Help- could it be a hawk?! I am losing hens out of their yard

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Phyll'sFarmFamily, Dec 13, 2008.

  1. Phyll'sFarmFamily

    Phyll'sFarmFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2007
    Old Church, Virginia
    For 8 years I have never had a chicken taken by a predator but I have lost 2 in the past month. I hadn't seen a hawk in all this time (I think) until this fall. Now there is one that keeps sitting on the pasture fence. Of course I scare it away every time that I see it. We have a lot of crows here also so I don't think that they are scaring it away.

    The first time I lost one of my girls was when I had them out to free-range. There were no feathers anywhere but she was just gone. I haven't let them out of their yard since.

    Today I went to tuck them in for the night and one is missing. Again, no feathers. This happened in their yard. Their yard is about 24' by 40' in a strange shape. Their house is in the yard which is attached to the barn. The fence is at least 6' tall and about 20' from the woods.

    Could a hawk swoop down, grab a chicken, and still have enough room to get out?
  2. #1California Chick

    #1California Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Yep! More than enough space for a hawk!! I have seen them swoop through oak trees to grab squirrels off the branches. I had one almost fly into me when I was trying to get sparrows out of the netting around my cherry tree.

    You might try crisscrossing the top of the run with wire or string or rope. That will give them pause!!

    Good Luck!! I am SO sorry for your loss!

  3. william9792

    william9792 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 23, 2008
    graham, nc
    Hi, i went to home depo and got a fake holw and put it up to stop that from happening to mine, mite try that
  4. Gazinga

    Gazinga Chook Norris

    that might scare the chooks
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If there are no feathers, and you have large banties or standards, I don't think it's the hawk. They can't really grab that much weight and get back up in the air. A young bird or a small banty I could see, but anything else would probably be a kill and dine in type situation.
  6. Fredster

    Fredster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 21, 2007
    The times we've lost chickens to hawks, it's been a stop-and-dine situation, like silkiechicken said (and ironically, the last chicken of ours that a hawk got was one of our two silkies [​IMG] ). I read that hawks can't fly with more than half their weight, which is generally less than an adult chicken.
  7. burley

    burley Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 12, 2008
    Oriential North Carolina
    I lost one of my big rir girls to a hawk yesterdat. The hawk was a large red tail beauty. It killed the chicken but could not fly away with it . the hawk would go about three feet then drob the chicken. All the other chickens were hiding under my house. I did not pick up my dead hen and after a short while the hawk came back to eat her. Hope my flock stays close to home.
  8. Phyll'sFarmFamily

    Phyll'sFarmFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2007
    Old Church, Virginia
    I am SO sorry about everyone's lose of their babies!!

    My babies are Wyandotte's and Americaunas, standard not banty.

    The hawk I am seeing is not very large and I would guess it to be only about 1' tall.

    I have seen large birds circling, I don't know what they are but there are usually at least 3 at a time. They have a very large wing span since they look huge even as high up as they are.

    I have also seen bald eagles but the closest one was at least 3 miles from my house.

    My neighbor told me about "the father of all owls" trying to get her Lhasa Apsos. That was in the evening just before dark and my girls were taken during the day.

    I don't know the habits of any of these prey birds and I can't seem to find anything of use on the internet.

    Since there are no feathers what else could it be? There are no holes around or in the yard.

    I am going to weave fishing line across the top since the area is a really strange shape. I have some 30lb test line that I use for crafts and am hoping that that will be strong enough!

    I am also going to Home Depot for an owl!
  9. sandypaws

    sandypaws Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2008
    desert of calif
    hawks can only carry 1/3 of their body weight.. makes it 1.5- 2 pounds only... i have seen hawks swoop down and take baby chicks and one baby duckling.. but once they get feathers they are usually to big.... it has to be a stop and dine,, but they dont like to do that..
    i am sure hawks might take a swipe and chickens.. but usually see the prey is too big and look for another victim... i think the birds of prey are there to snach up the MICE that get into the chicken food.. and they chase away crows that steal the eggs.. i have had many crows.ravens steal eggs

    eagles and owls are stronger and might be able to carry off a young hen.. but nothing over about 5lbs (???)
    i have many clients that owls tryed to snach their dogs.. but once again..even a small dog is to heavy to lift off and carry away
  10. Phyll'sFarmFamily

    Phyll'sFarmFamily Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2007
    Old Church, Virginia
    SHE IS HOME!!!!!!!Thank the Lord!!!!!

    I was out putting up the line and string when she came wandering out of the woods. She looks fine. I checked her over and couldn't see any marks on her.

    I am clueless on how she got out with a 6' fence, locked gate, and she is pretty big. The only thing I can think of is that something must have really spooked her and somehow she flew out? I have never seen her fly though.

    Thank you for all your ideas and help!

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