Old timers and hawks.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by scooter147, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    My dad and I were talking the other day and I brought up the problem I have with hawks, especially red tails. When I let mine out I have to stay out, the second I turn my back, trouble.

    We discussed hawks and chickens and dad mentioned that hawks have only been plentiful the last 15 years or so.

    He and I could not remember ever having a hawk attack or even seeing them around our place in Missouri.

    He said and I agree you rarely saw a red tail, coopers, goshawk etc "back in the day".

    Occasionally you saw or heard a barn owl or a great horned owl.

    My commute is 23 miles and if I remember I'll keep an eye out but I bet I'll see at least 2 if not 3 red tails on the way to home and wouldn't bet you a nickel one will likely be on my dusk to dawn light in my yard. My hens are in a covered run and simply don't pay any attention to the resident they are so use to him.

    You old timers out there have any thoughts, remembrances?
  2. Steve J

    Steve J Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2015
    People used to shoot them, my neighbor had a huge flock when I was growing up, of free range and I never remember him losing hens to anything. A cooper's came up to my house and made a dive at the hens, that are penned close for protection, then it sees my white dove in a cage in the house window, smashed into the window trying to get at her!
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They were decimated by DDT....then came the ban on DDT and federal protection for all birds of prey.
    Their numbers are rising and they are still protected.
  4. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    There seems to be no balance in the battle between environmentalists and farmers. Farmers want to protect their livelihood--noblest of motives--but sometimes take it too far by over-hunting predators. Hence why back in the day there were so few birds of prey to bother chicken farmers. Environmentalists want to protect their environment--also a noble motive--but ALWAYS take it too far by passing inordinately burdensome and uncompromising legislation that leaves no exception for farmers who are legitimately trying to defend their birds. Hence why there are so many hawk problems today.

    Nowadays, we need a back-in-the-day mentality, but tempered with a realization that there is seldom (if ever) good enough reason to hunt an animal to extinction.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    As far back as I can remember (early 1970's) hawks have been abundant. My predecessors did occasionally kill raptors that caused more than the occasional loss. When is came to losses around walks (remote free-range flocks centered on barnyards) hawks seldom were an issue in part because dogs and habitat management did not promote hawks coming in much and roosters (game roosters) did have a repelling capacity. Most consistent problem was around cockyards where roosters were penned up and hens with young free-ranged well away from rooster pens. Hawks would target young chickens just after weaning at about 5 weeks post hatch. Coopers hawks where handily the biggest problem. Great-horned Owls would come in and go after especially younger birds roosting in trees. They were shot directly or first captured by leg hold traps.

    I have at least as many raptors as my predecessors but have found the raptors are pretty easy to beat without means that harm the raptors in any way. Cover, roosters, dogs, good roosting locations and seasonal penning of chickens keeps losses to raptors very low. Great-horned Owls are handily the most difficult to manage as they come in every single night for about 6 months of the year which overlaps the second half of the production season when the chickens are free-ranged. Hens with chicks do fine roosting in dense brush although once a hen starts roosting up with young I pen the hen and her brood each night. Brood quickly imprints on location. It can be a challenge when multiple broods coming up in parallel. My system works because ground predators are well controlled. Dogs and electrified poultry netting key to that.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Chicken Obsessed

    Mar 19, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Must depend a lot on where you live.

    I am here in Oregon...and we've always had plentiful hawks and birds of prey since I was a little girl (in the 60's). I lived for a number of years in Klamath County (late 70's early 80's), and I loved the drive around the lake as the Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles flew for their morning breakfast. We had plenty of Red Tailed Hawks nesting in the woods, and saw more than one parent fledge a juvenile.

    I've lived in a suburban area since the mid 80's, and we've always had plentiful hawks and wildlife seeable on the roadside freeways. I see more of them close to home now that backyard chickens are popular. I have to put up hawk netting so that I get to keep a few of my birds (mostly from Cooper's Hawks, an occasional Red Tail).

    Oregon has 26 nesting sites of Peregrine Falcons, which were decimated by DDT in the 70's, but they have come back strong since the ban of DDT. We have several city bridges with designated nesting sites.

    So for me out here in the Pacific NW...birds of prey are still plentiful and seem to be doing fine...what I don't see are the little California partridges that we used to have or other pheasant type birds...we just don't have the brush and grasslands like we used to with the urban sprawl...unless you get out into the rural areas.

    I guess I'm just lucky to live in a place where people and wildlife seem to overall co-exist....I'm sure due to the laws passed in the 60's and 70's as Oregon has been a "green" state for a long time.

  7. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Chicken farmers keep their livestock in buildings now and poultry belonging to commercial chicken farmers are safe from hawks, 24/7. This used not to be the case. As a youngster I saw a frail 70 year old neighbor woman blew a marauding Red Tail hawk out of the sky with a single blast from a 12 gauge scatter gun that she kept hanging over her kitchen door. At that time Chicken hawks respected humans and their poultry. Now, well not so much.

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