hawks and would a rooster defend hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by brockton chicken lady, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. brockton chicken lady

    brockton chicken lady Hatching

    Dec 4, 2010
    hi all,

    i've had laying hens for 10 years or so . until recently i'd only lost one hen to a hawk. HOWEVER, in the last week i lost 2 hens and have had frequent hawk sightings around my
    backyard chicken coop. in general hawks have become much more plentiful in the past few years. they're beautiful birds but i don't want them eating my chickens !

    i've never had a rooster. would a rooster give my hens any protection? maybe by sending up an early warning call???

    any info greatly appreciated.

  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    A good roo is often/usually more watchful and may send them into bushes if a hawk is spotted. Of course if he stands his ground, which some roos do he would be lunch instead of the hens. I've had roosters fight back when neighborhood dogs come around etc, depending on the predator it works, or else he just dies and gives the girls time to get away.

    All that is why I like to keep a couple roosters around, of course that has it's own problems, but that's how it goes. They have to protect the hens from outside danger, but get along with each other. It's a balancing act, but I love having a roo around.
  3. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009

    Roosters offer a modicum of protection, but not as much as a covered run would. Roosters can't be everywhere at once, so the chances of losing birds to hawks would still be there. And the rooster may save the hens by being the first one to get eaten but that isn't a great long-term strategy.

    I have my chicken run covered in plastic deer netting. It's cheap and effective. I have my waterfowl pen open because its size and shape are not conducive to being covered. Around the duck pen I have CDs hanging, fishing line strung around, lots of sparkly flashing things and a fake owl. None of that stuff stopped a migrating red-tail from snapping up a duck last fall, but it has definitely given the resident hawks pause. I am not losing as many birds to hawks as I had been, but still not 100% effective.

    The only truly effective method for stopping hawks is to cover your run.

    Good luck.
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA

    A good roo will keep an eye out for danger and give the warning for the hens to take cover, but he's still no match for a hawk. I freerange too and lost a SLW roo to a hawk or eagle a few months ago. I'm sure he gave the warning and then stayed in the open just a bit too long.

    There are a bunch of threads (search button on the blue bar at the top of the page) on here about detering hawks. I've got tons of cover around here or I'm sure I'd have had more losses. People without a lot of natural cover seem to have had some luck by adding hiding places for their birds and a lot of folks swear by running heavy duty fishing line around the yard and/or hanging cd's.

  5. KCchickens

    KCchickens Chirping

    Aug 31, 2010
    Fayette county, IL
    First of all....[​IMG]

    a rooster usually will set off the alarm that something isn't right and everyone should hide. However I have a roo named courage the cowardly chicken because he sees them and hides... Doesn't warn anybody:rolleyes: your best bet would be some sort of covered run, or hanging fishing line with bits of brightly colored tape hanging off it to blow in the wind and help deter hawks. There are plenty of threads about that here. You should use the search bar.

    But if you really don't want a covered run or the hassle of fishing line. You could get a roo to help. I just keep a watchful eye on my little guys. Good luck!
  6. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    My gamecocks will attack hawks, and the smaller cooper(chicken hawk) don't want a fight with them. Guess the meal not worth it [​IMG]. Now they are no match for redtail which lucky they rather kill small animals not birds(yes i know they do sometimes)

    Ever see all those gamecocks tie out with the blue barrels, ever wonder why hawks don't attack them. now most of those guys do have electric wire around outside the area.

    Only thing can't keep more than one free ranging.....and he better not be able to get to the other gamecocks.

    They can be around other rooster, they will be top of the pecking order. They will also stop any other fights, be it hens, or younge roosters.
  7. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    My rooster has not had to fight anything. That would probably be a one-time thing.

    But he has been successful in defending the flock in a fashion that can work more than once.

  8. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Songster

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    My rooster gives warning, but it has not prevented losses to hawks. Even my flock guardian (Belgian Malinois) gets frustrated at hawk attacks. I came home after losing one nearly grown BA cockerel and she was walking on her hind legs barking mad, really off the scale. She was looking up at the trees, going from one to another. All I found the next day was a few feathers below a tall hickory tree 100 yards from the house.
  9. Amigatec

    Amigatec Songster

    Jan 31, 2010
    Haskell Oklahoma
    I just lost a chicken this morning to a Hawk, my Rooster was at the other end of the yard. But Mr. Remington was on duty.

  10. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    Quote:FYI--Killing birds of prey is a big bad no-no and carries a hefty fine and possibly jail time, certainly not something to brag about on an open forum.

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