lost 2 birds =-(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by richbrad08, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. richbrad08

    richbrad08 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2013
    So about 2 months ago i decided to let my girls free range. They seem to be more happy with this because i live in a double wide trailer and i have a big back porch thats screams all you can eat buffet. So just recently i added a 7 month old black jersey giant weight about 7 or 8 pounds. He is nice he allows me to pick him up and pet him. However he dosent crow( tho i got him to crow when i played another rooster crowing i think it was his frist time lol because he went and got some water to clear his throat) nor does he show any love for his girls. i have 3 muts and 3 black austrolops. THe muts are about 5 months old and the blacks are about 3 or 4 months. Im pretty sure he will love them when he gets use to them. When i added him i Just recently i lost 2 about 8 or 10 week old buffs due to i belive a hawk. i noticed two pile of feathers on the ground. Then a couple of days ago i thought i lost 2 blackies and decided to put them back in the run. but 2 days later i found them udnerneath my trailer just chilling. Its not easy to catch 2 chickens underneath there....

    So how do i let my girls free range?
    Will the roo protect them soon?
    I have never heard a hawk alram...
     
  2. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2013
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    My Coop
    RichBrad,

    Just a few questions to help understand your set up. Are you home when they're free ranging or are they by themselves? Do you lock them all in a secure coop at night? Is your place in a populated area, more rural or in the middle of the woods type setting?

    I think your guess that a hawk got the 2 is pretty good, given the pile of feathers. I have a book (Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, p. 128) that tries to help me figure out what predator I have and a pile of feathers applies to a hawk. A hawk will sometimes eat the chicken right where it killed it.

    Predators are hard to deter when you free range. I free range but have only been keeping chickens for about 3 months now. I have 2 dogs that are very helpful as I live on the border of 3,000 acres of Daniel Boone National Forest in KY. We have lots of wild predators (coyotes, fox, hawks, snakes and probably a bunch of others too). The dogs run in the woods in the morning and night and bark at anything and everything. Mostly barking at deer but I'm sure it deters everything else too. The dogs also pee and poo about the place, which I've heard helps too.

    So, a dog is a big plus to help keep predators away. At the same time, you have to train the dog to not kill the chickens! This took a lot of time on my part to train them. One of the 2 is still not trust worthy alone with the chickens. He's also blind so this adds another layer of complexity to the whole thing.

    Another thought is people in more suburban areas are more bothered by domestic animals than wild ones. Mostly dogs so something to think about if this applies to you. A dog will often kill a bunch of chickens for sport.

    In any case, hawks are tough. Crows are supposed to keep them away. You can attract crows, I've read, by throwing out whole corn or hanging shiny things in your yard like CDs. Or, you can cover the area with wire or thread thin strings across the area.... stuff like this. If you do a search in this forum on "hawks", you'll get loads of info from people who've experienced them directly and what they did to try to solve the problem.

    But, ultimately, free ranging comes with risks. Sooner or later, something will very likely get one or more of your chickens. It's just how nature works. I'm saying this partly for your benefit and partly to prepare myself for what I know in my heart is inevitable.

    Good luck and I hope some of this is a bit helpful,
    Guppy
     
  3. richbrad08

    richbrad08 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 16, 2013
    When they Free range its all open. There coop is by the run and i attach wire across the ramp so i have the option to lock them up or let them out. The coop is unsecured but i have 2 dogs that watch over it at night. And they free range Wheneverer they want to. and the reason why i think its a hawk is because the baby chick scream for about 30 seconds. from what my wifes says. My dogs are pretty smart tho. I have a white lab/golden retriver and a choclate lab/ american bulldog so they are both bird dogs but since they see me with them they know they are not food. And plus i think Ms petunia peck at one of them lol. She the alpha female. But yeah i wanted to share my problem i will try the CD thing. I mean i live in alabama and theonly hawk i seen is very small. However i did see a huge bird with a wing spawn of my car =-(
     
  4. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2013
    Kentucky
    My Coop
    Having the 2 dogs I'm sure is a huge help and having them watch over your chickens all night is a huge help! The bird with the big wing span was probably a turkey vulture. I know we have them here and you do too, in Alabama.

    Good luck! Nice "chatting" with you!
    Guppy
     
  5. hrhta812

    hrhta812 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 27, 2009
    Lebanon, IN
    Guinea hens are supposed to be good at alerting for hawks, but they might need a separate roosting area; some folks say if you raise the guineas alongside your chickens, they'll do okay, but introducing adult guineas to an existing chicken flock may produce some fighting [guineas picking on chickens]. They are loud birds, though, so if you have neighbors, that might not work out. We have red tail hawks here and they are BIG, so I try to keep an eye on the sky, and I have seen them flying and gone outside to yell at them and stand guard. :)

    A friend of mine uses one of those pop up screened shelter things to graze her birds more safely - it only protects from sky predators, though. You'd need a sturdy chicken tractor to protect from other predators as well. Mine tend to hang out near the carport, or the truck that's parked in the open, so they can dart under and hide. I think a hawk needs a certain amount of open area to land and take off again, so obstacles can make it not quite so convenient for them.
     

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