Predator mystery solved!

louis

In the Brooder
10 Years
Feb 20, 2009
51
0
39
Texas Hill Country
I usually don't have a problem with predators but when I stepped outside yesterday afternoon I noticed my best rooster, Bucho, standing right next to what looked like a cookies-and-creme colored chicken. Imagine my surprise when it flew off at the sight of me revealing a 5 foot wingspan and a red tail. Unfortunately it had killed and eaten one of my 9 week-old pullets first. But there's no options for dealing with hawks other than keeping the chickens in a covered run, etc. This was the first hawk occurrence so I'm not freaking out yet.

Anyways, I told a neighbor about it when he shared a story concerning his flock last year. He kept his chickens penned up 100% of the time in a coop/run combo. Fantastic construction. Solid walls, concrete foundation, welded wire exterior fence, with chicken wire interior. Had his birds "Alcatrazed", as he said. Somehow though he lost four chickens in four days and couldn't figure out why. It wasn't until his 3 year-old son asked when he had bought a new chicken and he took a closer look at his flock he realized he had a hawk in the pen (how it got there who knows) which casually walked around with the rest of the flock during the day and fed by night. I thought it was amazing he didn't notice it and he said he just wasn't paying much attention to the birds themselves. There were about 20 and he'd had them for about a year and a half. I thought it was a great story so figured I'd share
 

Uzuri

Songster
10 Years
Mar 25, 2009
1,299
10
171
Talk about your wolf in sheep's clothing!

One the other hand, a redtailed hawk-colored chicken breed would be kinda cool.
 

ChickensInTheNorthWoods

Songster
10 Years
May 4, 2009
561
0
139
North East CT
I just had a Coopers Hawk perched in the tree above my entire flock of free ranging birds!
Thankfully it must have been a picky eater and couldn't decide which type of chicken he wanted for lunch and I was able to scare him off before anyone got hurt!
 

cgmccary

Songster
12 Years
Sep 14, 2007
1,848
319
241
NE Alabama
Somehow though he lost four chickens in four days and couldn't figure out why. It wasn't until his 3 year-old son asked when he had bought a new chicken and he took a closer look at his flock he realized he had a hawk in the pen (how it got there who knows) which casually walked around with the rest of the flock during the day and fed by night. I thought it was amazing he didn't notice it and he said he just wasn't paying much attention to the birds themselves.

Anyone who cannot discern a chicken from a hawk in a four day span . . . hmmm, OK, I won't say it.

I've had Cooper's Hawks perch above my chickens and swoop down at them, only to be run off by my rooster. I believe my rooster would kill a Cooper's. I have thought the same thing about a Red-Tailed. The Red Tailed would have to be down as it would not initially be able to lift off with a 6-7 lb hen and it would get attacked while down.

It is my young birds I worry about with hawks.​
 

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