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hawks - on borrowed time???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chicchick, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. chicchick

    chicchick In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2009
    Eastern Massachusetts
    Like so many of you, I have the 4 girls free ranging in the backyard. They have tree cover, etc. But I have scared off red tails and sharp shins lately and I want to know, am I just on borrowed time? Once the hawk knows they are there, will he persist until he gets them?

  2. sfw2

    sfw2 Global Menace

    If it's a resident hawk, then, yes, he'll be back. It's possible you might be the "lucky" host to migrating birds, in which case, they may just move on. Either way, it's a good idea to try to provide cover for your birds. There's a ton of good information about hawkproofing on this site.
  3. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I think in most cases that might be true. I have hawks fly over everyday. Once a hawk found my flock out back and i kept finding him/her getting closer and closer.
    i would run out and spook it off before i ever lost one. One day my husband found the hawk on the post to their fenced in (uncovered) Run. He walked out toward it, and it didnt scare off because it had its sights set on chicken i guess. My husband picked an apple off the tree in our yard, and threw it and hit the hawk, THAT got it to leave and to my surprise, it did not come back. Every situation is different, but i am shocked i have not lost any, ever.
    Keep apples around, apparently they dont like them [​IMG]
  4. Yazzo

    Yazzo Songster

    Jul 23, 2010
    If the hawk hasn't attacked yet, then it might never do so, if it has enough other food. I live in a place with TONS of hawks, flying over all the time. I also happen to have tons of chickens, all free-ranging, and only one ever got attacked by a hawk, in the dead of winter when food was very scarce.
    Just make sure they have plenty of cover to run under. Dogs may help keep hawks away too.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    We have hawks, but the only ones I have lost are crested birds with heavy feathering who cannot see danger. The rest run. I take the risks of free ranging and do expect a loss here and there in exchange for their freedom without fences. However, since not raising polish and keeping the silkies closer to the house, I have not had a hawk issue. Have lost 4 total to hawks in 12 years now so don't think it is too bad of odds. Have lost many more to coons who get smarter and smarter, ie, opening doors!
  6. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Quote:I agree. We also have hawks, eagles and great-horned owls here. Hawks and owls that live in our grove, the eagles fly through every now and then. I haven't had a loss to a raptor in years. I think it's because we live out in the country and there is plenty of other prey for them to eat. Much easier to get at than our chickens who are free-ranging where there is usually plenty of human activity and lots of cover. Hopefully they'll just move on.
  7. ga_goat

    ga_goat Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Lowndes County Ga
    a huge solid black hawk got my old EE roo yesterday , probably was the oldest chicken I have , the pen he was in with 10 other chickens has 'new' 6 ft tall welded wire fence with mason string criss crossing the top he lit on a post top and slid through a hole in the string ,, had a lot of trouble getting out but he / she has came back 2 times ,, just at dawn and at sunset . I have a lot of trees and can't wire the tops and the pens are 25x25 on 3 of them and 50x50 on 1 other would not be pracitacl (sp) to cover them with all the leaves and limbs that fall .
    Have seen this hawk 10 or more times but it finally got chicken hungry . , it probably has a wing span of over 4 ft .

  8. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Most hawks prefer small mammals.
    If there are lots of those around the chickens are pretty safe
  9. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    it probably has a wing span of over 4 ft .

    a huge solid black hawk

    That sounds more like a buzzard.

    I dont know of any species of hawks that are black AND live in your area
    There is one species in the South West US and Northern Mexico​
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  10. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    We had a hawk swoop down over the girls just the other day.Ds was next to the run an I was in a neighboring garden bed.Being out there seems to do little good unless you are watching and then yelling to scare them off.Very annoying because we have lots to do,and my ds would blame me if anyone got eaten.

    We recently had big black birds that flew over and swooped down for days.Turned out they were turkey vultures who smelled a rotting groundhog in the woods.I don't think they eat the live birds,but they sure can scare them!

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