Is there usually time to scare away a hawk? I did this evening!!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by yogashmoga, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. yogashmoga

    yogashmoga Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2013
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    This is my first flock and I have been afraid of hawk attacks. I haven't seen any in the area, but the previous home owner lost a chicken this way (mentioned the "feather bomb"...so I assume the bird wasn't just scooped away.) I usually free-range the girls on our quarter acre; in a neighborhood close to Salt Lake City. Typically have the dogs (lab/border collie mix and boxer) out with them. I stupidly had the dogs inside this time.

    My silly Percy girl on the right:

    [​IMG]

    At about 5pm I heard her squawking uncontrollably. I went to the window and saw all of the other chickens heading for the coop. I let the dogs out and made it outside just in time to see a large bird in one of our trees. It flew off when I came outside.

    It took awhile to find the terrified, very wet bird, panting heavily. I checked for marks or cuts, but saw none. She was frozen in fear...didn't even come when I called to her (atypical....I usually have mealworms ;) .) It took me a while to even consider that bird in the tree was actually a HAWK- it wasn't much bigger than a chicken? Did a little research on hawks in the area and this is what I believe I saw:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for sticking with me through the detail. I'm curious to know if a hawk like this would/could take off with a full-grown/large-breed chicken? It would give me some peace of mind in free-ranging to know that I would have some time to get to my girls in case of an attack. I'm hoping that free-ranging A) with the dogs outside and B) only while I am home would be pretty significant steps to protect the gals.

    I'm sure if this predator tried once, it will try again.

    Scared the CRAP outta me. Poor little goofy thing....
     
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Dogs might be able to alert and/or scare off hawks, you probably couldn't....and it will probably be back.
    I've read of hawks attacking when a human was with a couple feet of target.
    Hawk wouldn't carry off a large chicken, but it can kill them for sure.

    Free ranging is always a risk, providing cover for chickens to hide in can help, dogs can help.
    Only real protection from hawks is a mesh covered run.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Boo71

    Boo71 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 8, 2013
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    If you saw a large bird take off from a tree it probably was not a Sharp Shinned. These hawks are very small but will kill pigeons and doves and will carry them off. A large chicken might be out of their weight class but who knows. The best thing I have for keeping hawks away is feeding a small group of crows who are always watching the yard for a snack (and chase hawks away). In the summer ravens have a nest about 100' from our house. No hawks or an other large bird is permitted in the area when the ravens come to start their family.
     
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  4. yogashmoga

    yogashmoga Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2013
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    that run is fantastic! we do have a secure hardware cloth run which provides adequate square footage...they have just been spoiled having the whole yard (and compost bin...man, they love that spot.) I will have to limit the free-ranging to an hour or two when the dogs and I are outside in improved weather. they also have less coverage than they would in the spring/summer without shrub/tree leaves to conceal their spots. shame. they have enjoyed tracking around in the snow :).

    I just went through a bunch of pictures and the hawk I saw looked just like various pics of the sharp-shinned hawk. I could be wrong- I know very little about these guys. at first I thought it was a falcon because of the long tail- but his head and beak were much smaller than the pictures of falcons I have seen. in fact, i thought his head seemed quite small for his body. incidentally, the picture of the sharp-skinned above was taken in the same area of Salt Lake that I live in. it looked just like the sharp-shinned pictured on this website from new mexico (and yes, barely bigger in height than my girls.):


    http://static.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/accipiterIDtable.htm

    so strange! after sifting through hundreds of posts...I am on a mission to plant more shrubs, feed more crows, purchase wind kites and weather vanes, move my fake owl around the yard more frequently, etc. may even consider a martin colony. thank you for the input :)
     
  5. yogashmoga

    yogashmoga Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 20, 2013
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    unfortunately we are not allowed roosters in the neighborhood. it was a sad day when "chick" started to crow. the coq au vin was delicious...but I miss my boy :(...and the girls could sure use a protector! if anyone needs to rehome a silent rooster, I'm BEYOND interested!! :)
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Thanks.....save your money for just the shrubs and crow feed...the rest is snake oil.

    Where are you located? You can put it in your profile will help someone ID the hawk you saw.
     
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