I think a hawk got one of my babies

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by goldfinches, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. goldfinches

    goldfinches Songster

    May 6, 2011
    Today is a sad day for us. We have lost a chick already. One of our 12 week old Red Stars. We have been working on making their coop and run ready for them, and thought it was pretty good. We were having issues with the bottom of the fence being too open and them getting out, we plan to put a 1x6 across to keep them in. But, it hasn't been done yet. I was too easygoing, trusting them to be okay all the time. I have seen a hawk flying over for the past couple of days, but I don't have any experience with hawks. We left the girls out for about 2 hours today while we were away for the house. We came home and they were outside the run. We cooped them, and my daughter counted them. She only counted 5 big girls instead of 6, and my dh confirmed. I wandered all over our yard, checked the field next door and the neighbor's yard. Then, I found a little pile of clumps of feathers. I believe a hawk got her.

    I plan to keep the others cooped for the next week at least while we fix the bottom of the run and either string fishing line or chicken net over the top.

    I'm so sad, and so is my daughter. It's a lesson I wish we didn't have to learn this way. I guess I was just too optimistic that they could be carefree free rangers when they wanted.

    Now, I have to figure out how to keep them cool while in the coop in this weather. It's around 85-90 each day. I have two windows and two vents in the coop, I freeze gallon jugs of water and hope that will help "air condition" them, and I plan to run a fan out to them. Does this sound good?
  2. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

    Jan 8, 2011
    Tampa Area, Florida
    It sounds like you have a good plan in place. I'm sorry you lost your chick. [​IMG] Hawks have been a problem for me too.
  3. mjuenem

    mjuenem Chirping

    Aug 8, 2010
    Putnam Co.
    My small coop has a large window and a cupola. I have a row of three small but powerfull 5"x5" fans that came out of a server rack. I mount them to the outside of the hardware cloth-covered window and they run 24x7 during summer. If there is no breeze, I often see the girls inside laying down right in front of those fans, they love them. My coop also has a ton of shade.
  4. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    [​IMG] I am so sorry for your loss.
  5. goldfinches

    goldfinches Songster

    May 6, 2011
    Thank you for the condolences and suggestions. I tried them with just the windows and frozen bottles of water yesterday and they seemed okay. I also didn't reach 90*, and isn't supposed to for the next few days. Maybe we can make it through this!

    So, I'm having trouble figuring out if it was indeed a hawk. My FIL says it was a fox or raccoon. I don't know if it's one of those, or a pregnant cat who loves our backyard, or the hawk I've seen hovering. The cat was in my yard this morning when I woke up, but the hawk was circling yesterday afternoon and hovering right over the coop.

    I could describe the feather pattern I've found, but I don't think that will give me any clue. I guess my best bet is to just secure them, which we are doing today [​IMG]
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Free Ranging

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Raccoons usually behead and eat the organs leaving the rest.

    I have lost a hen to both a hawk and a fox. The feather pattern is different. With a hawk, it's more of a circular pile of feathers. With a fox, it's more of a trail of feathers as it carries it's prey away.

    I'm sorry for your loss. It's never easy. The chicken we lost to the hawk was our son's chicken.
  7. goldfinches

    goldfinches Songster

    May 6, 2011
    Thank you. I'm so sorry for your son's loss, how sad.

    From your description, I think it was a hawk. I've seen the hawks overhead all week, but my chickens now hide and warn each other when they're nearby. Also, I have a few songbirds who warn them when the hawks are near.

    My girls have their coop and two huge evergreen trees to hide in when the hawks are near. Hope that's enough security for them.

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