RIR vs Redtail Hawk

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by milestoog, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. milestoog

    milestoog Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Yesterday woman called to tell me there was a hawk walking the perimeter of the chicken pen, one would assume looking a way in. I am fairly certain it is one of the Red tails that have been around for years. She was very concerned that it would get the chickens. The pen has a chicken wire top, and is presently covered with a gourd vine on steroids. I told her to go inside and not worry about the hawk, which was apparently not the answer she wanted to hear. After she calmed a bit I explained my thinking on this situation and she agreed. So, if you would be so kind tell me if and/or where my thoughts on this are flawed. Billy, our RIR rooster, (aka Billy Bad @$$) is about 3 years old, weighs nigh to 8 pounds and has spurs about 2 inches long. On a good day he would go on a Mac truck, and trust me, he hits as hard. As an aside, the last bad day he had resulted in gun play. Only super sonic rooster I have ever seen, he managed to dodge a bullet. My thinking is without the ability to swoop down on an unsuspecting chicken, the hawk would be afoot. I truly think toe to toe with Billy without the advantage of flight, the pen is about 5 foot high, this hawk is in for a first class butt whooping. So what do you guys think. Am I wrong on this one ??
  2. bfrancis

    bfrancis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2010
    Okmulgee Co, Oklahoma
    Rooster's jumping in air matrix move with 2 spurs and a beak designed for picking up scratch articles against Hawk's jumping in air matrix move with out stretched talons and beak designed for shredding meat.

    My vote is you're wrong. RI might put up a good fight...but the hawk is a designed killer, RIR is a designed forager... [​IMG]
  3. AndersonFolk

    AndersonFolk Out Of The Brooder

    I concur; have you ever seen what a mature Red Tail will do to a chicken during its airborn attack? If not, let me tell you... It looks like someone hit a chicken with a baseball bat. They pretty much explode and feathers are lying every where.

    Now if the RT was on the grown and the RIR meet him face to face, the roo would win probably. Airborne though? No a chance.
  4. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    You're waaay wrong. Way wrong.. [​IMG]
  5. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    There is no way a a rooster can kill an adult, full grown, red-tailed hawk.. In MY opinion..
    Hawks are killing machines and thats just what they do..

    Now, with that being said, i did have a dead coopers hawk in my pen once,(it was dead next to my hen with meat still in its mouth, so whatever killed it was FAST..) but coopers are very small.. and i had 3 roosters at the time.
    But there was also a red-tailed in the area(we saw him on the pen fence that day..)... so we still dont know if the red-tailed killed the coopers (territory/food issues), or if my roos jumped it when it was eating my hen.

    Either way, i still dont think a roo can kill a big red-tailed hawk. Even in a ground fight..
  6. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    My vote is on the Redtail. Your roo may put up a good fight, but he won't win.

    Sorry, but good luck.
  7. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    Somebody here had a good story awhile back where their rooster went after a hawk that had done an aerial attack on one of the hens. The rooster jumped it and chased it off. The dogs joined in the pursuit only after the predator was making a run for it.
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Hawks are highly designed to quick grapple with talons, puncturing with talons, and tearing with beak. If you are not its talons the talons are useless. If you are not in its talons it beak is also useless. In order for hawk to prevail it must control encounter and first be able latch on to victims back, neck or head. If hawk misses and rooster is of larger similar or larger size (red-tails < 4 lbs), the hawk is in serious trouble. The rooster is more manueverable on ground is capable of delivering powerful blows by flogging. Hawks are poorly designed to resist impacts, especially the head and wings, both of which are strong dealing with forces operating from specific directions (tearing with beak and normal flight) but not those likely to be delivered by flogging rooster which be lateral forces. The effect of spurs should also not be ignored. The hawk typically hunts at minimal risk to itself, since loosing life or encurring life-threatening damage is generally not a smart thing for a long-lived critter to do. Hawks do not want to risk damage to feathers either.

    Hawks, even full-adult red-tails, seldom pose a threat to my free ranging birds owing to a combination of cover chickens can seek when threatened that forces hawk to operate on ground and game roosters that have demonstrated a capacity to repel hawks that do persist with chase into cover.

    OP, promoting such interactions is ill advised, but you can shift odds in favor of flock by providing adequate cover and have full adult rooster(s) mixed within flock. Flocks made up only of females or juveniles are much more vulnerable to hawk depredaton.
  9. peterlund

    peterlund Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    MA Cranberry Country
    Well.... I assume if you already shot a Billy, and he seems to terrorize the house, then you might be wanting a sympathetic vote to let him have it out with the hawk. If he does win, then he will be a breeding champion (unless his man parts get shredded) and a hero amongst fellow roo's............... Anyway, MY chickens always seem to lose against hawks, dogs, Fisher cats etc..... But my roosters seem to find their fate in a stew pot. [​IMG] Good luck with the choice.
  10. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    I honestly dont think a red-tailed would even get into a ground battle with a roo anyways...

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