Hens and Young Hawk and No Clue

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sunrise.superman, Aug 24, 2019.

  1. sunrise.superman

    sunrise.superman Chirping

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    I'm in Northern Colorado and my hens free range my large yard during the day right now as I rebuild a bigger coop and run. I've not had to deal with issues from bold hawks before since my yard is nearly 80% covered in tree canopy, a large lilac stand to hide under and that they use for a gathering spot, the coop, and a few other large bushes, deck steps and so on. Too many obstacles to take a good dive and the hens have plenty of cover.

    Today though I have a juvenile camping out on my son's climbing gym and harassing the ladies. So far the ladies act as if nothing is going on for the most part. A startled cluck now and then but I was expecting them to take cover as they do if a hawk even flies by in the neighbor's much more open yard. Today they seem utterly clueless. I have a lot of open spaces nearby and TON of bunnies and such that the hawk shouldn't be desperate for hunting grounds or easy prey.

    I don't have a roo bc I'm in town. We have lots of open spaces and huge yards, but still, didn't want to hassle my neighbors. I have one yound Welsummer that may prove to be a cockerel that I was planning to rehome but maybe not now...

    Is there a way to help the hens get a clue? Are they not alarmed bc it's a young hawk, or bc it's not attempting the usual divebomb technique? Because they don't have a roo sounding the alarm? I have a net but it will not cover even a fourth of the yard. It is planned for the non-secure areas of the run I'm building.

    I can't imagine he could be too successful since my little d'Uccle is nearly the same size and the rest of my birds are BO, BJG, GLW, etc. All twice the size, but he could certain cause an injury in an attempt.

    How does one give the ladies a hint at self-preservation? Is that even possible?
     
    ValerieJ, penny1960 and Mimi’s 13 like this.
  2. Fishkeeper

    Fishkeeper Crowing

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    He could definitely injure them- puncture wounds are nothing to mess with, and hawk beaks are strong. Hawks don't aim to fly away with a food item, they try to kill it.

    It might be possible to get the idea into them by sounding the alarm yourself whenever you see the hawk. Do you have any kind of a signal to them that something is threatening, or a way to teach them that?
     
  3. Mimi13

    Mimi13 fuhgettaboutit

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    @centrarchid is excellent in this area. Maybe he could help?!? I would like to know as well.
     
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  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    So many things can be going on with this and species of hawk is important. If possible, then post a picture of the hawk. I have had hawks of a couple species that would come in close resulting in chickens going to cover. The chickens making noises may be indication they are giving hawk a warning, even when the chickens are immature themselves. Provide a picture of the hawk as how I manage is very hawk species specific.
     
  5. sunrise.superman

    sunrise.superman Chirping

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    Thank you. I will try to get a photo when it returns. I shouted from the window before running out the times it was in the yard so I wasn't in a good view for a photo.

    It looked like a Cooper's to me. We have big redtails and quite a few owls around as well but they tend to prefer the wide open yards. I have 5 very mature 40' trees over most of my yard so I get all of the squirrels but much in the way of birds of prey flying low.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    If your birds are grouping up under something with Coopers Hawk, then they most certainly have a clue. Panicking and running to scatter is what the hawk wants. Chickens sticking together and potentially fighting back is not good option for hawk.
     
    ValerieJ, slordaz, penny1960 and 2 others like this.
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    My chickens holding ground under cover happens a lot more than you suspect. The chickens produce very interesting sounds for the entertainment of the hawk.
     
  8. sunrise.superman

    sunrise.superman Chirping

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    They aren't grouping up under anything though. I would be overjoyed if they were. I saw them all essentially sitting ducks out in the open when there is cover within 5-10' of any point in my yard...copse of trees, deck stairs, large bushes, the existing coop.... When redtails fly over next door they are very alert and most will ease toward cover.

    That's why I was confused today when the young hawk is well under the high tree canopy and/or landing on the jungle gym more than once and the birds are just continuing to graze or staring at it...and within feet of good cover.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  9. Mimi13

    Mimi13 fuhgettaboutit

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    This is really good to know.
    Amazing! I would like to know more about this as I haven’t heard this. We do have hawks here and today there was a ton of hawk activity, which was really strange. A couple of hawks definitely kept my chickens on their toes. Most of the time there isn’t enough hawk activity (low enough) for me to notice any other sounds other than warnings. The majority of my birds’ warnings are due to mockingbirds flying and diving at our cats. That is constant.
     
  10. Mimi13

    Mimi13 fuhgettaboutit

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    I will agree that this is unnerving.
     
    igorsMistress, ValerieJ and penny1960 like this.

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