Iowa Blue Chickens vs. Predators

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by IowaBlueCurt, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. IowaBlueCurt

    IowaBlueCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 21, 2013
    One thing is for certain. Iowa Blues DON'T like predators. Their disdain for them runs so deep in their blood that they proudly defy predators with an attitude of "I dare you to try" when chickens of other breed run for cover.

    Time and time again I hear stories from breeders telling of their Iowa Blue encounters with hawks, raccons, opposums, cats, mice, snakes, etc. So, I thought it was high time to get those stories out for all to see! I thought it would make a great conversation if breeders had a place they could share their stories about how their cockbird chased off a raccon, their broody hen took on a hawk, or their little 1 month old chicks grouped together and chased around the barn cat. This thread is designed to be a conversation about the defiant Iowa Blue vs. Nature's Predators.

    Share your stories, and if you're able, post pics of your cockbird/hen who saved the day!
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  2. IowaBlueCurt

    IowaBlueCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, I've got some time so I'll share my favorite Iowa Blue vs. Predator story!

    This was about 10 years ago when I had my first Iowa Blues. I had at the time just one Iowa Blue hen and she was broody with a nice group of about 20+/- Iowa Blue chicks. I turned mom and babies out to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine while I worked inside the chicken shed. After a short while, I heard the warning screech that chickens make when they see danger, so I thought I'd poke my head outside to take a look. I could see a large hawk making circles in the sky, and chickens were hiding everywhere; under bushes, under hutches, under grain wagons, etc. Every chicken was in hiding........except for my Iowa Blues, the broody hen, her chicks, and my only Iowa Blue cockbird (who was on the other side of the barn yard).

    The broody hen looked up at the hawk circling, and puffed out her chest with one eye angled up at the sky. She'd go back to gathering her chicks, then look up at the hawk and puff herself out. This went on for a few seconds then all at once the hawk dove down upon the hen. When she saw him coming, she jumped up to meet him locking her feet with his talons! There they fought, feet interlocked, wings flapping, beaks jabbing, dust billowing, screeching in ways I'd never heard before, and feathers EVERYWHERE.

    When the cockbird saw the hawk dive down, he came running to the aid of his damsel in distress. But by the time he got to the sceen of the crime, the hawk had decided he'd met his match and took off in a dead heat to anywhere but where he had just been! The broody hen fluffed herself the way broody hens do, and called out to her chicks. Now, while the fight was going on the chicks all bolted for cover, and now that she was calling them out, they were coming from all over the place! Now, I didn't really notice they had left until the hen called them out, and I still don't know where they came from or where they were hiding.......they just appeared!

    Once her chicks were gathered safely by her side, she promptly returned to her regular duties of scratching the ground and tending to her chicks, like the whole hawk fight had never taken place. If I had not seen it with my own eyes, there would have been no indication on the hen that such an event ever happened at all! At that moment, the Iowa Blue became my utmost favorite breed of chicken, and they still are today.

    I do have a pic of this hen, it's not the best as it's an oldie. She was small for the breed and too dark (although the pic makes her look darker than she was), but boy was she scrapy! haha
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  3. iamfivewire

    iamfivewire Chillin' With My Peeps

    Here's a story : last week we had our 3rd dog attack on our flock (our neighbor witnessed the attacks & had to chase the dog away at least 3 seperate times) - 1 of our RSL hens & a buff chantcler pullet found dead , & our IaB pullet is still missing & assumed dead - but our Roo got beat up pretty bad protecting the girls. as of day 7 after the attack, he's still hanging on to life (barely - he's lost alot of weight & has some bad bite wounds). some of our "chicken" friends said we probably should've culled him & predicted he wouldnt survive thru the night. . . . . so 7 days later, he's still alive - maybe if for no other reason than sheer determination or stubborness or ??. we figure he deserves the chance to "live" after this. He's still got a long road to recovery - we are proud & impressed by him & the IowaBlue breed & glad we have them.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. IowaBlueCurt

    IowaBlueCurt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a pretty remarkable story. In my conversations with Brett about this cockbird, it appears that the neighbor noticed that Gandalf went after the dog as soon as the dog had entered the vacinity of the hens. Not many breeds will do this.

    Now, I do have to "clear the air" here a bit. I have heard of some of our breeders getting requests for Iowa Blues so that they can have them attack local predators. Please keep in mind, no chicken can take on a dog and "win". What makes Iowa Blues so unique is that they have this strong desire to self sacrifice if you will, and where as cockbirds of other breeds would run away from a dog/fox/racoon, ect., Iowa Blue males will meet the intruder with the full intent of sacrificing their life should the need arise in order to protect their flock.

    Having said this, to anyone interested in purchasing Iowa Blues for the sole intent of using them for predator control, this is not what chickens are used for. Yes, Brett's cockbird met the intruder and have the dog his best, and no doubt Brett's entire flock would have been killed had not Gandalf rose to the occasion so to speak. For me, it is a trait that I like about the breed, that they aren't afraid to make the sacrifice. On the other hand (as do the rest of the breeders), I do my best to prevent these occurances........but any time on lets their flock out to forage the farm yard, this is always a risk.

    We wish Gandalf a quick and full recovery!
     
  5. I had an IB rooster that fought off a weasel to protect his hen and newborn chick. The hen and rooster had bite marks on them, but the chick was perfectly fine. They all made a full recovery!
     
  6. iamfivewire

    iamfivewire Chillin' With My Peeps

    2 months + & hes doing alot better
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. iamfivewire

    iamfivewire Chillin' With My Peeps

    hes still doing ok - his left leg doesnt work so he has to hop to get around
    [​IMG]
     
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