Ripped her head off!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by imcaligal, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. imcaligal

    imcaligal Hatching

    Mar 18, 2008
    North Tustin
    I can't believe this is my first post. I am very new raising chickens and I am a born and raised city girl. I live in Orange County, CA and have 4 week old "girls". It has been so hot here, so for a couple of hours a day we put them in a large ferret cage which sits on the grass (so they can pick at the grass). I thought my only worry was the neighbors cat, boy was I wrong! Apparently a Coopers hawk has been checking them out. Our coop and run aren't finished yet and they normally live in a brooder in the house. In front of my eyes (and my 5 year old boy) the hawk swooped down and thru the cage bars pulled the head right off my beautiful Blue Cochin "Angie". The 5 girls were all huddled together sleeping on the grass when it happened.

    She was my favorite one and I am so sick about it. I don't blame anyone (or the hawk), but myself. I have read everyones horror stories, but it seemed like many of you live in more rural areas. I live in the suburbs! I guess it can happen to any of us. I just learned a big fat lesson.

    Poor girls are now going to have to stay in the brooder until the run is done and NO Free ranging for us :-(

    For you more experienced out there, can a hawk grab a full grown hen?

    Thanks for letting me vent!!
    -Jenna (and Buffy, Willow, Sweet Charms, Sandy...RIP my little Angie)
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I am so sorry! That would have been just awful.

    A large hawk can take a full grown chicken but it doesn't happen very often. Hawks around here have taken small dogs and cats regularly.

    By the way, Welcome to BYC!
  3. crazychickengirl

    crazychickengirl Songster

    May 20, 2008
    Glenmont, Ohio
    I'm so sorry to hear what you had to witness! I've had chickens for the past three years, and I can't tell you how many we've lost...some of which were my favorite. They've been dragged under the fence out into the woods leaving only a trail of feathers, they been beheaded in broad daylight, they've come up missing in the middle of the day and never seen again, and they've been eaten at night when something somehow got into the coop.

    As much as I love my chickens, I now realize that I could lose them at any moment to a number of different predators. I had one of my hens go broody yesterday and spent the day & night on her nest that I had yet to find. Well, this morning she was all flustered and just didn't look too hot. I happened to see a pile of feathers just inside the woodsline and then noticed a bunch of broken eggs. So she apparantly had been attacked last night and survived. I did find two eggs that were left untouched so I currently have them in my incubator.

    I don't mean to be a downer...I guess I'm trying to prepare you. When I first got my chickens, I never dreamt of losing any of them, but it happened. I hate it, but it's part of life I guess. I'm sorry you had to witness it though. I've never had to watch it happen to my chickens and can't imagine how horrible that would be.

    Keep your chin up! Best of luck!
  4. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    I'm sad to hear what happened to your little pullet. That is really shocking as you live in a suburban/city area! But, maybe that's a reason for more concern. The animals that don't have as much wildlife to choose from, might just choose yours, you know?

    My best advice is using 1/2" or 1/4" hardware cloth for your run. No hawk or cat can get thru it.

    I'm really sorry for you and your son. [​IMG]
  5. estpr13

    estpr13 Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Lexington, Ky
    Sorry about your loss. Hawks will do this. Even with you right there. I've had it happen to me. I also live in a city.
    You cannot have chickens without eventually having your heart broken.
    It is always your favorite too.
  6. LinckHillPoultry

    LinckHillPoultry Songster

    Jan 17, 2008
    I'm so sorry. She sounded like a very pretty girl.

    Yes, a hawk can pick up a full-grown chicken.

  7. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2008
  8. Jades Chickens

    Jades Chickens Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    That is so terrible. I am sorry to here about that. Also, [​IMG]
  9. WrenAli

    WrenAli Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Lebanon, OR
    They can definitely take a full grown bird. We have hawks and eagles here that take young lambs. I would just put up some netting over your run. Problem solved.
  10. i'm so sorry, that's terrible! i'm glad i read your post, though. As i have been keeping some of my newer pullets in a bird cage, similar to a ferret cage, during the day on my back patio until i can get a run set up for them. i was thinking they were safe there. Clearly they are not.

    i did see a huge hawk swooping through the other day, chasing some mourning doves. It was scary, because it didn't make a sound, and none of my chickens saw it, not even my big girls.

    Again, i'm so sorry!

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