(Possibly?) Hawk Attack

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by EmilyChickens, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. EmilyChickens

    EmilyChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello BYCers. I had a problem today with a hawk. I've never had hawk problems with the three years I've had my chickens. Or so I believe it's a hawk. I was out all morning until around maybe 3PM or 4PM, but my parents and little brother were home. My father checked for eggs before coming to meet me and a friend for lunch and he saw our hen Sienna (Was a beautiful Partridge Cochin hen...) but when we returned I went out to check on my chickens (Our rooster is handicapped so I help him around the yard on nice days) and there was a huge pile of feathers, which were my Enna's silky soft, shimmery, iridescent feathers.. those were the only trace left of her. There wasn't any skin or meat on the feathers and no carcass laying around. I know when hawks attack they pretty much swoop and dive bomb it's pray, and with birds the feathers practically explode off of the bird, so we assumed it was a hawk. Although Enna was on the smaller side, would a hawk be able to carry her away? This is what's making us question if it's a hawk or something else that got her, as we have a black coyote roaming our woods now. But if it were a hawk, OR, the coyote wouldn't there be some sort of carcass or meat left somewhere?

    Another question I have is about building a run. (I have our remaining girls and Roo in their coop until I can put up a temporary covered run) I want to maybe have a mobile run so I can move it around, that way they'll always have a place to forage. The thing is, I have 19 chickens... so that's a lot to make a mobile run for. Does anyone have any tips or ideas for a run, or something else we can do? We are going to move our coop to a different place in our yard so that our dogs can get to it to protect the chickens a little more, all three of our dogs get along with everybody at my farm (Two German Shepherds and a Dogue De Bordeax, which is a type of french mastiff, so they can protect them without a problem) I live on 27 acres, and most of it is forest, but we have a lot of cleared yard space. So as far as room for a run isn't a problem, but structural is where we're a little stumped, stuff can be expensive and add up quickly with a project like this.


    Thanks for all the help you guys have given me!

    ~Emily
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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  3. RikkiMarie

    RikkiMarie Out Of The Brooder

    Hello Emily, I'm sorry to hear about Sienna. [​IMG] Hawks have been all over the place this year; I've lost a total of six chicks (my laying hen included) to a hawk and from what you are describing, it sounds like a hawk. Hawks can in fact take off with animals if they are small enough - three of my chicks disappeared without a trace before. My hen was too big for him to carry, but he still got her unfortunately. :( I know how devastating and heartbreaking it is to see this kind of thing.

    I have two pens split, one for the ducks and the other for the chickens. I have a protective wire netting over the run now. It's a pain to go in there because you have to duck, but I haven't had any problems with the hawk for quite some time now. My coop is also moveable and if you are able to move yours, I would. It may come to it that you have to lock your girls away for awhile in their coop like I had to until I was able to get the fencing and the netting for over their pen. Now they are free to roam around again without a problem.

    Again I am sorry for the loss of Sienna and I hope you get this sorted out soon! Best of luck to you!
     
  4. EmilyChickens

    EmilyChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys! My dad was doing some looking around and found a picture with a little inspiration. 1" PVC pipe 2' tall. and 20'x10' perimeter. Our hens and Roo will be locked up in the coop for a little while until the parts come, but I'm most likely going to make something small for now so they can forage a little. Though our coop is 10' (or 8?)x 16' (or 12) Not sure the exact measurement.


    Thanks again!

    ~Emily
     
  5. EmilyChickens

    EmilyChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    This is the image he was looking at, so he figured if each of the small squares within the big square is 5'x5' he could just double the whole thing and get a 10'x20' run. Plus this would be light and moveable so they could always have fresh forage.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2014
  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    I like it. One thing I could suggest is to make or see if you can buy something to drive into the ground to hold it down. Thinking light is great but light with a gust of wind not so great. It would need to be something you could pull up easily to move it of course.

    On the joints I would be sure to use the right glue. It is purple in color I think. The wrong glue might let go when you move it.

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Oatey-8-...le-Primer-and-Solvent-Cement-302483/100151579

    This is the glue I am thinking of.
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Although the scattered feathers sounds raptor like, any raptor other than an eagle would be unable to fly away with a full size hen. I would be concerned that you may be dealing with a mammalian predator. Keeping your birds penned up (supervised free range would be fine) is a good idea until the situation is resolved.
     
  8. EmilyChickens

    EmilyChickens Out Of The Brooder

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    21hens-incharge, We are planning on going to Home Depot to get the PVC pipe, so we'll pick up glue while we're there. :)

    Sourland, I'm more leaning towards a hawk because there are been two that had been hanging with the chickens (When we put out scratch it draws in a lot of "Tweedy" birds... as we call them :p) so the hawks would fill themselves up on tweedys then leave and go about their own business and sit in a tree, Sienna was a full grown hen, and was laying too :(, but she was very small compared to the rest of the flock, including the other breeds her age.
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Hawks are fully capable of and do kill chickens, but generally eat much right at the kill site. Or flap, drag it a distance and then eat. Red tails just about the largest hawk most deal with are not large enough to fly off with a grown full size chicken - females weigh a median wt of 2.8 # and males a median wt of 2.1 #. On several occasions I have walked up on a red tail on a rabbit kill, and they are even unable to fly off with a cottontail.
     
  10. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    If she was very small compared to the rest of the flock was she a bantam cochin?
    I know my bantam cochins weigh practically nothing in comparison to my aussies and even the leghorns.
     

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