1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Is this suddenly hawk season

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by bobbieschicks, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    4,487
    74
    251
    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Is there such a thing as hawk season? Or did the local hawks just notice my coop & chickens. What can I do to keep the hawks/birds from attacking my chickens? Will they leave alone the larger sized chickens usually? We have had hawks come through from time to time, but our biggest birds of prey are usually eagles, osprey and vultures.

    I have a small flock of 11 young chickens (27, 24 and 14 weeks old) and 27 week old Foghorn my white leghorn rooster who is watching over the flock. He does a great job of being a watch rooster. I hate to have to leave the cooped up in the secure run - but if that's what it takes to keep them safe, I'll do it.

    Here's the story:
    I let the flock out to freerange in their new fenced run this morning. This was their 4th day of having the run and being allowed to freerange in it without supervision.

    I was inside our house when I heard the rooster making a weird honking noise and I rushed outside only to scare off a small greyish hawk/bird about the size of a large bluejay. Everyone was accounted for and most of the flock was inside the secured run under the coop. They seemed fine so I left them out and loose. Then later the kids were eating lunch and I heard the honking again - so I asked them to look out to see if that bird was back.

    This time it was a different bird - large with dark or black back and grey underside - about the size of an osprey. It was sitting on the top of the smaller coop in the unsecured run. My WL pullet was cowering under the nestbox of that coop. All the other larger birds were cowering under the fir tree on the other side of the coop - including the rooster. My two tiny silkies who were smashed inside the corner of the straw bales trying to make themselves invisible. The bird sqawked loudly and took off - I thought for sure it had killed someone or took someone from the ruckous it made as it lef. But everyone was accounted for and Foghorn was quite aggitated. I put everyone into their secure run and closed the door.

    We've had a hawk/large bird hanging out around the coop lately sitting on the top of the run. He's midway between the size of the two we saw today. You can see his body over the doorway if you look up from the white chair straight up in the picture. I took this picture about a week ago.
    [​IMG]

    This next picture was from October - there is a hawk/bird on the top of the swingset in the picture over the swing on the left side. It stuck around for a few days and went on its way. It was as big as the one that I saw today the 2nd time. May have been the same kind. Dark back and light underside. Looks to be about 2 feet tall - huge wing span.

    [​IMG]


    My secure run is attached to the coop and wired over and around with welded and hardware cloth. And their new unsecure run is just 5' metal posts with 4' 2x4 welded wire around the perimeter so they wouldn't get so close to my neighbor's yards and keep the poop contained in one area. My plan is to section off half of the run on each side and have a garden/compost pile with alternating years. These pictures were from this morning before all the hawk escapades.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Wile E.

    Wile E. Out Of The Brooder

    61
    1
    31
    Dec 6, 2011
    South Cryogenica
    Unfortunately, no there is no hawk season.
     
  3. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,421
    692
    306
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Hawks are around all year but they also migrate so you may have more at some times than others. Also, since there is less to eat in the winter, you're more likely to see bolder behaviors as they hunt for the scarcer food supply.
     
  4. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    4,487
    74
    251
    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Bummer. Well I think I will try the fishing line trick because I can't afford to wire in the whole area. I am also considering a net, but that is more expensive since I already have the fishing line on hand.
     
  5. tgblldog70

    tgblldog70 Chillin' With My Peeps

    127
    2
    93
    Jul 20, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    I had someone tell me to hang the silver cd/dvd from wires I guess hawks dont like shiny things and to also put plastic owls around the coops. I do understand about the cost of fencing the top,we have a 100x24 run for our chickens and we have to have them in a 20x4 run covered for now until we can set up their new home/run this spring. it bums me out we have had 3 attacks but only one loss,we only have 3 hens and a roo now.
     
  6. RoosterRanch

    RoosterRanch Out Of The Brooder

    43
    1
    24
    Mar 23, 2010
    Waverly WV
    I used to have issues with Coopers Hawks but never Red Tails. Lots of redtails around but they never seem to give the birds a second look. There is little you can do other than providing them with a covered run but I might suggest a dog. I know that hawks are very reluctant to come to the ground if there is a 4 legged predator loose.
     
  7. DDRanch

    DDRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2008
    California
    I have red tails, red shouldered hawks year round where I live. The hens I have lost to hawks have been the migratory hawks during the winter months so my hens don't get to free range as much in the winter. I would be very nervous too if the hawks were sitting so close to my coop/pen.

    Also, the young red tails and red shoulders will hang around and make unsuccessful strikes, as they learn to hunt so I keep a close watch during hawk baby season too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  8. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

    6,511
    647
    361
    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    Yes for me there is a hawk season... from fall to mid spring I cannot let anything less than fully grown out to free range because of hawks- mainly Cooper's and a large hawk, never bothered to ID(other than cuss words), might be red shoulder or rough legged? Looks similar to a red tail, except very heavily barred, dark colors with browns & don't see it soaring much, more often sitting and scanning and when it flies, it tends to fly low and between trees. The Cooper's and this hawk are Extremely persistent and very bold. Some coopers have swooped at chicks only 6 feet from me. Shooing and chasing them off doesn't do much to deter them, they just fly out of your sight and wait.

    Mid spring all way to fall even day old chicks are perfectly safe to be out all day.

    Red tails are around year round, they never bothered my chickens. I even got to see a red tail swoop and successfully catch a ground squirrel that came around to mooch off chicken feed. There were chickens everywhere around it and the hawk only went straight for the squirrel. (the chickens did react like it was a doomsday during that event!)
     
  9. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    4,487
    74
    251
    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    I think it was a Coopers hawk that had my pullet cowering under the little coop.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  10. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,637
    49
    231
    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    Wire in half . The only safe solution is wire.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by