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Hawks are eating my birds

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by siroiszoo, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. siroiszoo

    siroiszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Waller, TX
    Any suggestions for keeping hawks out? Yesterday, I thought only one was attacking. I found the bird it had been eating and threw it over the back pasture fence. I figured, if it was still hungry it could eat that one instead of killing another one of my birds.

    This morning, it did come back for the remains of yesterday's meal but it has a friend with it. Now I'm battling two very large hawks!

    A couple of days ago, I found an injured bird; thought my horse had injured it. But now I"m thinking, the horse was grazing by the hen when she was attacked. When the horse bucked & kicked and started running around -which caught my attention - I ran out to see what was going on and all I found was the injured bird. The flesh of the bird had been ripped back in the exact location that yesterday's bird and been opened up and eaten. We killed the bird and took her away to dispose of. But now, I'm thinking it was the first hawk attack, followed by the successful kill of my Red Star yesterday.

    Once, last year, I found one of my Cochins had been attacked. Thought it was a coon so I set the live animal trap with the dead bird inside for bait in case the critter came back. To my surprise, the next morning I found a hawk inside with its kill. I drove them out to a far away ranch and dumped the bird & its pray where no one with chickens lived.

    Was about to repeat the process but discovered that;
    A) there are two of them
    B) they are far too big to fit in the live trap.

    Any suggestions?

    PS: I did find it interesting to see that they had come back for the original kill - as smelly and nasty as it was. Is the drought we are in causing them to act desperate or maybe they are feeding babies? Didn't even know they hunted in pairs.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  2. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    is your coop / run area covered? Are you watching as you free range? These are the only methods I know to protect your birds from them. We have a nesting pair of red tailed hawks in our back yard, so I'm very careful with my girls. Their coop/run is an enclosed dog pen (very large one) and reinforced with hardwire cloth, chicken wire and then covered with a tarp over the top (as well as wire underneath that). They only free range when I'm outside watching (and they watch ME to make sure "mom" is close at all times).

    You cant trap a hawk, kill a hawk or do anything to a hawk, not even pick up a feather - they're protected. You can go to jail pretty darn quick if you get caught. [​IMG]
  3. I did not know that they hunted in pair either.

    Detering a hawk that has found "natures snack", namely your chickens can become complex and time consuming.

    Most people who free range need hawk deterents.

    Turkeys, Guineas, Dogs, barn swallows, crows and owls are natural problems for hawks.

    Hawks are VERY sneaky and silent. It is unfurtunate it IS against federal law to kill them. However, they DO have the right to live thier lives as naturally as possible.

    They are NOT wasteful, but it sure hurts when they take one of our babies.

    There are times I have locked the girls up for a few days and the hawks did go away. I am hoping that there will be people here to give you constructiive ideas.
  4. siroiszoo

    siroiszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Waller, TX
    Quote:I'm aware of that, but I figured trapping & releasing is better than shooting PLUS the first time I didn't know I'd be catching a hawk; thought I was going for a coon.
  5. Ducklove334

    Ducklove334 Off to another pond

    Nov 4, 2008
    if they're red-shoulderdd hawks like we have around here, I've seen them in groups of 5 or 6...I imagine they'd hunt that way too.
  6. HennysMom

    HennysMom Keeper of the Tiara

    Quote:I'm aware of that, but I figured trapping & releasing is better than shooting PLUS the first time I didn't know I'd be catching a hawk; thought I was going for a coon.

    I cant tell you what to do on this front, but I will tell you dont get caught.... again, even having a feather of a bird of prey is against the law.
  7. siroiszoo

    siroiszoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2009
    Waller, TX
    Quote:This is helpful. I may lose a hen to a hawk about once a year; no big deal. But the pair that are hunting and turning my chicken pen into their version of Mickey D's is a bit disconcerting. Especially when we were about to let our baby orpingtons & australorps out for an adventure this weekend. Guess that will have to go on hold.

    When I realized how big the problem was this morning, I managed to round up the hens and get them back into the chicken yard but will have to wait til this evening to get them all rounded up and back into the hen house. Guess I will try keeping cooped for a few days and see how it goes.

    Know anybody who rents out Turkeys & guineas???? LOL![​IMG]
  8. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    You can run string or wire back and forth over your chicken yard and that will deter a hawk. Big hawks won't want to come down through any opening less than 2 - 2 1/2 feet or so or they risk damaging their wings.

    Hawks have territories during fledging season so you can expect a hawk to return should it happen to 'get lost.' If you see a group of hawks they may be migrating or 4-5 hawks may be a fledging family unit, depending on the time of year. They will teach their chicks to hunt but generally speaking hawks do not hunt in teams.

    The hawk may have been showing your chicken carcass to its mate.
  9. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    A couple folks here suggested feeding the wild birds. If you can attract birds such as mocking birds, catbirds and bluejays they will also attack raptors.

    I have a hawk problem and I am getting ready to hang out an elaborate collection of CDs, mylar balloons and pie tins from a rope suspended over my duck yard. It hopefully will work to keep the hawks so dizzy and confused that they forget to carry off anymore of my birds. I also have a couple new shiny metal windmills to deter both moles and hawks. My chickens have an enclosed run, but my waterfowl do not at this point.
  10. SurprisingWoman

    SurprisingWoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 27, 2009
    South Weber, UT
    I was going to suggest feeding song birds too.

    We have a lot of feeders, both seed and nectar and we don't have a problem with large hawks. We have a sharp shin that will come and get a meal sometimes but they only take smaller birds.

    I don't have to worry about magpies or hawks. You should see the small birds gang up on a huge hawk and drive it away, pecking and darting the whole time. It's adorable.

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