Hawk swoops down over me repeatedly going after my girls.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by the simple life, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    I now have a hawk that is apparantly not afraid of us.
    I took the dogs out for a romp in the yard, because the chickens were out freeranging I stayed there.
    I decided to bring the dogs in and as soon as I rounded up the last one a bunch of hens came running up behind me actually getting into my house and sqwaking like crazy, it was a sound I have never heard them make.
    My husband yelled from the kitchen that he just saw some of the hens diving behind the bushes from where he was watching from the window.
    I knew something was going on, but I had just been outside.
    It all happend so fast, I ran outside and there was a hawk sitting right over my head on the ledge of the roof, literally only a few feet over me.
    He took off and went up to a tree.
    He must have been in the yard the whole time but was waiting for me and the dogs to go in or something because he did not waste any time.
    We started running through the yard checking on all the girls,(we have 29 outside today) some were hiding in the coop already but the rest were hiding everywhere.
    The hawk swoops down over me near the coop and my husband starts yelling for me to watch out.
    It goes up to a different tree, the hens were all screeching and I am still trying to count them when he makes a third swoop down right over my husband and I.
    I mean I could see this thing's eyes. He got so close it was scary.
    It doesn't look like a juvenile either, I am pretty sure its an adult.
    I had no idea they were so brazen. Thanks the lord that the girls had the sense to hide the way they did and I had one rooster circling the coop protecting his girls.
    After all was said and done we found them hiding in some funny places, but at least they were safe.
    I hate to have to keep them in on such beautiful days but this is really unnerves me.
    He didn't seem scared of us at all.
  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I was thinking yesterday that the hawks are probably more aggressive over the winter months because food is not as abundant. Many migratory birds have left for the winter months and the rodents are less active. That leaves our chickens more vulnerable.
  3. MayberrySaint

    MayberrySaint Chillin' Out

    Mar 7, 2007
    Mount Airy, NC
  4. dancesWchickens

    dancesWchickens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2008
    Davis, CA
    Ya, our local hawks seem to be pretty brave too. My chickens range free 100% of the time in my backyard, which is surrounded by a high fence and high walls, but the hawks can swoop right down in there and land on top of them, and have done so when I'm outside in the yard. I lost 8 pullets that way before I strung up some kitchen twine between the trees. I made a loose spiderwebby thing about 7 feet off the ground, with the largest opening about 6 feet wide. It doesn't look so wonderful, but the hawks just won't fly under it. I haven't lost a chicken in a couple of months now (knock on wood). The trees are losing their leaves now, so I'm going to have augment my "web" for greater coverage. A huge redtail hawk landed a few feet from my 14-year-old daughter the other day: it was after some chicks who were huddled under a bush. My kid (bless her heart) chucked the banana she was eating at the hawk and then started screaming, jumping, and waving her arms. The banana hit the hawk square in the face, hard, and the screaming did the rest...that poor hawk probably had a heart attack. It screamed, flew away fast, and we haven't seen it for awhile.

    My advice: carry a banana with you at all times
  5. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    I just happen to have a bunch of bananas too!
    This hawk has been hanging around all day.
    After it finally flew off earlier I thought that would be the last we saw of him today, but he has been back three more times.
    He now knows where to find his prey and it stinks.
    I am lucky that there is alot of places for the chickens to hideout in the yard when he comes but you just pray that they are all fast enough.
    Last week our favorite pullet disappeared from the yard and now I know why.
    The thing is we were working out in the yard and carriage house in and out of there all day long while they were out.
    Then all of a sudden I can't find her and we searched high and low and saying well nothing could have gotten her while we were out there but couldn't figure out how she could have gotten past the fence.
    But now I know that this hawk probably just swooped down while we had our backs turned.
  6. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    The redtails especially seem to have lost all fear of humans. I have one here that sits on one of the run fence posts. I keep a broom by the back door and he doesn't fly off until I am almost within swatting range.
    My yard is literally over flowing with squirrels, rabbits and more species of wild birds than you can count. The squirrels sit in the trees and bark at the hawk all the while the rabbits continue to munch on the apples that have fallen from the trees. I wish he would harrass the wild creatures as much as he terrorizes my poor chickens.

  7. jonusko

    jonusko Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 11, 2008
    Garden Valley, CA
    If the hawk is swooping down so close and you are present, I think I would try using a garden hose on it. A shot of water may be enough to make it think twice and not hurt the hawk.

    I have had just about every predator kill my chickens, but not a hawk from what I can tell. I have seen hawks flying overhead and sometimes landing high up in the pine trees, but our presence or our dogs presence seems to make them leave.
  8. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Oh, yeah-- I like a nice hi-power spray nozzle, too. Not as permanent as SSS but, they don't like it either. . . Especially if your weather and water is getting nice and cold.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
  9. dancesWchickens

    dancesWchickens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 6, 2008
    Davis, CA
    I was never fast enough with the garden hose or the water balloons we piled up in anticipation of a visit by a hawk. Once they strike a chicken it's all over with bc they typically break the bird's back immediately. We were able to chase them off after a strike but the chickens all died within minutes. The trick is to keep them from striking. You may want to try the string...it's been working great here (so far anyway). Hawks fly over it and look down, but don't seem to want to get themselves under it. Good luck!
  10. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Be careful about recommending SSS or SSSing yourself. It's illegal to tamper with or kill raptors in many places.

    If you're going to SSS, SSADEPAI: "shoot shovel and don't even post about it".

    If you're going to recommend that someone SSS, and not just in jest, it's best to do so via PM.

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