Hawks and smart chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by PatinOxford, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. PatinOxford

    PatinOxford Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    I am fairly new to chicken keeping, and am still trying to figure out the threats in our area. No dogs roaming (the ones that roamed are all dead), foxes don't come up close to the house, no coyote (yet). My chickens range in our tightly fenced 2 acre yard during the day, and are cooped tightly at night. We have almost never seen a hawk closer than 1000 yards away, down in the pasture where there is a lot of rodent habitat.

    But this morning I heard one of the hens "bawking" -- loud, single vocalizations that sounded like the beginning of the egg song. I opened the screen slider and watched as a small hawk, probably an immature sharp-shinned or Cooper's, took off from the ground and flew off over the fields. The girls were deep inside a handy forsythia thicket and under no threat. As soon as I came outdoors, they came out and clustered around me; I walked them to the coop, which is under dense pine trees, and has a covered but tiny run, and they started scratching around there. Now they are messing around just beyond our deck, which also offers excellent cover.

    Do other people's chickens call them when they are in trouble? Red (RIR) knows we will come out and check when she sings her egg song, but she's never used that tone singly before.
  2. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 10, 2014
    Roosters will call when they spot a hawk - they basically tell the hens to get under cover - I wouldn't be surprised to see an alpha hen do the same thing in the absence of a rooster.
  3. fshinggrl

    fshinggrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    the edge of insanity
    Yep, every time I step out into the yard, the rooster will alert the hens. Hawks are no exception. A good rooster is a good protector.
  4. PatinOxford

    PatinOxford Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2014
    No rooster, the coop is right under our bedroom windows and our neighbors would object strenuously ... even though they have 8 dogs that bark without pause. ;)

    The hen who made the racket is the dominant hen. Very interesting.
  5. 2karen22

    2karen22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2015
    I hens make a low tone purr sound. They all stand alert and then walk or make a bee line to some cover (bush, coop, brush, or dog house). They are very savvy.

    Today my husband spotted a hawk on the ground giving a stalking look. He didn't see our hens (5), but didn't see any feathers either. The hens were on the opposite side of the yard. Eye balling the hawk between the fire wood and the huge maple tree trunk that needs to be cut up for fire wood.

    He shooed the hawk away and let our "granny" boxer out just in case the hawk came back.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    They call the alarm but it's not a call for me, it's to notify each other of danger. My dogs will run to the call, but if the flock is close to the house they will use the house for shelter and, if I go out, they will noticeably relax and start to tell me all about it with various sounds. I'll make a show of going out to look for the threat and they will soon follow me out to the open and go back to life as normal.

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