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

Qwerty3159

Songster
Dec 3, 2017
434
2,386
241
Rhode Island
Ooh, you're right...my bad! Harris it is, indeed. Pretty cool to watch them, though...until I saw the footage I had no idea that there were any hawks who hunted in a pack! We have our coop and run to build this winter, with our goal of getting six chicks next spring. Have you had much predation - either attempted or successful?
I'm not the one to ask. I'm usually a strict pigeon forum guy but the hawk threads sometimes catch my eye. Haven't had chickens since I was a kid lol.
The only BOP's that go after my pigeons are Cooper's and peregrines. Red Tail, Red shouldered and broad winged and owls never made any attempts as far as I know. At least some of them are certainly capable but its a lot harder for a bigger slower bird of prey to catch a pigeon than a chicken that can't fly. Cooper's hawk, sharp shinned hawk, and goshawk are all Accipiter who specialize in catching flying birds. Cooper's took a lot of birds from me in the past year.

Shouldn't derail this thread any further. Good luck OP, hopefully your hawks move on.
 

rsmith1109

In the Brooder
Mar 22, 2015
6
9
43
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!
 

tdipuppo

Hatching
Jul 23, 2019
2
2
8
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!
 

tdipuppo

Hatching
Jul 23, 2019
2
2
8
I have the same problem with redtails and have successfully kept them at bay by stringing old VCR tape over my open chicken yard. Apparently they don't like the constant movement the tape makes even in the slightest breeze. I also use the VCR tape around my vegetable garden to keep the deer out.
 

rsmith1109

In the Brooder
Mar 22, 2015
6
9
43
I had a very similar situation with a Cooper's hawk this past summer. He had been hanging around my wife's wild bird feeders and I'm sure he grabbed lunch from time to time but so far had not bothered my hens. I have a larger coop/exercise pen for my full-sized hens and a smaller coop/exercise pen for my two silkie hens, both of which are covered to protect them from aerial predators. I have a much larger pen that is not covered so that they can all have a change of scenery from time to time. My two bantam Silkies (my granddaughter's pets) were in the uncovered pen with the door to their housing propped open so they could come and go as they desire. Their housing also provides access to the much smaller exercise pen and the entrance to that pen is barely large enough for the silkies so as to keep the larger hens out of there.

The Cooper's hawk decided to swoop on the silkies and the silkies were smart enough to run into the coop and then into the pen with the small opening. The hawk followed them in, through that very small opening, and when it did, the silkies ran right back out - into the much larger uncovered pen. The hawk was apparently unable to find the very small exit to get out of the small pen so when I came to check on the silkies there was a lot of commotion in the small pen and I figured something had gotten to the silkies. I discovered the hawk scrambling to fly away right through the chicken wire without ever finding the small exit. I didn't see the silkies right away and I thought they must be dead but I soon found them . . . in the large, uncovered pen - unharmed. Apparently the silkies ran into the very small pen and when the hawk followed them in, they ran right back out into the uncovered pen. I let the hawk
struggle for a few minutes then I enlarged the small exit so he could escape. He was apparently so disoriented he still couldn't figure out how to escape so I goaded him with a stick. He moved to avoid the stick and, after several minutes, he finally escaped. I haven't seen him since. I hope HE learned HIS lesson and he won't bother us anymore!!
 

Mimi13

fuhgettaboutit
Premium member
Jan 6, 2018
3,000
11,511
677
Centre, AL
A quick question. Do hawks tend to “circle” similar to buzzards on occasion? I have noticed a bird circling above sometimes, but I don’t know enough about hawk behavior or even what they look like flying to know if it’s a hawk or not. I definitely recognize them sitting on the power lines alongside the big fields and also flying in a straight line over my back yard to their nest in a large tree on the back of our property.
 

Avian Allie

In the Brooder
May 3, 2019
32
46
42
Red tailed hawks are super smart and will quickly grow accustomed to any deterrent methods. If you have more than one working together no guard avian will be able to protect your flock. Sorry you have to deal with this, it sucks.
Please don’t use BB guns, slingshots or the like, it will just lead to injury and a prolonged painful death. If you shoot them do it right and don’t make them suffer.
 

ariri30

Crowing
May 18, 2015
550
1,047
262
Fair lawn nj
Out here everyone knows it is illegal, but they also would shoot the raptor and leave it out for the vulchers. Nothing left - not even bones. I had my hen mauled, and I wouldn’t let my better half shoot the hawk. Up close it was a beautiful bird.
I have a whole family of those going in circles all day above my backyard and took my baby chick when I literally turned my back it zoomed down and took her. I’m heartbroken
 

Lynn Woehrle

Chirping
Jan 8, 2016
24
48
79
We have at least one and sometimes two red tail hawks. They have taken a couple of our bantam hens. We have a very large chicken yard with chain link and overhead chicken wire that is connected to our chicken house. The hawks have landed on the top of the yard a couple of times to get our pullets. We have chased and screamed at them and that works for a while. We now use a blow horn with it's music and siren. They leave when they hear the horn. It works better than our screaming and hand clapping and they stay away longer. Their nest is in the big tree by the meadow. Our border collie, Molly, would bark them away. She lived to be almost 19. Our new border collie, Rex, only wants to herd our donkeys and pony. We have five dogs and we try to get them to look up in the sky but they just don't get it. I miss Molly---she protected everything.
 
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