Red tail hawks are toying with me and terrorizing my flock!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MichelleKing, Nov 10, 2019.

  1. MichelleKing

    MichelleKing Songster

    Aug 25, 2018
    Ask me anything - I am currently going through the process of applying for a permit from the US FWS for depredation. I have a swarm of red tail hawks that have moved from the farm down the street to the woods in my backyard. Its only a matter of time. I have a steel wire covered run and it is secured from all sides, with one side being a 6 foot tall wooden fence. The hawks perch on the fence and torment my poor ladies. I have it on video. I run out there screaming at them and flailing my arms but they just fly away and perch on a branch in my backyard that's JUST close enough to infuriate me and to make my hens scared. I throw rocks at the trees to make noise (obviously not AT the stupid giant hawks because those birds are protected). It doesn't matter what I do. These giant predators seem to laugh in my FACE! I feel like they're just biding their time and making evil plans for my flock.

    They keep getting closer too. I free range my chickens three times a day and then keep them in their large run the rest of the time (we also have coyotes). It used to be that after 20 minutes, one hawk may circle my area from high above. After some time, 2-3 hawks would circle. Next, about 5-6 hawks did a fly over,; and I didnt even know they flew in hunting parties together! Then, I discover them harassing the ladies from about whilst perched on their coop and run. Thank gosh for my run. It is a FORTRESS.

    Today, however, while having the ladies do their afternoon grazing, WHILE I WAS OUTSIDE STANDING THERE, a red tail swooped down super close, swooped back up and perched in the trees above my hens. My heart jumped out of my chest. I got my hens safely in their run and carried my 8 month old baby bantam silkie to safety. The hawk was a giant. It watched me the whole time. After the ladies were safely in their run, I threw rocks at the tree trunk to make noise and yelled profanities at the offending giant hawk. Profanities I am SURE my neighbors could hear.

    That hawk just stared at me. Like, didn't move at all. STARED ME DOWN. Rocks and all. Profanities and all.

    Needless to say I printed out all the paperwork for a US depredation permit immediately after going back inside AND doing about 2 hours of research on what I can and cannot do.

    I am a GOLDMINE of depredation legal information, especially for NEO. To heck with these hawks!
    Miks, AllenK RGV, DuckyDonna and 11 others like this.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Good on you for seeking a legal course of action.
    What breeds do you have? Things like silkies and polish will always be vulnerable to aerial predators no matter how you deal with them.
    We have lots of hawks but I haven't lost any of my several flocks of free range birds to hawks in about 10 years. It takes the right breeds and preferably with a good rooster running with the flock. Calm, docile, friendly breeds don't work.
    While it isn't legal, I've heard that bottle rockets aimed at the roosting hawks help.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    While you’re waiting for your papers to go through, you may want to consider not letting your birds out.
  4. penny1960

    penny1960 Yippy Do Da, Yipptye Ay!

    Dec 29, 2015
    Mossyrock, WA
    At least you had sense and courage enough to do something there are also
    poultry nets on amazon not horribly expensive to have have, some used fishing line heavy test tied with ribbon or yarn birds are afraid of both
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Show us the video.
    Qwerty3159, aart, sorce and 3 others like this.
  6. ----------

    ---------- Chirping

    May 29, 2019
    if they swooping on you can you use beebee gun?
    MROO and Silkies for life like this.
  7. That’s what they make a .22 for.;)
    Good luck
  8. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    It could be what you are seeing is not a local population of red tailed hawks, but rather migrating hawks like broad winged hawks which case, they may just be passing through. They might well be desperate enough to attempt an attack with you there.

    Best bet is to keep the chickens in for now. As long as hawks can't get at em, they will be safe. Frustrated hawks will quickly move on.

    Frustration can be a horrible revenge.....and far less worries from Imperial entanglements for shooting one. I know a farmer who could tell you a horror story about that one.
  9. My Chicken Friends

    My Chicken Friends Chirping

    Nov 8, 2019
    I’m sorry you have to go through this. We have 8 acres, wooded, alongside our coop. The hawks and coons are horrible. Our 2 pens are fortress’s as well and recently a red shouldered hawk attacked one of my girls while out in their chicken yard. I have used CD’s along rooftops of pens. Also strung along fence. The bright reflection is NOT liked by the big raptors. It cut down our bird traffic. Also metallic ribbon streamers that can blow in wind. Has to be long enough and wide enough for movement and shine to irritate them. Problem is. None windy days if you don’t have fan, chickens that are out are still at threat as was mine. Though they have a rooster for protection, the hawk still got one. This pic is after a week of healing during her bandage change.

    Attached Files:

  10. I really hope your giving pain meds.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: