Hawks--A Different Question!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Basel, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Basel

    Basel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2012
    Hi all!
    I'm new to chickens! I have a different twist on the hawk question and will try to make this brief.

    I am currently planning to have ~3-5 hens and keep them in a large [150 sq ft +] area, covered with poultry netting during the day. Coop at night of course. They will not free range unless I am right there [due to fear of predators].

    For those of you that do something similar, do hawks still hang around your property more than before your had chickens? Or do they realize they cannot get to them and move on?

    The reason I ask is I have other wildlife in my yard that I have rehabbed, and I do not want to put them in any undue or extra danger by having chickens.

    I hope this makes sense.
    Thanks much!
  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
    [​IMG]. Even though my birds are secure I still see more birds of prey then I did before the birds.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    What you see and recognize are not always the same owing to you concerns about well being of your livestock. Away from flocks, hawks are usually not a major concern so I do not give them much thought. Around yard I see and log to memory each one I see. This affects my perception of relative abundance around and away from flock.

    Unless hawks have taken to going after your birds, there visits will be to target other animals. You management of landscape as related to chickens may impact abundance or vulnerability of alternative prey species such as rodents and this can influence hawk activity.

    If a hawk has taken to going after chickens and your property is part of its range, then it will likely visit more often. I would not expect such changes in activities until it makes a successfull catch. Hawks seem all about minimizing effort and risk to self.
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    Hawks sit in trees, on fence posts, on telephone lines and they survey. That is what hawks do. It does not mean they are interested in your chickens.

    My experience is that hawks don't sit around focused on meals they can't get.

    My local hawks and eagles are not interested in my poultry. The small hawks occasionally come by and enter the runs and collect sparrows. I've got a great horned owl that swings by a couple of times a month, just in case I forgot to close the coop, but he doesn't hang out just hoping.

    They've got better things to do than to stare at food that is unavailable.

    Now, if you allow them to feed on your poultry, they will certainly check in more often. Chicken makes a nice easy meal when the chicken is just wandering around unprotected.
  5. Basel

    Basel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2012
    Thanks everyone for your replies [and Kevin, for the Welcome]!

    Your experiences have helped me greatly. I believe as long as I keep the chickens well protected and in runs, I should be ok without a big increase in interest from the hawks in my area. :)

    Thanks so much for your help!
  6. jessiduck

    jessiduck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2012
    New York
    Just be careful and take the extra precautions that you feel are necessary. Your instinct is usually always right.
    I 100% agree with not letting them free-range unless your out there with them. I will never let mine do it unless I'm there!
    ALWAYS lock your coop and egg box at night... (I'm sure you know that already lol.)
    Anyway, hawks will always be a problem, but it's up to us to out-smart them.
    I also suggest covering your run with a good and hardy chicken wire!
    It will help prevent attacks.
  7. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I keep my chickens in a large, covered and secure run as well, unless I am there to directly mantle.. I mean, supervise... over their ranging in the yard. I am an active birder and take a keen interest in birds of prey so I am always looking for them anyhow. In my experience in the last year, having chickens around has not increased raptor presence in the vicinity. It is about the same as ever. The populations fluctuate of course, and seasonally and even day to day numbers spotted will change, but the overall trend has proven that the hawks have no interest in hanging out and watching a meal they cannot obtain.

    Penned chickens will sometimes temporarily attract mammalian predators, because they can smell them/their feed (etc), BUT if your run is very secure and such predators have no luck, they tend not to dwell.
  8. hearts34

    hearts34 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2012
    Blount county, AL
    Just remember predators are opportunists and they are territorial as well. They will seek the easiest meal and you will be hit if/when your guard is down. A secure enclosure is a must at night. You still have to be vigilant in the day as well when your birds are out of the run. I don't think they stake out a place like Wile E. Coyote, but they probably have a time when they come thru your part of their territory, maybe once/twice a week or so.
    I haven't noticed more birds of prey now than before we got our birds. My wife has made mention of it, but I believe it's because she didn't have a reason to pay attention to them before.
  9. bauers chicks

    bauers chicks Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 2, 2010
    Southeast Arizona
    Up until 2 weeks ago, I lived in a heavily wooded area in PA. I let my dozen or so chickens free-range when I was at home on the weekends. I had to be extra careful during the early spring & fall when the leaves were off the trees, because this also meant that much of the hawk-food migrates & they migrate along. A few years ago one made a slight detour into my yard and killed one of the hens - it's always one of the better hens. Since then I kept a closer eye out when they were out ranging. I also learned that hawks stay away from crows, so I paid less attention when they were around. I also think they may be more prone to return if they were successful.
  10. Basel

    Basel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by