Hawks and other preditors...

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by NLKN9, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. NLKN9

    NLKN9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2013
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    We have a small flock of 8 and they are very beloved pets. They are in an enclosed run throughout the day, but we try to let them out to free range for a few hours every evening. Lately we've noticed a large hawk hanging around the vicinity of our coop. If we walk to the coop and our hens greet us with any kind of noise, that hawk is in a nearby tree within minutes. We've been afraid to let them out for the past week or so. We also have a very small dog that we are concerned about. It's like that hawk is just waiting for a meal! Is their any advice anyone can give about how to deal with this issue? We feel so awful that our girls haven't been able to free range lately and when we walk to the coop, they immediately go to the back door (the door we let them out of).

    Also, our property in Ohio is mostly wooded and is nestled up against a federal forest area. The coyotes are beyond thick this year. At night they get pretty close to our house and although our chickens are locked in tight at night, they are still a concern for us. Has anyone had any issues with them in regards to their chickens or trying to get into the coop?

    Thanks for any advice. We love our hens and although we know this is just a part of backyard farming, it is still something we would like to avoid our two young kids witnessing at some point. The hawk is definitely the main concern, so any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Realistically, the only way to 100% ensure the safety of your birds is to not let them out of the run. However, I personally believe that taking the risk of losing some is worth it, considering the happiness of the birds when they're on range. I find that they are more productive as well. Whenever I have regular predators, ones who hang around usually in the same spot, I eliminate them. Of course, you are bound to get more, especially if you're in a wooded area. As far as things getting into the coop, as long as you have a good latch on the doors, the only critters I would really worry about would be coons, snakes, and mice/rats. The canines and cats (coyotes, foxes. bobcats etc.) usually will attack birds when they are outside of the coop. I have lost at least ten birds in the last four or so months (to a fox I'm sure), and plan on fencing in a large area of our 15 acres for them to range in to least ease some of my stress on foxes etc. This way they can still have enough space to range, and be a little safer.
     
  3. fried green eggs

    fried green eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 25, 2011
    S.E. Michigan
    Coyotes, hawks, raccoons and other wildlife has been having a hard time this winter because of all the snow and very cold temps. I would keep your birds in a safe fence and give them alfalfa hay, cabbage, flock block, suit cakes etc... to keep them busy in their pens.
    If you think coyotes or other animals could get to your birds - they probably can and they have the motivation to try this winter. Electric fence around the parameter is about the best but, my electric fence on my pens is currently under 2 feet of snow. My birds are pretty content to stay indoors and when they venture out its just to dust bath under the coop, peck at the flock block, alfalfa hay and then back into the coop to stay warm.

    If you put up a martin house and martins move in - they will chase hawks away. Barn swallows also chase hawks and it's fun to watch the aerial show. The hawks find the area not so inviting : )
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2014
  4. CGinJCMO

    CGinJCMO Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2012
    Cole County Missouri
    Last night I startled a hawk (I think- wasn't expecting it and I was just as surprised) that was in my run feasting on a 5 month old pullet. It was in the trees when I let them out this morning (I couldn't keep them cooped up all day). Then tonight, I just killed a possum in my run. I was gone for work this evening and kids had to shut the coop up. They don't do a good job of checking to make sure everyone is in before they close the pop door. Somehow a possum found his way into the run (don't see good tracks in the snow to know how he got in) and found a pullet left out. Luckily, it was trash night and older son was taking trash to the curb when he heard strange noises coming from the coop. He thought we needed to go out there to check it out. I told him to bring his BB gun. Found a pullet stunned and a wing at an odd angle, laying on the ground and a opossum under the coop. DS1 shot it a couple of times with the BBs but they were not doing much so he went back into the house to get the 22. Meanwhile, I'm shining the flashlight on the critter and holding my chicken, not knowing if she's bleeding anywhere. A couple of 22s into the possum take care of him, (I'll have to send DS2 under to drag out the carcass in the morning). After we are sure it's dead, I bring the pullet in to check her out. She seems to be OK. Feathers missing (lots of them in the run area) but otherwise fine. I've got her in a pet taxi, in the bathroom with the door closed (so the cats won't bother her) in the dark. I'll take her back out tomorrow morning. Hopefully, this won't stress her out too much.

    This winter is being hard on my flock and it's not because of the usual reasons...it's because the predators are having a hard time hunting and so they are going after my easy meals. I have tomorrow off so I'll try to figure some way of closing the top of the run and bracing it up (it's roughly 20x30 so it's not going to be easy). If only hubby had the day off too so we could come up with a working plan instead of me trying to figure it out and then it not work and he has to do it better. Two days in a row of attacks, and I don't want to leave them unprotected for another moment.

    CG
     
  5. NLKN9

    NLKN9 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2013
    Ohio
    So sorry to hear about your pullet. :( I finally let our chickens out to free range for a while late yesterday afternoon. Since I was home for the evening and it wasn't unbearably cold, I stayed with them for the most part. They were happy to be out and there was no sign of the hawk that has been hanging around their coop and run. This winter has been rough here and I'm sure the hawk is having trouble finding adequate food. I just hate leaving my girls locked up all day everyday. I'm hoping that once it warms up, the hawk will venture elsewhere!
     
  6. CGinJCMO

    CGinJCMO Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2012
    Cole County Missouri
    I found at Army/Navy store, some heavy camo netting that goes over tanks. Hubby was sick this weekend so we didn't get it put up yet (gotta give it support). Meanwhile, I have flimsy netting to hopefully slow any other hawk that thinks my chickens are going to be his dinner. Haven't seen the hawk on my property, but I don't think he's forgotten about it.

    CG
     
  7. lesgo54

    lesgo54 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    spencer, tn
    I lost my first chicken to a hawk a few weeks ago. Ill be building a bigger run with a net on top soon.
     
  8. rosiec

    rosiec Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2016
    I just found one of my chicks that is about 3 weeks old dead. They have just started getting out of the coop and foraging and loving it. I was only gone a half an hour or so and when I returned one was at the end of their run dead with no head! The remaining 4 chicks were acting spooked and a large crow was hanging about. Do crows do such things?
    Thanks
     
  9. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Inez, ky
    I get my 12 gauge take care of the problem and don't mention it to anyone. Just my way of doing things :)
     
  10. TimCline

    TimCline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Inez, ky
    Crows will kill chicks. If you shoot one and hang it up in a tree they won't come around anymore. They are pretty smart.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016

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