rooster strikes back

nicktide

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
45
2
24
Boonsboro, MD
We have a half dozen chickens that are 12 weeks old (and this is my first time having chickens). I only let them out for 2-3 hours in the evening so I can keep an eye on them. Today, they wondered into my neighbors lot (neighbors welcome them) and I looked up to see two hens running towards a patch of trees, and my 12 week old leghorn rooster all puffed up heading the other direction. My first thought was there was a cat that needed to learn some manners. Just then a hawk nailed a hen less than 100 feet from me. Before I could get over there, apparently my roo scared off the hawk that was at least twice his size. Five minutes later the hen was acting like nothing happened and she allowed me to hold her. Other than missing 30 or so feathers there was no damage done.
Is this normal for a young rooster to scare off a larger raptor? Also, we were trying to teach them to stay in/near our backyard and away from the road by chasing them back, figuring they would get tired of being harassed. I should also add the open field of my neighbors to the list of placed I would like them to avoid. Is the fear of a raptor enough to make them avoid open areas? What about the fear of my 5 year old daughter chasing them away from the road yelling "HERE CHICKY CHICKY!!!"? Any chance of them learning or have their survival instincts completely given way to egg production?
I would like to avoid caging them. I got chickens so they could eat about 90% off the land and table scraps and for the most part avoid chicken feed grown in fields full of pesticides, fertilizers and harvested by tractor (it's my own way of going green). Any suggestions? The dog idea is out unless I fence them in and I think the chickens will fly out anyway.

Thanks,
Tide
 

WriterofWords

Has Fainting Chickens
12 Years
Dec 25, 2007
13,212
52
336
Chaparral, New Mexico
My Nugget isn't that old and he scared off a skunk. I think they are born with an inherent idea of what to do. As for trying to get the to avoid certain areas, they are chickens, I don't think they respect invisible boundaries well.
 

Cetawin

Chicken Beader
11 Years
Mar 20, 2008
13,752
127
333
NW Kentucky
Quote:Your Nugget has Raptor DNA...he does not count.
My DH wants Nugget so bad...


Your little roo sounds like he is going to be a good Roo for your flock. The only thing you can do to avoid hawk attacks and so forth is a covered run or somewhere close they get under and keep your fingers crossed. It is a risk you take to let them free range.
 

Jenski

Songster
11 Years
Jun 17, 2008
2,177
18
181
Middle Tennessee
If you free range without any fences whatsoever, you should expect losses to your flock. No doubt whatsoever. A good rooster has the instinct to chase off predators, but there are many preds who are bigger, faster and meaner than he is. The more time that passes, the more predators have the opportunity to pass through and notice lots of nice, delicious chickens roaming around.

If you have a road nearby, you may also expect possible losses on that end. Although many chickens will tend to stay in the general area of the coop, run and/or feeding location, some will also wander farther than others.

Free ranging is certainly a valid choice ~ one which I will probably use myself once I am back out of the suburbs ~ but a certain amount of flock loss should not be a surprise.

Whatever method you decide to use, raising chickens is a very rewarding pastime, and one which I would not give up for anything. Good luck!
 

nicktide

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
45
2
24
Boonsboro, MD
Thanks Everyone,
I may need to go back to the "chicken tractor" idea I was originally planning on doing.
 

tiki244

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jan 1, 2008
8,788
41
321
WestCentralWisconsin
I chase my chickens into their certain area and generally they are pretty good about it. But, they don't completely respect that and at times decide to go beyond their invisible boundaries.
 

Kung Foo Chicken

Songster
11 Years
Sep 11, 2008
759
7
141
Upstate, South Carolina
Very good Roo! My hen Mrs. Big Butt (sorry if anyone is offended) a huge Black Jersey Giant Hen is pretty rowdy with predators as I've seen her attack cats, dogs, Kestrel's trying to steal her adopted chicks . The Big Roos instead of trying to fight are busy rounding up the hens to hide in the coop.

Glad your hen was ok.

My niece named her :).
 
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nicktide

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
45
2
24
Boonsboro, MD
Unfortunately, another hawk (think it was a coopers this time) got the same hen and killed it. I arrived shortly after the kill as I saw the hawk on the body and hadn't eaten much if any of the hen. My kids were very upset so I guess the free ranging is out. I am building them a run this week. I am also looking for a few hens (we now have only 2), preferably some white leghorns, so if anyone is local to Frederick or Hagerstown, MD and has some young hens for sale, lmk.
 

nicktide

In the Brooder
11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
45
2
24
Boonsboro, MD
Oh yeah, My friend is getting his falconers license, he has been invited to trap his hawk in my yard. In fact, I think he should take a few and decide later which one he likes best. LOL
 

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