How does a hawk....??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by DillardHome, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. DillardHome

    DillardHome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I'm pretty sure I have lost 3 of my chickens to a hawk(s). This happened during the day between 11am - 6pm. Last Saturday my adult EE roo never came home to roost and this past Monday two of my adult hens (an EE & BO) were missing. DH and I went looking and found two very small piles of feathers in the woods but no actual carcass, blood and/or body parts. We continued looking along the "trail" and found nothing more. I would think the hawk would have finished eating right there since it was pretty private.

    And it is so hard to believe that two hens were taken together, I would think if one of the hens saw the other getting attacked she would have high tailed it back to the coop and definately not return to the same area the rest of the day?? [​IMG]

    Yesterday we went into the woods to look under a tree that has a hawk nest in it, no chicken remains underneath. We continued looking for remains or bones and found some of the missing roo's feathers, not very many though.

    How does a hawk kill a chicken? I read it is on the ground, so once they kill it do they carry it off to their nest? Where are all the remaining feathers? What about the carcass and/or bones, are they left in the nest, under their tree or would they be on the ground somewhere else, like in brush? [​IMG]

    I know these may be stupid questions, but I found it so frustrating that we looked & looked and found nothing further. I know any remains could be anywhere out there. But I just wanted to get an idea of the hawk's tactics.

    Thanks for any info and not judging my intellect [​IMG]
     
  2. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    A hawk will carry off a small animal like mice, rats, snakes, baby rabbit, etc., but has to eat a larger animal at the kill site. They tear the hide open and tear off chunks of flesh that are swallowed whole and taken back to the young and regurgitated to feed them. They are very messy with a large bird like a chicken and your first thought that it would have eaten it right there was correct and you would have found remains nearby as well as feathers.

    You sure it isn't a fox or raccoon?
     
  3. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Some of my adult hens are 'heavy' for a hawk and other aren't do you know what type of hawks you have around?

    (Red Tails and Coopers have high 'carry' weights for their size- some will carry just 15 or so feet away to eat)

    Also both foxes and coons are 'crepuscular' - meaning "active at dawn or dusk" also any other dark time (full moon, overcast day, rainstorm, dust storm, smoke/ash fall). Their scenes are tuned to low light not lack of light so they find hunting best when everything else is just waking up or going to bead.

    Hawks kill 'large' prey (chicken sized) by diving onto its back, talons extended hoping to break the back/neck.

    Herons are Messy birds leaving all sorts of offal around the nest, hawks are somewhat neater- also something else (dog, cat, coon ect) may have carried off the leftovers.

    ((Feathers only in my experience here is a dog, fox, or large cat (bobcat) - the coons here leave nothing at all))
     
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    It sounds more as if you have a 'grab and run' sort of predator such as a fox, coyote, or bobcat. Sorry for your losses. Lock up your birds until the problem is solved. The predator will return.
     
  5. DillardHome

    DillardHome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Claxton, GA
    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR REPLIES!

    To be honest our first thought was a bobcat, but when we explained it to our neighbor he felt convinced it was a hawk. So he made us reconsider the culprit since we do have hawks around. He stated that bobcat would cover the remains with straw/grass/leaves. And granted we have heard them lately, as well as the Crows pestering her to move on.

    Just the lack of remains and the locations of the feathers got us thinking that the hawk would have been "on foot" during the attack or flying about 3-4' above the ground in the woods. And the location of the rooster's feathers were a good 200' (or more) from our home, so if it were a hawk she would have had to carry him that far, pluck some feathers out and move him again. It just didn't make since.

    I had taken this pic of our resident hawk last year, since I believe hawks are territorial (?) this would be the only one nearby..
    [​IMG]

    The flock is convined to the coop/run today anyway since it's de-worming time, but they will be convined for at least a few more days now for sure.
     
  6. DillardHome

    DillardHome Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Claxton, GA
    This is so frustrating.

    Do any of you think that a week of my chickens being convined is enough time to have the predator look elsewhere for food? [​IMG]
     
  7. zengrrl

    zengrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Once they have a good meal, or a few in your case they'll be a constant visitor.
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Quote:Your property/pens will receive periodic visits. Predators are patient and have a home area that they roam searching out the availability of food.
     
  9. leonphelps

    leonphelps Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry to hijack, would netting solve the problem or with hawks do you need more?
     
  10. bantamsohyeah

    bantamsohyeah Out Of The Brooder

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    [​IMG] I am sorry to hear you are having bad luck with a pesty pediator. Not knowing what it is has to be flustrating. I saw a hawk this morning. My chickens alerted me by there carryings on down at their chicken yard. As I was looking I saw him swoop in, but just by chance they all ran into the chicken coop where they couldn't be caught. I have my gun loaded and will kill me a hawk if he comes back. I have a pesty cat who stalks my chickens every chance he gets... I am going to put up a electric fence so when he gets near the yard he will walk right into it. See how he likes that![​IMG] He'll get the message. Maybe that is a idea you can think on. Electric fry whatever is getting them. [​IMG]
     

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