Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by roosterroost, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. roosterroost

    roosterroost In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2010
    Our 6 hens often free-range in out larger, urban, fenced backyard. Today, I heard complete mayhem from the hens, only to witness what appeared to be a hawk swooping through the yard. I ran out and scared if off our fence, and didn't lose any hens. (The main target, however, appeared quite distressed; when I put her back in the coop with the others, she sat still in the corner, with her head completely bent forward. They are all acting fine now.)

    I do not have a separate, larger run that I can cover. Plus, that is just not realistic for our space. I obviously can't cover the entire yard with netting. Any other ideas to protect them, other than only letting them out when I am outside?

    I assume this hawk will return, now that he knows there are hens around, right? Will this hawk be a year-round problem for me?

  2. chickened

    chickened Crowing

    Oct 2, 2010
    western Oregon
    He will return, I had to deal with one this year myself 8 lost is enough and he just would not stay away.
  3. back4roosting

    back4roosting In the Brooder

    Aug 22, 2011
    We have a lot of Red Tailed Hawks in this area and I'm just waiting for one to discover my little flock of hens. I've heard that you can hang some CD's on strings around the yard that apparently are a deterrent to birds of prey. I've thought I might try that if I ever have an issue.
  4. Mama Hen Chris

    Mama Hen Chris Songster

    Aug 24, 2010
    Peoria, AZ
    This is what was sitting on the fence (between the pool and patio) by my back door. Apparently it took a dip in our pool and sat for an hour to dry. I tried to shoo it away but to no avail. My girls were locked in their covered run and were hiding under their patio squawking. It never went near the girls or even saw them. The hawk flew away after it dried off and has not been seen since.




  5. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    I used to enjoy watching the hawks so much before we got the hens.Awesome looking birds.

    You could hold the chickens in for a few days hoping the hawk goes away.We have resident ones so no use for that. All you can do is put up deterents and hiding spots and hope for the best.
  6. ragnar1107

    ragnar1107 In the Brooder

    Jul 28, 2011
    Elkhorn Wisconsin
    I think that's a coopers hawk, a little smaller that a redtail but just as much a problem for us flock owners. I noticed a couple of weeks ago my chickens we acting weird, all inside the coop on a beautiful warm day. I went out to check on them and the biggest redtail hawk came swooping low over our garage and over our coop. It must have been sitting up in the pine trees watching the chickens in their covered run. Really beautiful birds but having chickens sure does change your attitude.
  7. judyc

    judyc Songster

    Mar 10, 2009
    Lafayette, IN
    When the leaves come off the trees, I either put the chooks in the barn or into a tractor. Otherwise, I'd be feeding one to the hawks.
    Right now, I've got electronet fence around the back yard. The fellow next door has aquired a white german shepard. Beautiful dog, but I'd just as soon keep him out of trouble. The electronet doesn't work so hot for chickens, but it works GREAT for dogs!

  8. MamiPollo

    MamiPollo Chirping

    Mar 6, 2011
    My Coop
    Those are some great pics of that hawk, but I agree that it is spooky having him in your yard. We have Coopers hawks and Red Shouldered Hawks.

    One afternoon I heard a terrible ruckus outside and ran out to find my Goldie (araucana) with her head stuck through the chain link, trying to run through the fence, while a Coopers hawk sat on the fence rail a few feet above her just watching. It seemed more curious than anything. The hen is much larger than the hawk.

    I chased the hawk away, but since then the girls have seemed very cognizant of the hawks and spend a lot of time hiding out.

    I have the shiny stuff in my yard, as well as a scare crow. There are also crows and blue jays here who chase them off. The dogs next door also seem to be a deterent. The hawk sightings are more frequent when the dog & his people go to the lake for a few days.

    The shiny things, scare crows, etc. seem more effective if you relocate them and switch them out frequently.

    Oh, one shiny thing I got that they do not seem to like is a silver metallic shade that goes in the front window of your car. I hung it on my clothes line.

    Keep in mind that the shiny stuff is only effective at all on bright, sunny days. On overcast days there is no sunlight to reflect.
  9. roosterroost

    roosterroost In the Brooder

    Jul 19, 2010
    Thanks for all of the ideas, and those photos are amazing. We saw a hawk circling our street today. I'm not sure if it was the same one, but what does that matter, really... Right now, we are going to only have them out free-ranging when we are home and within earshot of the yard or actually out in the yard. I'll try the ideas, also. I suspect this is not our last hawk visit.

  10. Somebody else posted a while back, "Hawks? Just another reason to stand outside in the sunshine (on hawk duty) holding a broom and staring at the beautiful blue sky"

    I bring a kindle or a good e-book, spend a couple hours puddlin' around outside, its a treat. Most people these days never have the time. Take the time. You won't ever regret it. You'll see the sky like God wants you to.

    And hawks may ALSO be looking for what your chickens catch and eat. If they catch a chicken, that's fine with them but they are also scoping out whatever your chickens catch, and they will catch those things, too. Last autumn we spread peanut butter on the birdfeeder post, the squirrels (2 of them at least) never noticed the hawks swooping down on them. (technically that is a bird feeder, too, right?)

    But beware: our hawks have no fear at all of humans. I don't think they even notice us. They're all game for their prey, that's all they're paying attention to. They will grab a chicken right at your feet. I looked up a few good videos on hawks, and now I'm prepared with how to deal with them. They're cool. I hope you really enjoy your new hawk adventure!

    One of ours:

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