Need info re: hawks

dumluckcluck

In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 6, 2012
13
0
22
Our three BO and three PR girls are now 7 weeks old. They've been staying outside in our heavily fortified coop/run for two weeks now. Three times this past week at dusk, when I go inside the fenced run to shut their coop door (an added protection, maybe overkill), I've scared off a hawk that seems to be observing them from a tree limb nearby. (I've observed this same hawk kill and carry off two songbirds in our backyard this past week.) While I'm not worried about the chicks when while they're in the enclosure, I would like to some day let them wander about supervised in the fenced, 10 X 20 ft area that adjoins their coop/run. This area has no overhead fencing, like the coop area does. They've explored and scratched every centimeter of their enclosure, and seem to relish the bits of weeds, seedheads, and bugs I can give them. I know they would love to do some exploring. Questions: will a hawk attack them even if two adult humans are within a few feet of them? Would running wires/string overhead at intervals be a deterrent? Is dusk or dawn the most vulnerable time? I'm sure a hawk would easily catch a 7 week old chick, but do they also go after full grown large breed chickens? If so, would a rooster defend? (we have no roo's, at least not that I know of yet!) I'm afraid to take unnecessary risks with them being this young, but would love to see them have just a bit more freedom as they get older.
 

Achickenwrangler#1

Songster
8 Years
Aug 7, 2011
2,431
120
183
west virginia
the hawk is drooling over your chicks which are at the perfect age to be a meal. They will kill older chickens and eat them on the ground, dismember them and carry bits off. They will avoid you if they see you, nearby, but can and will swoop in across the yard and snatch a chicken before you can jump. Usually a hawk will cruise overhead, not a big deal, yours is looking for a way in, wire strands will not stop it, these birds can dive bomb in between tree limbs without ruffling a feather. You can shield your chicken with a tarp or netting, but once they are spotted only woven wire will truly protect them.
 

wilsonmago

In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 25, 2011
20
0
22
I have the similar problem. My adult hens are free roaming during weekend and everyday after I come home from work. Yesterday, a hawk attacked the smallest hen (she was a bantam chicken), after some struggle, the hawk chopped off the hen head and left. I keep the remaining chickens in a run from now on. My chicken run is covered with chicken wire, then I added some nets on top of it.

Now the hawk keeps on coming back perching on top of the chicken coop and run. I have at least chased it away 3 times since yesterday!

What should I do? please help!

Thanks!

wilson
 

CorinneP

Songster
7 Years
Apr 19, 2012
860
30
113
Up State New York
Hawks will react and flea from a human yelling .. AS I have done it countless times ! A large Hawk can grab a younger chick or a mature bantam and lift them right off .. One day while 6 of my grand kids were out making lots of noise 20 yards from them a hawk swooped right in and killed one of my bantams, we scared it off but it was to late for the hen! They sell fake Owls that can help , as hawks are afraid of owls but you need to move it fairly often so the hawks dont catch on .. I do think with adults right near and watchful It would be enough to keep them safe during play time .. .. After my Grands saw the one hen killed they watch often for hawks and if they see them start screaming and even try to fake hoot like they are owls.. seeems to work lol ..
 

JulieNKC

Crowing
9 Years
Sep 25, 2010
6,636
67
258
Kansas City
I've had hawks swoop down at my chickens within inches on me while feeding them treats. They aren't scared a bit either, yelling and waving my arms at them only causes them to fly into the lower branches of a tree to get a better look. I've also had a full grown khaki campbell duck killed by a hawk, and almost had to kick the thing to get it away from her so I could get her body to bury it.
I keep plenty of areas around that they can dive under for cover. I also have turkeys, who are more vigilant and call when they see a hawk, and the rest of the flock has learned to listen. My rooster also helps, but being a sizzle isn't the best at it, lol. They have a covered run, but I want them to be able to free range so I've learned to deal with a few losses and do my best to keep them at a minimum.
 

Oneacre Homestead

Chirping
8 Years
May 25, 2011
166
3
91
So far here the hawks have only killed chicks that are a few weeks old, not any full grown ones. I did have one try to get leghorn and she took of running and dragged the hawk a cross the yard until I ran over. Wires will not help. They seem to hunt in the middle of the day
Or in the morning, not really a dusk or dawn. I would just wait until your are bigger like 12 weeks- or make them a movable pen.
 

Peach2u

Songster
8 Years
Mar 25, 2011
514
14
123
Harrison Bay, TN
I have lost 15 in 1 week. All where 5-7 weeks old. So I kept everyone on lock down till I knew they where too big for the hawk to carry off. I even put up reflective streamers. This morning before the sun come over the ridge. I was walking my kids to the bus stop. I looked over and it had one on the ground eating it. I ran to it. It was dragging my chick but couldn't get off the ground. I got 3 foot away and he took off. That made #16. A pretty lite blue pullet. An olive egger. Out of 75 chicks this year I only ended up with 5 clean legged blue EE's pullets. The rest are gone. It was coming in at around 1pm and taking chicks. I put the shiny wind socks up and it stopped coming in the day. Now it is hitting before the sun comes up. It too sits up in the tree and just watches the chicken on lock down. It can't get in there. But I want my chickens to free range the ticks are awful without them pecking away. I thought about a turkey. I was thinking a tom would scare off the hawk. But I heard they can also kill chickens. Short of breaking the law. Any more ideas on stopping this red tail hawk. My adults are too big Marans and EE"s. I think they would put up a fight. I had a great yard rooster he attacked everything. But he had to go last week he attacked my 4 yr old and left a bad scratch down her face. I just can't win.
Stupid bird of prey laws.
rant.gif
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,482
18,118
876
Holts Summit, Missouri
if you have a hawk with a demonstrated taste for chickens you have several options. Keep birds penned up. Waite for hawk to leave / migrate away. Baby sit while free ranging. Allow chickens to grow larger. Have dog that will engage hawk. Increase available cover (does not work well with persistant hawk and no adult rooster to challenge hawk on gound). Get a large fowl rooster and increase available cover.

I use last four in combination. My losses are effectively zero and have a good number of birds on ground with lots of Coopers hawks and red-tails hawks working area.
 

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