How can you free range with a hawk in the neighborhood?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by billymillerx, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. billymillerx

    billymillerx New Egg

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    Three or four weeks back we lost one of our Rhode Island Reds to a hawk attack. At the time we did not know that it was a hawk due to the pure carnage that was left behind. A week ago during my son's 10th birthday party my wife yells that something if wrong with Fancy. Side note: Fancy's full name is actually Here's You're One Chance Fancy Don't Let Me Down due to my three year old daughter. As I walked outside and rounded the corner to the spot where our Maisy met our demise I looked upon a hawk with a head the size of a softball. He had our fancy cornered with it's talons dug in. Her head was through the fence which is the only thing that I feel saved her from injury. I rounded the corner in attack mode not thinking that this bird could tear me up. As it took flight I tried a kick that missed by about four inches. As I pulled Fancy out of the fence and walked into the back yard the hawk had already flew around the house and was sitting in my back yard where it then flew up into a tree at the edge of my fence and stared at us. Afterward I found out that you can not knowingly injure a hawk or any bird of prey legally which is crap so I put tmy two remaining chickens inside their covered coop for safety. Since then the two of them spend most of their time on the roost inside and our Fancy is losing feathers especially in the tail section at an alarming rate. They have a 40 square foot run with an extra 16 square foot inside and a 4 foot roost. I have heard that chickens would pick at each other if they didn't have enough room but this seems to be plenty of room for two chickens. Does anyone have any advice as to what I should do about the hawk or feather loss?
     
  2. shepherd

    shepherd Out Of The Brooder

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    Keep the chicken away from the others because they wont stop pecking at the wound. For the hawk problem some states let you shoot em if they are eating your chickens but you caint do that. All the hawk attacks i witnessed I just ran over as fast as I could to scare it off before it does any seriouse harm. Everytime you hear the chickens in distress make it your buisness to be there asap.
     
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] It sounds as if the stress may have forced "Fancy" into a molt. The only way to free range when a hawk is around is with broom in hand. Good luck, and hopefully the hawk is just passing through. I'm dealing with a repeat winter visitor that is terrorizing my pigeons. Thankfully, he leaves every spring.
     
  4. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The ONLY way to free-range and be safe from hawks is to be there constantly with them and do not let them scatter much. As soon as you take a break and go inside, that is when they will strike. They will sit and watch until you leave. Now that he has had a meal at your place, he will always try again. Netting over a spacious run is the only protection. That is how the organic egg farmers do it. They have every square foot of their runs covered with netting.

    My pastor lost his entire flock except for one rooster to hawks. He let them free-range on his farm. He never lost one to anything else besides hawks. I have lost two and both were to a hawk. My run is 6 ft tall, set in cement, and electrified. No protection from hawks or owls. I have a lot of crows about, but they can not always be depended upon. I have now criss-crossed my run with 400 ft of silver mylar car lot streamers. Time will tell if that will help or not. My losses have been two in 18 months. No land predator has ever breached my run. If I have any more losses to hawks, I will take down the streamers and go with enough netting to make it very hard for one to drop in (3 trees in the run) and impossible for one to fly out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    It is legal to kill a hawk that is attacking your chickens. But, you have to catch him in the act. You cannot randomly shoot any hawk you see just because one attacked your chickens last week.
     
  6. maizey

    maizey Chillin' With My Peeps

    mine spend most of the time in a covered run and free range part time when I can hang out with them. I was hoping to let them out more these past 2 weeks being off for Christmas but the hawks seem to be thick in my neighborhood right now for some reason. We are always hearing or seeing them lately and my son acutually had to run one out of the back yard by chucking pine cones at it... so ive been making sure the girls get their green treats from me instead of free ranging.. alfalfa hay, split peas, collard greens and sprouted legumes and seeds are what they are going to have to suffer with at the moment. Bird netting is pretty cheap at lowes and I highly recommend it.
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It is NOT legal to kill a protected raptor under any circumstances unless a very hard to get permit has been issued. They are federally protected. Regardless of what the neighbor down the road or even your local fish and wildlife guy says KILLING THEM IS ILLEGAL!
     
  8. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    My information came from the Raptor Rescue in Virginia. When we were visiting my daughter a hawk actually went into the chicken house after the chickens. The game rooster she owns beat the hawk up pretty bad. We rescued the hawk from the rooster finding out he had a broken wing.

    When we contacted the rescue so they could pick the hawk up and rehabilitate him, I told the officer that if I had had my way the hawk would be dead.

    He told me that I had every legal right to defend the chickens, caught in the act, I would have been perfectly within my rights to defend her livestock by killing the hawk.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I would suggest that prior to killing a raptor one should do a search on "Operation High Roller." It was a federally conducted sting operation that took down several Birmingham Roller fliers who killed raptors that were killing their pigeons. Extensive fines and jail time can result from such activities. Check it out.This happened in the real world. A federal officer joined a pigeon club, went to competitive flights, took photographs, and recorded individuals talking about killing hawks. All were prosecuted. We paid for it, and you can be certain that threads in this section are perused on a daily basis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    I free range with a dog to guard the flock. I've lost two chickens to hawks in the past 5 years and I have two pairs of red-tailed hawks living on the mountains beside my place. You can free range if you have plenty of places for them to duck and hide, a vigilant roo to call the alarm and a dog that listens to the roo and will race to the defense.

    The only reason I lost my two hens was that my "hawk" dog was getting too old and arthritic to move quickly enough.

    A good dog makes all the difference in the world. There is an accepted loss risk to free ranging birds...one has to be prepared for the occasional loss in exchange for the birds getting to live a full life.
     

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