It Happens So Fast :'(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hokankai, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I let mostly everyone out today to enjoy the sun. I put my bantam babies (2 silkies and 6 cochins) in our homemade chick pen in the meadow. I went in the house for an hour, went out and the door was open and NONE of them were to be found [​IMG]. As I got closer a red tail hawk flew away and I bolted over there. They were all gone, no where, except for one decapitated silkie and my favorite cochin roo who had been trying to hide and was pecked through the wire one too many times. The others were gone without a trace. After a frantic, emotional run to the house to get my mother I ran back out trying to see if any happened to get away. After a few minutes I heard the faintest peeping and found two wedged in the tall grass 5 feet away from where the hawk had flown away. I scooped them up, cried, and ran and put them back into the brooder. I wandered around the area looking for feathers, bodies, anything and couldn't find anything else. Then, Molly, my broody, clucked and I heard another tiny peep. I called out and found another in the woods a little ways, where it wandered up to me. Another couple minutes later I miraculously found my other silkie, who I was sure was a goner, in the woods absolutely terrified. That left my little Jane, the runt who I didn't have high hopes of surviving because she was so little. I went to bury the two that were killed and then had the feeling I shouldn't give up yet. Sure enough, after about a minute of talking to my mom I heard a peep and saw little tiny Jane hiding in the wood pile two 3 feet away from the pen. I cried again and told her I was so proud of her for being smart and fast enough to hide in time.

    This was my first hawk attack, and it happened so incredibly fast. I have a lot of respect for nature so I can't be mad, but I am heartbroken nonetheless. However, I am so grateful that for some strange FLUKE I decided to leave Molly and her 8 chicks in the coop rather than letting them out with the other hens. That, and all of my hens were smart enough to run for cover and were nowhere to be found until I started calling for them where I promptly put them into the coop. I'm so sad I lost Lucy and Henry, but I also know it could have been SO much worse.

    Just thought I'd share this for anyone wanting their chicks to have outside time. Be safe, and ALWAYS take the necessary precautions. I guess the door to our little mini run wasn't what it needed to be, and I'm all the more motivated to make sure this never EVER happens again.

    RIP little Henry and Lucy [​IMG]
     
  2. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    I'm so sorry. [​IMG] Your babies are very smart. Good for them, knowing to keep under cover. [​IMG] Glad you found tiny Jane too.
     
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    Awww I'm SO sorry! [​IMG] I'm glad that you found the others though!
     
  4. dinahmoe

    dinahmoe Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. Avienda

    Avienda Out Of The Brooder

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    awww, I'm sooo sorry! I had the same thing happen last week. Let my babies out and got sidetracked with my 2 year old inside for about 30 mins. Ran back out and all 10 were gone. I found 4 hiding in the corner of the coop, and 5 more hiding under some wood about 30 ft away from the coop. I found just about 10 broken feathers in the middle of the yard, and they were all dark. I only had one dark chicken and she was my runt. I never leave them out alone now. The dang hawk now comes by at least twice a day to see if they are out there! I had three of them circling my yard today....They get really brave and only move on when I stand right under em!
     
  6. RGBistro

    RGBistro Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry about your loss, but if it makes you feel better, your post sealed my coop/run plan.

    Our neighbors tell us we have hawks. And coyotes... but I've never seen either.

    While our chicks are growin' up on our dining room floor, we're building them a coop in the yard... with a nice lil' run. We were waffling on whether or not to enclose the entire coop/run area, and thought we could "maybe" leave the run uncovered as long as everybody got locked up night. I suppose it's better to be safe than sorry.

    We're gonna put a lid on it.

    - Kim
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  7. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

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    [​IMG] I'm so sorry. I've had similar issues with birds of prey. Keep a close eye on them because that hawk will come back.
     
  8. hokankai

    hokankai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    SW WA
    Quote:Oh I will, I won't be leaving them alone again. I literally went in to just get some treats for them, got sidetracked talking to my mother, and then it was too late. I'm positive if I had gone out 5 minutes earlier it wouldn't have happened, which is what really rips my heart out.

    RGBistro- DEFINITELY cover your run. I've heard stories of hawks and owls finding their way in, any way they can. It's not worth the risk.

    It's so ironic because our coop is literally like Fort Knox, but I feel bad keeping them penned up so I like to let them out when I can supervise them. Anything outside of the coop is really just adding risk. But I guess their happiness and enrichment is worth it. They aren't happy without their "outside" time, and it's really just up to us to keep an eye on them.

    I can't let myself be sad though. I'm scheduled to pick up some older Mille Fleur d'Uccle chicks tomorrow and hopefully some more silkies...but I might pass on the silkies and just hold onto the little roo that survived since he's such a sweetheart and I don't want any more roos.

    Thanks for your support you guys. We lost our first hen this summer to a coyote, and then this. We're finishing up our first year as chicken-keepers so I guess this is the last lesson of Chickens 101 [​IMG]
     
  9. BrattishTaz

    BrattishTaz Roo Magnet

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    Quote:Oh I will, I won't be leaving them alone again. I literally went in to just get some treats for them, got sidetracked talking to my mother, and then it was too late. I'm positive if I had gone out 5 minutes earlier it wouldn't have happened, which is what really rips my heart out.

    RGBistro- DEFINITELY cover your run. I've heard stories of hawks and owls finding their way in, any way they can. It's not worth the risk.

    It's so ironic because our coop is literally like Fort Knox, but I feel bad keeping them penned up so I like to let them out when I can supervise them. Anything outside of the coop is really just adding risk. But I guess their happiness and enrichment is worth it. They aren't happy without their "outside" time, and it's really just up to us to keep an eye on them.

    I can't let myself be sad though. I'm scheduled to pick up some older Mille Fleur d'Uccle chicks tomorrow and hopefully some more silkies...but I might pass on the silkies and just hold onto the little roo that survived since he's such a sweetheart and I don't want any more roos.

    Thanks for your support you guys. We lost our first hen this summer to a coyote, and then this. We're finishing up our first year as chicken-keepers so I guess this is the last lesson of Chickens 101 [​IMG]

    It can be hard to find the balance between risk and quality of life. Birds like silkies and Polish are at higher risk because their vision is obstructed by their crests.

    Mille Fleur d'Uccles are my dream chicken. [​IMG] I decided against them because they are so small and probably wouldn't last long here. You will have to post pics of yours so I can admire from afar.
     
  10. goldfinches

    goldfinches Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't know how bad hawks were until I also lost my runt to one. It broke my heart, and my daughter's. Now, I keep an eye out for them and go stand under them if they start circling. The good thing that's come of it, all the rest of my flock knows what danger they pose and understand to hide when they are warned, now.

    I don't have a covered run, but do have two large evergreen trees whose branches reach the ground that take up about half of the run. My chicks know to hide under them and be quiet, that is how they keep themselves safe.
     

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