RTHs don't usually target chickens unless they are very hungry and there are not alternative food sources. Younger hawks are a different story. They tend to target everything including other young hawks, while they are learning what is what.
  4. jenni22776rn

    jenni22776rn Songster

    Mar 6, 2011
    Central Maine
    Do not let the fact that there are dogs around make you feels safe from other predators..I myself learned the hard way! I had 3 adult ladies and one young roo that free ranged daily..I have 3 labs and my neighbor also has chickens with a large golden..we have hawks and like you thought that would be the only real threat to them..until one day we heard a commotion and my Roo Russell came running towards me freaking out with half of his feathers missing on his side. A mother fox had tried to grab him in the front yard..this while my DH was mowing the lawn and all 3 of my dogs were out and about..and in fact my neighbors dog was within 5 ft of the fox when he tried to grab Russell...it was an eye opener to me and I now have them penned up with multiple visits from that fox caught...I have been told that a hawk will grab a full grown hen and behead them on the ground...I have never seen this nor do I want to! I think that as long as they have something to hide under for protection that the chances are slim of a attack..but like anything you never know! As I learned the hard way!!
  5. wvfoxhunter

    wvfoxhunter In the Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    Lewisburg, WV
    not really any truth at all to that were I am from.
  6. HomesteaderMel

    HomesteaderMel In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2011
    SW Florida
    Thank goodness we haven't had those problems yet. My flock free ranges all day on a small portion of our 9 acres, and has lots of large oaks to hide under... so far, the hawks have only been going after the plethora of squirrels on the property! Our dog probably helps to scare them away, also!
  7. chickenlips1954

    chickenlips1954 Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    I lost 10 full size hens to hawks last fall and caught one full size mature hawk in the middle of eating my Mille Fleur hen (& one of her chicks) just two weeks ago. Yesterday I counted 8 juvenile hawks and one adult hawk flying over our chicken yards and five acres, all at the same time. They may not be big enough right now to attack and kill a full grown hen, but they can get chicks and they will be full grown in just a short time with very big appetites. I free range my chickens and while I expect to lose a minimal amount to predators, that doesn't mean I won't do everything in my power to keep them safe when I'm at home. Our place provides numerous trees, lilacs, bushes and raspberry bushes that the chickens can hide in and under, but that does NOT stop hawks from killing and eating my chickens, so don't think your chickens won't be targets for hawks just because you have oak trees. The hawks know where they are and if they're hungry enough they will get them. You may have to find other means to protect your flock.

  8. juniper8209

    juniper8209 In the Brooder

    Apr 3, 2010
    Crocker, MO
    I've got anywhere from 3-5 Red Tailed Hawks in my neighborhood throughout the year. Last winter, I lost 3 full grown hens in one day to them. They were too big to carry off, but I found them scattered around the yard with innards everywhere. [​IMG] I even found a dead one INSIDE my chicken run! I was fortunate enough to be on my back porch when one attacked one day...I ran down the steps with my rake determined to play some raptor baseball! [​IMG] Where I live, you can't shoot them to defend your flock...they're legally protected. And it's almost impossible to trap them to hand over to wildlife to relocate.
  9. eggboy

    eggboy Songster

    Jan 23, 2010
    Get an airsoft gun and shoot the hawks every time they are in range.

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