Raptor (I think a Red Tail) vs LF Chickens & WH Ducks?

tess36

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 26, 2015
67
30
94
Central Virginia
A couple weeks ago I had a raptor attack. I just happened to be next to a window when I noticed everybody scattering; ducks running under the Tahoe and chickens in the process of flying under the azeala bushes up by the house. I realized, as my mind was still trying to process what I was seeing, that there was a raptor among the chickens. As I ran down the steps, it started 'back flapping' (yep, totally made that up) and swooped up and away. All chickens and ducks were accounted for, one RIR was in the coop and seemed kind of shell shocked for a few minutes. I found a collection of down-like grey feathers in an area near my fence. It had to have come from either my two SLWs or my two CWs, as they are the only ones with feathers along their vent/stomach areas that color. None of them showed any sign of injury.

So, I had seen what I thought was a raptor for a couple days prior to this and my other half tried to convince me it was just a buzzard. Given that his eyesight is much better than mine, I took his word for it. Well, at eye level, in active attack mode, at about 10 paces; I now know I was right.

Today I noticed the chickens under a butterfly bush and the WHs nowhere to be seen (they were under my truck), went outside and looked up. Sure enough he/she was casing the joint again. I ran in to grab my phone for a pic and by the time I got back out it was gone and all the animals came out from their hiding spots.

I keep the chicken run open (10'x16'), they have a 24'x36' carport area, multiple butterfly bushes, azeala bushes, and a deck they can take cover under. I understand that when you free range chickens, the risk of losing some to predators is real, I accept that. I guess I was figuring that with them only free ranging in the day and having the entire acre they have to range being either 2"x4"x4' welded wire or 6' tall privacy fencing, I mainly only had to worry about dogs breaking in. Can a Red Tailed Hawk take a full sized LF chicken or WH duck?

Thank you in advance to any input, I really appreciate it. Even if I'm not always able to get back right away and respond due to keeping up with my almost two y.o. and my three y.o. boys, I do read every comment.
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tess36

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 26, 2015
67
30
94
Central Virginia
A Red Tail is fully capable of killing a full sized chicken as is the much smaller Coopers hawk.


Thank you. I was afraid of that. I believe we have both here in central Virginia, in addition to others.

I have read about netting and also Mylar strips blowing in the breeze to help with deterring raptors. I cannot feasibly net my entire yard, but possible some areas to help give additional cover for them. Has anybody tried anything with any success?
 

tess36

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 26, 2015
67
30
94
Central Virginia
What is a LF chicken and a WH duck?

Sorry! ;)
LF - large fowl
WH - Welsh Harlequin

I was just differentiating that I was talking about full size chickens, not small chicks or bantams and that my ducks were in the smaller size range. At around four-'ish' pounds, they're bigger than call ducks, but certainly not pekin sized. Just wanted to include any pertinent details for anybody that might respond.
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tess36

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 26, 2015
67
30
94
Central Virginia
Sorry for delay, just saw your question. CW, Columbian Wyandotte. I don't know if that's really a 'BYC approved' abbreviation though, I confess.
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If you're not familiar with them and you like you SLWs, I recommend them. They remind me in appearance of Delewares. My two are a little more skittish than my SLWs, but still very personable, in a 'no touchy' sort of way.

That's one of mine in the midst of some flockmembers, with the ducks photobombing in the background.
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This is either Smoky or Bandit in the background with what appears to be a SLW backside
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and one of the Black Austrolorps, all eating the duck food while the ducks play in the water.

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The above one is Bandit and the boss lady of the group, Lady, the SLW (yeah, I know, real original name).
 

hayley3

Crowing
13 Years
Aug 16, 2007
2,061
1,941
426
Southern Indiana
Oh they are very pretty and I love those ducks. Are those WH's? I'm a duck lover but the fox would take everyone I got so I stopped getting ducks for their own safety. I plan on moving and having ducks again one day.
 

torilovessmiles

Songster
5 Years
Sep 19, 2014
764
99
118
Central West Virginia
All summer I had some friendly resident crows that kept the hawks away, but they flew south, and a hen get attacked by a huge red-shouldered hawk. Since the hawks already hate crows (the crows viciously attacked any BoP that came near the yard) I'm getting crow decoys and putting them all over the place. I hope it'll work!

Beautiful flock by the way!
 

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