My hawk experiment: finger's crossed.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by wateboe, Jun 8, 2010.

  1. wateboe

    wateboe Songster

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Lebanon, Ohio
    As the subject line states, this is an experiment... I can not claim that this is a solution to hawk problems, but I thought that I would share my experience so far.

    I have chickens that free-range on pasture and within an electric net fence. The pasture in fairly open, with the exception of isolated tall hay-type plantings that we leave unmown for most of the growing season. I lost a few birds to hawks last fall, but was reluctant to but a covered run and restrict the flock's ability to graze on new pasture routinely. The first thing that I did was to move one of our large hay wagons into the area so that there was easy cover for the chickens (they have constant access to the open pop-door of the barn/coop, but everyone can't get inside at once, of course.)

    The second thing I did was a real shot in the dark, but it seems to be making a difference (finger's crossed that I don not go home to carnage tonight!) I know that raptors are generally solitary and quite territorial, a trait that they share with other hunting birds like herons. To dissuade herons from hunting for goldfish and koi in the ponds at my office, we bought a decoy heron. The decoy is moved from place to place every couple of days so that the real herons don't catch on to our ruse. This has worked well for the past few years at our ponds, so I decided to try the same trick in the chicken pasture.

    I bought a decoy hawk at my local TSC for around $10.00. These decoys are marketed as tools to scare away nuisance song birds, not other hawks, but for $10.00 I figured that I didn't have much to lose. I move the decoy hawk every couple of days, an easy task since I am out to care for the chickens a couple times a day anyway. Well, it has been four months since the plastic hawk went on duty and we have yet to lose another chicken. We did have to move the hay wagon out, as it is now hay season and we need it, so the only cover is the overgrown grass in a large patch in the middle of the pasture. I used to see at least one hawk every day, perched on the barns or utility poles overlooking the chicken area, but I haven't seen a single raptor-observer in these four months.

    I am cautiously optimistic.
     
  2. Why and Dotte

    Why and Dotte Songster

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    Mar 8, 2010
    Little Rock,Arkansas
    I always see redtail hawks flying in twos even up to fives around here, I never knew they backed off like that, my luck it would draw more attention [​IMG]'
    Hope it works good luck!
     
  3. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Songster

    Dec 28, 2009
    Good Luck, hawks do hunt in pairs sometimes..or at least I have seen several in the area at one time...
     
  4. I think they only hunt in pairs when they are a mated pair. I think they mate for life. And they have their own territories. Maybe you chased that one away thinking it was in another bird home.
     
  5. wateboe

    wateboe Songster

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    Sep 8, 2008
    Lebanon, Ohio
    Yes, they do hunt together during mating season, but they will generally avoid another bird's territory. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future!
     

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