Lost one today ...:(

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by hmt007, Oct 13, 2014.

  1. hmt007

    hmt007 In the Brooder

    Oct 6, 2014
    I am new at this....only had my chickens for 2 weeks. My husband built me a great coop and was putting the finishing touched in the run this morning. We had thought about letting them free range since we have a nice fenced in backyard, but thought we would do te run just in case. We went into the garage for some more wire and wood and that is all it took....I came around the corner and a hawk had found its way into te run and had my beautiful chicken pulled apart. It was one of the most horrible things I had ever seen. I feel so horrible and feel like it was our fault. How do people that free range their chickens not lose them every day? The run is finished and a mouse couldn't get in now, but I feel like we were so close to completely protecting them....:(
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    So sorry for your loss. It's part of chicken keeping, unfortunately. Losses happen, and free ranging the birds is a trade-off between having a more natural life for the birds, and predator losses. How old/ large are your birds? More maturity definitely helps, and your survivors have learned something they need to know. Your hawk will return, maybe not daily, but every third day or so. Keep your flock locked in their covered run and coop for at least eight to ten days, until that raptor moves on. Make sure your run and coop are really safe; lots of sad stories here to learn from. Mary
  3. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Songster

    Dec 10, 2013
    Sorry to hear about your chicken. I have had my chickens for 18 months and haven't allowed free ranging yet because our neighbors refused to keep their nasty chicken-eating dogs put up. I've seen them cut thru our yard carrying other neighborhood chickens in their mouth. The neighbors got rid of the dogs...I think they got tired of replacing everyone's chickens. I'm considering free ranging now but I'm still hesitant. Hawks are plentiful here and some of my neighbors lost chickens to them this summer. Everyone in the area free ranges but me. I want my chickens to be able to roam around but I gotta think about it some more. I only have 16 chickens and I would hate to lose a single one of them.
  4. I don't care how good of a run you have, you are never going to completely protect every hen, so don't beat yourself up.

    You or your chickens must be good or else lucky every day to prevent loses, the chicken killing varmints must only get lucky once to score a meal. Hang in there.
    1 person likes this.
  5. hmt007

    hmt007 In the Brooder

    Oct 6, 2014
    Agreed....we were literally talking about free range this morning and could not believe tht the hawk had the nerves to actually enter into a partially enclosed coop. We had 2 three months olds in there 2 plus a hen...I know it could have been worse but it was still horrible.... I want them to feel free and have lots of space but also feel like it is my duty to protect them...
  6. chicknshrimp

    chicknshrimp Chirping

    Jun 29, 2014
    So sorry about your loss :( We've been free-ranging for 3 years and have had no problems but are very careful and have been lucky too Im sure. We live in Denver and have all sorts of stuff (coyotes, foxes, skunks, raccoons, hawks, and great horned owls, that we've seen).

    We keep them in a totally enclosed coop (floor included) with enclosed open-bottom run and an automatic chicken door connecting them that opens at dawn and closes at dusk to protect them from nocturnal digging predators. We make sure to have plenty of foliage around the coop and yard to provide shelter when free-ranging. We only let them out when were home and we also have dogs that are out with them part of the time. They go back to the coop at dusk to roost and the automatic door closes them in. We also go and count them at dusk to make sure none have decided to roost elsewhere.

    We have had a few hawks dive but the chickens ran into the foliage and the dogs came out. We have had coyotes mess with the coop at night but weren't able to get in and we chased them away. We know we'll lose one eventually, it will happen. We are moving this summer and will be getting a livestock guardian dog to live with them full time, I think thats the best way to go if you can.

    Just do the best you can and don't beat yourself up, good luck!
  7. tcstoehr

    tcstoehr Chirping

    Mar 25, 2014
    Canby, Oregon
    I sometimes wonder. Before I got chickens I could see my neighbor free-ranging his chickens without any problems. So I did the same and have not had any problems... yet. I did have a Coopers Hawk come in to check things out, to no avail. There are Red Tailed Hawks plenty out here. I think alot has to do with my chickens being full grown and hawk savvy. The slightest thing might send them running for cover. However, if a coyote or a dog comes along, I'm sure there will be some trouble.
  8. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Songster

    Jun 10, 2014

    Remember, if you create a situation where a predator can get in, and the chickens can't get out - you're basically created a feeding station.

    I have plenty of overhead hawk, and vulture activity, and I've actually seen some dive-bombing/hunting, but haven't lost any birds. I think it's mostly because my birds (5lb athletic bird) have plenty of room to maneuver, and open sky, so they can tell when things are coming. Anything overhead and they head to the coop.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  9. thomasboyle

    thomasboyle Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Northwest Hills of CT
    Very sorry for your loss. Hawks are migrating now, so you may see a higher volume than normal for a while. Your hawk will continue to come around for a few days / weeks, as he knows where to go for a meal. Keep them in for a while, or be out with them as they are out.

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