Lost 2 birds to hawks in a month

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Crabman, Dec 5, 2010.

  1. Crabman

    Crabman Out Of The Brooder

    The first loss occurred about a month ago. I had put the chickens back in the pen after a few hours of free ranging like I do every day. I went in the house for an hour or so and when I came back out I saw something in the coop that should not be there. A very large wing spanned bird. I opened up the door and let the chickens out. When I approached the hawk it grabbed on to the wire and was hanging by its talons upside down as if daring me to get any closer. I got behind it with a broom and it released and flew out the door. It was a Redtail. Laying in the corner dead was one of our Ameracauna hens, Cindy, as my boys named her. On top of my run I only had plastic bird netting and the hawk either cut or fell through this insufficient defense. I am now installing chicken wire on top to prevent this.

    The second loss occurred just yesterday. I let the chickens out to run the yard again in the morning. After about a half hour I heard them fussing so I looked out the window and to my horror a small hawk had one of our Old English bantam roosters pinned to the ground, only 10 feet from the house!. I ran outside and the hawk flew away. I have been told this probably was a Coopers Hawk due to its small size. The rooster was dead. So I put them back in the coop and now I`m hesitant to leave them out if I`m not out there, which is a real shame because we love to let them free range around the yard and the chickens are used to getting out most days. I did not lose any birds since I got them last Spring until now. Are hawks more of a problem this time of year or was I just unlucky? If you free range your birds do you just accept a loss now and then or can something be done to deter these predators? Will my dog being outside deter hawks? (she is a 11 yr old lab and she and the chickens get along very well, they pretty much ignore each other to my surprise) I have a wooded 1.5 acre lot with a field in front of my house and woods to the back, houses on each side. Does this layout has anything to do with hawks being around?. Sorry for all the questions but I`m new to losing birds to hawks. Thanks, Crabman
     
  2. Lorije1

    Lorije1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are having problems with a Cooper's Hawk as well. Blasted creature has only been getting my neighbor's chickens so far (6 that I know of) but the other day he was sitting in the pecan tree in my backyard!! [​IMG]
    Our properties are relatively open fields with just one patch of woods nearby.

    Killing or harassing raptors is a federal crime and since I have waaaay too many jerk neighbors SSS (shoot shovel shut up) is not an option. I contacted the Game Commission and they gave all of the usual answers - hawk netting over the top of the run, string / fishing line woven across the top, CDs in the wind... blah blah... doesn't really work for a 1 acre pasture.
    Another neighbor has a couple of goats - no hawk trouble. Mr B, my neighbor that keeps losing chickens to the hawk said at his old farm they had some geese - no hawk trouble.

    If you can do something to attract crows / black birds they will chase away a hawk (even a big Redtail) , but they do steal baby birds from birdhouses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  3. Crabman

    Crabman Out Of The Brooder

    Another hawk showed up in the yard today looking for a meal. It could have been the same Coopers hawk that got my bantam rooster last weekend, sure looked like it. But I had all the gang in lockdown mode and the wire top on the run is now in place. This is the first time I can remember seeing hawks walking around my yard and I have lived here 26 yrs, but then again this is my first year with chickens here.
     
  4. MaransGuy

    MaransGuy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You really have no idea what kind of predators are in your area until you start keeping poultry. Pretty quickly, however, you will discover just how many are around. Chickens are at the bottom of the food chain and there are predators that fill every niche- day and night and they change throughout the seasons. After a few years you will get a feel for what is doing what in your area. Unfortunately, as soon as you think you have it all figured out the sneak attack can get you. It is a never ending battle. Suburban areas are typically the worst. Cities usually have enough trash around that the few predators would rather scavage than fight for food. Country areas usually have a better balance with ample natural prey as well as predator deterents, i.e. crows. The danger zones are the areas somewhere in-between. There you still have many displaced predators and lack of sufficient prey so the birds are more at risk. Hotwires are one of the most effective deterents for walking prey but as long as you free range flying predators will always be a threat.
     
  5. dewey

    dewey Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think dogs in the yard can help sometimes if they are sky-aware types. I guess it depends on the dog. My dogs were vigilant and would keep an eye to the sky and chase off most birds. They'd even spot and "chase off" high flying airplanes that looked like tiny dots in the sky. Hawks are fast, though, and can seem to come out of nowhere and with several acres to guard, dogs can't always be there on the spot.

    What doesn't always work in business works with predators...build it and they will come. Sometimes they find a way even with the best efforts we've made to protect livestock. Even my dirt floor rabbit barn is wired yet I worry.

    I'm so sorry for your losses.
     
  6. cappy

    cappy Out Of The Brooder

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    Well, it finally happened. Wednesday afternoon I noticed a commotion out in the pasture. My donkey was running and braying and the chickens were hotfooting it to the coop. I saw a hawk had pinned one on the ground. I ran out the door but the donkey and rooster scared off the hawk before I got there. When she saw me coming the chicken jumped up and ran to the coop so I thought everything was ok. When I checked her I saw several puncture wounds on her back and abdomen, One apparently penetrated her stomach as there was a fluid coming out of the wound. I treated her with antibiotic and put her under a heat lamp. She made it throught the night but passed Thursday afternoon. I know that letting the girls range during the day is playing with fire but they love it and this is the first loss in 2 years. The rooster keeps pretty good watch over the flock and has attacked hawks that land in the pasture picking rodents and grubs. Last year I heard a commotion and 4 chickens had a hawk down and roughing it up pretty good so they have had their licks. I noticed that they stay close to the coop now and don't wander out in the open so I guess they learned. I know that they will forget pretty soon and be back at wandering the pasture to their delight. I guess that is an unfortunate part of living in the country. I can accept (but not like) an occasional loss but if it becomes a regular occurance then unfortunately the girls get locked down day and night instead of just at night.
     
  7. cappy

    cappy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 22, 2009
    Cottageville, SC
    Well, it finally happened. Wednesday afternoon I noticed a commotion out in the pasture. My donkey was running and braying and the chickens were hotfooting it to the coop. I saw a hawk had pinned one on the ground. I ran out the door but the donkey and rooster scared off the hawk before I got there. When she saw me coming the chicken jumped up and ran to the coop so I thought everything was ok. When I checked her I saw several puncture wounds on her back and abdomen, One apparently penetrated her stomach as there was a fluid coming out of the wound. I treated her with antibiotic and put her under a heat lamp. She made it throught the night but passed Thursday afternoon. I know that letting the girls range during the day is playing with fire but they love it and this is the first loss in 2 years. The rooster keeps pretty good watch over the flock and has attacked hawks that land in the pasture picking rodents and grubs. Last year I heard a commotion and 4 chickens had a hawk down and roughing it up pretty good so they have had their licks. I noticed that they stay close to the coop now and don't wander out in the open so I guess they learned. I know that they will forget pretty soon and be back at wandering the pasture to their delight. I guess that is an unfortunate part of living in the country. I can accept (but not like) an occasional loss but if it becomes a regular occurance then unfortunately the girls get locked down day and night instead of just at night.
     
  8. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very sadly, we lost one of our BR chicken today. We had 5 and live in urban area. Last night, they were all the in coop.
    We have automatic coop door and I assumed they all came out this morning.
    In the afternoon went out to give them some treats and only 4 showed up.
    Went through the yard and found a dead chicken in the raspberry bushes. I dont see any wounds,
    but feathers pulled out from bottom of neck and lower area to the belly.
    Is this the work of hawk or other predator ? How come there are no wounds or anything ?
    Did the chicken fall from the tree where hawk might be holding it ?
    This is first time we are raising chickens and its very very sad to let go of one of the girls. :-(
     
  9. Crabman

    Crabman Out Of The Brooder

    I am sorry to hear about these losses. These hawks strike so fast, you go in the house for a few minutes and come out and one of your flock is mauled. It appears this is a fairly common problem.
     
  10. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ouch. We only have lost one or two to hawk attacks, when our flock was real young. We still get hawk attacks from time to time, but our rooster wins every time. I've only seen the whole happening via a good vantage point twice; and WOW, what a sight to see our roo defend the flock... Truly amazing!
     

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