I knew better but did it anyhow...hawk?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Knock Kneed Hen, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    Well, after reading about hawks, I then read about free ranging chickens and wanted to give my girls that freedom. [​IMG] My neighbor has been free ranging bantams for 15 years and has never lost one to a predator.

    I heard crows going crazy so I run outside and see feathers scattered [​IMG] ....then I see my little terrier mutt come around the corner [​IMG] with feathers (some skin attached) in her mouth. I give her some instant correction and drag her to the house so I can grab some towels. I know whatever I find is not going to be good. [​IMG] I don't think of hawks at this point. I find a mess of feathers out in the open and one very badly injured hen....and of course, it's my favorite of the 20 birds I have [​IMG] [​IMG] . .. the one that follows me everywhere and sits in my lap. I close up the run, missing one bird.

    I doctor up my badly injured hen and what I discover is that her entire back is without feathers. She has three deep wounds along her back. Looks like she was raked by talons. I don't know if the dog scared the hawk off, or if the dog decided to get in on the action, but I know that the dog is too small to have made these wounds.

    I'm also wondering if the dog got the bird and maybe the crows decided to go in for the chicken. I don't know. I get to work though. DH runs into town to get me some needed supplies. My dear Macie is a model patient. I get her doctored up, in a covered crate in the garage and on a heating pad. Hope she makes it through the night. She's in shock. I go down to the coop to close it up and waiting to get in is the missing bird. [​IMG] Soooooo happy to see her...she gets kisses and hates every moment of it.

    I learned one thing today....I'm not going to get romantic about free ranging birds anymore. I know lots of folks do it, but my birds have had their last day out on the range. I'm so mad at myself!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  2. kkaymci55

    kkaymci55 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2008
    Puyallup, Washington
    All summer I let my birds out if I was going to be home and around. A couple weeks ago I was thinking of letting the birds out and decided not to because it was raining. Not 5 minutes after I came back into the house what do I see right out the back door? [​IMG]
  3. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    In the area you free range your chickens hang old CD's on fishing line. The movement of these in the wind will keep the hawks away. Be sure to give your chickens a place to hide under if one does come around. My birds free range all day, but they can hide under bushes and in in blackberrys, They also have many dog crates and other things to hide in. Even now in the cold winter nights they like to roast outside. The only thing that drives them inside is extreem cold or snow. Believe it or not, they love to play in the rain. I swear they are crossed with a duck.
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I'm also wondering if the dog got the bird and maybe the crows decided to go in for the chicken.

    I doubt the crows would go after a chicken.

    And don't be so sure your doge couldn't have caused scratches on the chickens back.

    Without actually seeing a hawk, it's hard to say for sure what happened​
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I vote for the hawk, although I have hawks nesting nearby and they never bother the chickens, I assume because they have easier prey close by. Yes, a dog could do that, but it's much more likely (IME) that a dog will shake a chicken to death then leave it -- the dog's play toy stopped being fun.

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