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I THINK this relates to this section....Am considering putting the dog out

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chickchoon1, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. chickchoon1

    chickchoon1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    in the yard, somehow, to discourage predators.Lost a BO pullet(10 months old) to, I THINK, a hawk today. Have lost a few birds to various predators(guessing at all of the possibilities) this winter and have NEVER had this many problems. Had chickens for 10 yrs before first incident a few years ago. Anyhow-was in barn looking out toward chic house(chic house is between my house and barn) and saw Coopers hawk swoop closeby and chickens were all hiding in the barn but ONE that was fussing in chic shed so went to chic shed and there was the live fussing chicken and a dead chic behind nest box on floor(nest box is old dresser about 5' tall) with her side ripped open so the theory is hawk grabbed her and chicken fought to get away(feathers all over opening to shed) and she made it behind nest box to die. I can't afford any new fence,etc so for the time being may put the dog out on chain(which he likes btw!) by shed. Am heartbroken because I have 12 newbies scheduled for end of March. By the time they are big enough to intigrate hopefully I can think of predator preventor. Its been sad finding a single hen every so often mutilated. If I get on the predator section therre are too many suggestions for drowning,poisoning and other horridness and I am determined to prevent the predators foremost and have more humane traps set up(no luck getting the possible weasels yet though!) Just angry at the moment.
     
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Sorry for your loss [​IMG]. I would have thought that 10 mo pullet a bit large for a Coopers - oh well! A couple of suggestions - non harmful. Firstly - human urine. If you can pee around the perimeter of the chick house, it's a fairly strong deterrent to foxes etc. Putting the dog out on a chain is also good - as long as he doesn't eat the chickens. Battery/solar motion detector light - most animals will run if the light comes on. These three are pretty inexpensive and will deter predators for a while. When you have the money for a new fence try an electric fence, they are reasonably priced.
    Best of luck, keep us posted, [​IMG]
     
  3. chickchoon1

    chickchoon1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    TY. She was large and my very first experience with learning what a Coopers hawk WAS was a few years back when my son ran in saying a hawk had one of the girls and had flown in the barn. I went out, hawk flew out and to the ground faking injury by flopping around on its back until I went to pick it up(with box!) and flew off(did research-young Coopers,which we have several of now flying around!). Later found 5 lb. hen it tried to take unharmed behind a hay bale.The pullet I found dead today appears to have tried to get away because of all the feathers right outside shed and there were quite a few feathers inside. The skin over her left hip was torn away so I can only assume hawk did it. I have no problem killing ground dwelling predators as long as their demise is as humane as possible. Have only theories on what killed another hen. I found yet another 6 year old hen dead in driveway(after dark) when I came home from work last week. She also had tears in her skin. Chickens did NOT want to go back to their shed earlier but by dark they had all roosted. I have weasle traps set up in their shed but no takers yet. I love the pee thought. Seriously. We have bathroom issues right now and I have hope that idea might help! The hawk strikes are a huge concern so guess I will just have to do hourly yard sweeps to discourage them. I am tired. Thanks for suggestions
     
  4. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    You said you had fencing problems? Do you have posts, trees in the yard that you could tie string to in a criss cross fashion? If you can make a more difficult flight area for the hawks. Use visible string/wire so they can see it. Makes life a bit more difficult for them - they have discovered free dinner at your place...
     
  5. chickchoon1

    chickchoon1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know. Nothing, really, that I can do about it short of keeping them in their 20'x8' fenced area around chic shed.Its all mud in their fenced area and a handful of them make it out anyways. I have some yellow vinyl like rope I could do the criss cross thing over their small area but I envision hawks figuring that out.Will try anyways and hope the dang weasels(IF thats what the other predator is!) go for traps.Still shocked that it was so peaceful here for so long.My heart doesn't want to give up on having chickens and I am feeling beat up.[​IMG]< dancing chicken is cheerful.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Probably more of a predator rather than a management issue but...

    Wild predators/pests can be pretty savvy about a chained dog, they watch and know how far the dog can range.

    The only real protection against hawks is a hawk proof run.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Weasels are nasty little buggers! Kill for fun [​IMG] You need to check every inch of the coop & run. Any hole larger than a quarter - weasels can get in - hard to believe but true. You could also try hanging up CD's where they can twirl and reflect the light. It will work for a while....
     
  8. chickchoon1

    chickchoon1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Somebody is living under the shed and whoever it is makes tunnels all around the chic shed for the last 2 years and I was guessing at voles or moles but wonder if weasels tunnel? And the mystery predator strikes pre-dusk when chickens aren't all up roosting so their doors are open. The dog could help immensly(and he doesn't give a rats patootie about the chics!) so he's on the list of preventions but I am so busy I have to figure out how to contain him. We have tons of useless CDs so thats a thought(oh if I could post pics it will look so darling with the yellow rope with CDs dangling from them!)
     
  9. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    If you had weasels living under/in the coop area, I would expect more losses. Rats would be my bet....they can & will bite birds if they are sufficiently hungry. I had an infestation of them a couple of years ago. I put down Tom Cat enclosed bait stations and haven't seen one since! [​IMG] The cats & dogs both wander in and out of the hen house so rodents are kept to a minimum thankfully.
    I can't wait to see pics of your 'decorated' yard! [​IMG]
     
  10. chickchoon1

    chickchoon1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OOOKKKKK..[​IMG]Just got home from picking up new engined truck from shop(another reason I am so poor/angry/rambly) and chickens were terrified in their shed(it was after 5 pm here) and I immediately went to shed to see a hawk(not a Redtail but more than likely Coopers) flying out of shed and it had killed/partially eaten a Redstar hen. So now I am thinking the very first bird I found 2 weeks ago(Salmon Faverolles hen) with her crop/neck eaten could have very well been a hawk(THIS hawk, probably) Suffice it to say I now know for a fact smallish hawks DO take chickens(well-they kill them/eat them on site) when given the opportunity. The chickens are so terrified and it breaks my heart. No more pastured chicken here, I am sad.And this is still allowed in "managing your flock" I believe. I took out 2 adult/7 young rats 2 years ago with snap traps(after saying how fortunate I was in having never seen a rat for the first 12 yrs of chickendom) but they had been after the feed at that point.Anyhoo-I think I would have felt better if it HAD been just weasels. That is a creepy heartsinking feeling seeing that hawk fly that way(sounds weird too) out of the shed. Will consider something like aart displayed above.
     

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