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Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by ande, Oct 22, 2012.
Hi I have lost all my new babies to hawks ,I had them in a small cage and thought they were safe I wasn't and in 20 mins Iost them to a stupid hawk he didn't want to eat them just pulled them through the wire
We are overrun with hawks a breeding pair raised 2 young in the neighboring State boundary and just up the road a pair of Osprey had a successful hatch of 2 as well... We lost 1 chick from a hawk and 1 grown chicken that wouldn't go to roost from a Great Horned Owl. We have been fortunate and I think that having quite a few chickens out to range helps as there is always at least one looking up. They are very wary and all good at ducking for cover that is provided.
That hawk is actually perched on the door of the chicken pen although all of the chickens are at that time in the front yard under the oaks digging in the ginger patch
Wow. Is there any way to keep them away we have lost chicks to hawks and now watch very closely when are chickens are ranging but I fear we will lose one eventually as the hawks come around all the time. We have a protected run but the chickens stand by the door every day waiting to come out. They would not be happy always being "cooped" up
I always keep chickens under cover in a temporary ranging area until they are too big for easy pickins' I just take tomato stakes, hardware clips, and deer fencing and make an area for them that is long enough to let them range but not so wide that it isn't easy to cover with bird netting. Garden staples in the ground to hold it down and prevent escapes. I sometimes put fisherman's net over the bird netting to decrease visibility and give them more shade. This temporary pen is put on grass inside the larger general area that the big birds are pastured in. This keeps them safe but still with the flock. If raised by a broody hen she is content to be in there with them because she has range space and she can teach them the ropes and keep track of them more easily. The makeshift deer fencing and stakes system is easy to move around because it's just clips and staples. However, it is secure enough if within a larger free ranging area where your adult flock is ranging or within a fenced yard. The larger area has another fence around it and as I described in the post above lots of areas for the adult chickens to take cover.
I never let babies loose without cover. You can cover them and still let them on pasture or grass. They do not need a huge area when they are so little. I know it's fun to see them running free but it's better to let them live longer and be free longer instead of just being free lunch.
how big is too big for easy pickings? not being starky I just want to know. Right now I have my first set of RIR hens and I'm hoping they will be big enough not to worry about once they are full grown. I know the RIR roosters I picked up are safe unless they fight the hawk but what about the hens?
A hawk is an opportunistic creature. If he sees a chicken that is small enough to quickly snatch and eat it will.
My little silkie was 12 weeks old and maybe 1 lb if she weighed that much. The foot tall hawk had eaten her head and was starting on the rest when I shooed it away. It tried to fly off with her but couldn't so it left her body behind. I found all the bigger chickens hiding in the bushes less than 3 feet away. They didn't even want to come out once the hawk had been shooed away.
Any chicken that is slow, small or fat is at risk. If the hawk is hungry enough it will go after a larger girl too. The difference is that the larger ones can usually get away and hide faster. The roosters are good for alerting the flock to the danger.
My silkie roo probably put out the warning and every dashed under cover. She was probably caught because she's so small and maybe went the wrong way.
I'll say with confidence....that hawk WOULD NOT sit perched on my coop. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
What is starky?
That's a perfectly fine question. Depends on the breed and the situation. I usually start mixing them with the main flock when they are almost the same size as the rest of the flock. 18 weeks. The exception is young chickens with a broody. I mix them in with the flock earlier, usually 12 to 14 weeks. It's no sure thing since a hawk will take a full grown bird if the chicken is small enough or the hawk is large. It ups their chances though. I've never had silkies or bantams though, just standard breeds. More likely to lose the small birds. I haven't lost a bird to a hawk though...yet. Knock knock. I'm either on to something with my methods or just lucky. Now if only I had luck with roosters. No luck with roosters at all.