hawks hunting my RIR

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by m4bowman, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. m4bowman

    m4bowman New Egg

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    Jul 24, 2011
    Hi! We have 5 hens and one rooster. They are about 3.5 months old. We also have a nest of hawks behind our house in the trees. You can hear them screeching all day. I think they are red-tailed hawks. We used to let the chickens out all day and put them in at night. But the hawks started landing in the yard and on our fence so now we must keep them confined until we figure something out. It's illegal to take care of the hawks. So my question is will the RIR ever reach a size/age that will be too large for the hawks to be interested in? We really like letting them roam the yard. And I think the chickens really miss be able to run around too!
     
  2. sunnysilkie

    sunnysilkie Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi, looks like your in a bit of a pickle. Have you tried calling animal control?
     
  3. groundpecker

    groundpecker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The hawks will attack a full grown chicken. Usually starting with the smallest one. All you really can do is pen them in and hope the hawks move away.
     
  4. m4bowman

    m4bowman New Egg

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    Jul 24, 2011
    Thanks for the input. I was afraid there was nothing we could do about it. I haven't called animal control because I figured their hands would be tied as well. My only other thought was maybe the rooster would be able to handle the hawk and protect the hens.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hawks not likely in usual realm of animal control. Your birds far from being hens and rooster. Best to call them pullets and cockerol. Size will eventually provide a measure defense. For short- and long-term managing range to have cover helps a lot as well. Cover denies hawk ability of flight and ideally forces it on ground when in close proximity to chicken. Roosters of some breeds will engage a hawk on ground and drive it off or at least keep it from walking into cover. If hawk thinks it can get away with it, the predator will walk into cover and attempt to flush chickens out. Some roosters can deny this option. My roosters not effective hawk detourant until fully adult. Dominant roosters not in molt and father of some threatened chicks most effective. A game hen will also pitch into battle if her chicks are threatened. The assertion frequently made that any rooster will protect any hen not accurate in my experience. Even my most effective hawk fighting game is scared of such a predator when it above. Dogs often best anti-hawk measure. I use all of above and free range year round.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  6. m4bowman

    m4bowman New Egg

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    Jul 24, 2011
    Our chickens spend lot of time under our Leyland Cypress when let out. I have seen the hawks sitting in our yard so you are right about cover forcing them to the ground. The cockerol has protected the pullets once from a cat. We saw the cat running away from them and the cockerol leading the way. He had a little damage to his wing another time but not sure what he went a round with. We have never seen a hawk in our yard for 12 years, we get chickens now have a hawk nest! Just so disappointed. I guess the hawks figured they's be fed well.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Cockerols, sometimes even pullets, can bluff a non-commital cat but as indicated before even the seasoned game rooster gets stressed when hawk has height advantage and can use air. Chicken only faster on ground.


    Generally hawks (adults) do not hunt in close proximity to their active nest. Close I mean by within a couple hundred yards. Once hawk chicks fledge you have about a week before they start making clumsy attempts at catching leaves and larger insects. Chicks will also systematically look for birds nests but will not take on larger stuff until near end of summer and by that time big insects and rodents extremely easy for young of year hawks to catch. Starting in September the red-tails will again be a threat to isolated chickens away from cover and nest location will no longer be a factor. They do seem to go after smaller chickens first but with hen only or juvenile only flocks everybody seems to be on menu. Managing cover and keeping flock size (number of birds) up helps a lot. If birds in open feild or run without cover, then losses can be heavy and persistant.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2011
  8. chickens friend

    chickens friend Out Of The Brooder

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    Ever heard of SSS? Just be careful and tell no one.
     
  9. bertman

    bertman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My friend who raises free-range chickens and has over a hundred says he loses quite a few to red tails mainly because they free range in open pastures or fields that are transitioning from food crops to cover crops. They just attack a bird and take the head. Don't ask my why. I assume it's because the full-grown hen is too big to carry so they take the easiest detachable part.

    From what I've read here at BYC if you can get crows to congregate at your place they will keep the hawks away. Apparently the crows are only a threat to chicks and small pullets. So, if you have a few crows around, maybe you could start setting up a feeder station for them in hopes of making them regulars.
     
  10. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Hi, my flock control is crows. I have not had a hawk in 4 years. The crows chase them away. Crows are egg thieves. But I'd rather have that. Try putting an egg or two on top of something like the roof of the coop. Hopefully you'll attract some crows. They are very territorial.
     

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