I'm not sure I'll ever free range again!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Nicole01, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    My neighbor and I free range our chickens about the same times through out the day. 2 days ago a hawk swooped down and tried strangling one of my neighbors chickens in front of her. Luckily my neighbor scared the hawk away and the chicken is okay. It was a very frightening moment. My girls were in their coop and they heard the comotion and hid under their roost all day. We've been hearing more hawks lately since most the song birds migrated.

    That hawk could of easily picked up my D'Uccle and carried her away forever. [​IMG]. Hawks are horrible!
  2. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Hawks, Eagles, Osprey and Owls are a normal part of free-ranging. It does help to free-range large fowl and to have places where they can easily hide.
  3. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    I'm thinking of putting netting in the wooded areas where they normally scratch and look for bugs. They have 2 main spots, but this year is out of the question! The leaves have fallen off the trees. I'm so glad hubby made the coop and run bigger then the minimum requirements. We are winter proofing the run, so they will have plenty of room all winter long.
  4. ejb3810

    ejb3810 Songster

    Jan 31, 2010
    Northern Minnesota
    It is the high migration period at this time, and I am convinced that the predatory birds recognize buildings and pens that are a food source even when they don't see the birds. That means that they will hunt in that vicinity consistently while they are in the area.
    Many types of hawk will kill a full grown chicken, even a large bird. Hawks are capable of killing birds substantially larger than themselves, and they frequently eat the prey on the spot of kill because the victim is too heavy to carry away.
    If you free range you will experience losses at some time. To protect your birds you would need a run that is securely fenced and has a strong top covering. Bird netting as a cover is not adequate. Hawks and owls can go right through it.
  5. JodyJo

    JodyJo Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    I live in a rural, high mountain area...so far we have been lucky.
    Two years with chickens, and no occurrences with the eagles, hawks, or owls.

    My chickens have a lot of places to hide, that is the key...build the coop under the trees, give them shelter to hide.
    It sounds like yours have a great place to winter!
  6. Zonoma

    Zonoma Songster

    Mar 15, 2011
    Northern Kentucky
    I grow a large, thick patch of thornless blackberries in the back corner of my yard right next to the coop. I'm convinced that's what saved my girls' lives last week when a large hawk attacked. *I* couldn't even find them in there! I had to wait til they calmed down and came to me.
  7. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Crowing

    Mar 28, 2011
    Quote:What a great idea! We love blackberries! We'll have to find some plants next spring, that's if they survive winters. I don't hear of anyone with blackberries around here, we usually buy them frozen from the store.
  8. simplynewt

    simplynewt Chirping

    Sep 12, 2011
    My Coop
    I was considering free ranging my girls but will probably wait and make the run I have built for them a little larger. The above scenario is what I fret the most and I would hate to have to come home from work to a missing hen.

    I have heard from a couple associates at work that the hens can see the hawks flying in the sky and they boot scoot it back to the run. Any truth to this?
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    We usually only have problems in the fall, when the red-tailed hawks migrate through the area. They fly right over our house and sometimes stop by. Once the leaves have all fallen, it's especially dangerous. That's when we stop free ranging. We take them out for walks, with the dogs along to help discourage attacks. I carry a walking stick or a bat to swing in the air, in case of an attack. Once the snow cover is here, we don't take them out until spring, when it melts. We don't usually have trouble in the spring, just the fall.
  10. Hot2Pot

    Hot2Pot Fox Hollow Rabbitry

    Feb 1, 2010
    West TN
    I have had hawks and black vultures take birds even under cover of trees. I saw a hawk fly off with my live polish pullet still screaming:'(

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