I don't know who I'd rather blame it on.....

BYCforlife

Crossing the Road
Mar 18, 2017
2,369
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Alberta, Canada
I went to let my chickens out this morning, and I had dumped a bucket of compost in one corner. Strangely, half of the chickens were pecking at something on the other end of the run. It was one of my buff orpingtons, all of the insides gone.

The strange thing was, there were only the fluffy white back end feathers scattered in a small area, absolutely no tail feathers, wing feathers, or any other colored ones.

So my question is, do you think this hen died and my carnivorous chickens ate it, or did a hawk get through my baler twine method https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-to-stop-hawks-for-30-cents.73167/ that has worked for more than 2 years?

It just doesn't seem like there was much of a struggle.
Coyotes are ruled out, because I've seen digging attempts, but I have protection against that.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
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I went to let my chickens out this morning, and I had dumped a bucket of compost in one corner. Strangely, half of the chickens were pecking at something on the other end of the run. It was one of my buff orpingtons, all of the insides gone.

The strange thing was, there were only the fluffy white back end feathers scattered in a small area, absolutely no tail feathers, wing feathers, or any other colored ones.

So my question is, do you think this hen died and my carnivorous chickens ate it, or did a hawk get through my baler twine method https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/how-to-stop-hawks-for-30-cents.73167/ that has worked for more than 2 years?

It just doesn't seem like there was much of a struggle.
Coyotes are ruled out, because I've seen digging attempts, but I have protection against that.
I’m sorry you’ve lost one of your hens. I to doubt the other chickens killed it and started eating it.

Very roughly, if there is an open back wound and the internal organs have been eaten I say it was a hawk.

I don’t mean to be critical unnecessarily but I’ve had a look at your twine setup and that wouldn’t deter a hawk here; they would just hammer right through it.
Nor will the chicken wire keep out a determined ground predator; they’ll go through the gaps. Chicken wire was designed to keep chickens in, not predators out.

I get a lot of chickens killed and injured by hawks, about one every three or four months on average now. That average is spread over almost eight years now. I’ve seen a lot of hawk kills, not just chickens.
The farm down the road had a hawk dive through chicken wire to get at a chicken. The hawk stripped some of its wing feathers but was otherwise unharmed, but it couldn’t get out.
Your wire system might work with line wire. Its a heavy gauge wire used to hang stock net and other roll fences. That is what I would use if I had to build a run here.
 

BYCforlife

Crossing the Road
Mar 18, 2017
2,369
10,260
767
Alberta, Canada
I’m sorry you’ve lost one of your hens. I to doubt the other chickens killed it and started eating it.

Very roughly, if there is an open back wound and the internal organs have been eaten I say it was a hawk.

I don’t mean to be critical unnecessarily but I’ve had a look at your twine setup and that wouldn’t deter a hawk here; they would just hammer right through it.
Nor will the chicken wire keep out a determined ground predator; they’ll go through the gaps. Chicken wire was designed to keep chickens in, not predators out.

I get a lot of chickens killed and injured by hawks, about one every three or four months on average now. That average is spread over almost eight years now. I’ve seen a lot of hawk kills, not just chickens.
The farm down the road had a hawk dive through chicken wire to get at a chicken. The hawk stripped some of its wing feathers but was otherwise unharmed, but it couldn’t get out.
Your wire system might work with line wire. Its a heavy gauge wire used to hang stock net and other roll fences. That is what I would use if I had to build a run here.
Okay, good to know. That's pretty much how the chicken looked.
I guess I'll rebuild my run with an enclosed top so I don't have to worry.

I've never had any predators get through my chicken wire, just under it. I stopped that easily with boards and wire mesh.

I just hoped it wasn't a hawk because I've seen this method deter hawks for a long time. I guess one didn't care and dropped in.

Thanks for the advice!
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
20,950
181,360
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Catalonia, Spain & UK
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My Coop
Okay, good to know. That's pretty much how the chicken looked.
I guess I'll rebuild my run with an enclosed top so I don't have to worry.

I've never had any predators get through my chicken wire, just under it. I stopped that easily with boards and wire mesh.

I just hoped it wasn't a hawk because I've seen this method deter hawks for a long time. I guess one didn't care and dropped in.

Thanks for the advice!
Do you know what types of hawk you have in your area?
I get Goshawks here about now until spring when they go back to the Pyrenees. I get other hawks throughout the year but in general they don’t go for the chickens.
Every now and then a peregrine falcon has a go but they tend to prefer the pigeons and take them in the air or off branches.
I do hope your not offended by my comments on your run and I hope you can figure out a way to close the top without too many problems.
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
4,173
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Edgewood, KY
I think the only sure thing is 19 g 1/2 inch hardware cloth because it has to be small enough and strong enough against the talons of a hawk. I don’t see with those large gaps much of a deterrent.
 

Soon2BChixMom

Herding ducks and Wrangling chickens
Jan 8, 2017
9,131
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Can you just tie up more string? My aviary netting has kept all aerial predators out. I spent a lot more than a few $. :p But, I didn't feel like messing with the string. Of course the aviary netting wasn't as easy to install as everyone said. Lol
 

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