Save my chickens from the hawk!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by stasichick, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. stasichick

    stasichick Chirping

    Sep 3, 2014
    Long Island
    Hello BYC Fam,

    We live in a nice little neighborhood and I am pretty sure we are considered the "weirdos with the chickens" we just got them 5 months ago. They are my babies, i love them, they love me, we are a happy little chicken family. With my little chickens, I have learned that they just LOVE their freedom. We have a coop with a protected run but they LOVE walking around the back yard doing their chicken thing. We even sectioned of a corner of the yard with green temporary fence and Uchannels.. (so snoopy doesnt eat their poop)

    We frequently let them out in the morning, let them free range all day, and close their run and coop at night. This morning after letting my babies out to run free... My husband saw a coopers hawk in the front yard eating a wild bird. He tried to scare it away but it had no fear!!! Picture attached. It looks like its possibly a baby? Must mean that momma and poppa are not far behind....

    How do I get this meanie hawk to leave us alone? If it touches a feather on my babies I will consider the hawks death a crime of passion! ( I dont think I could actually kill anything)

    I don't want my babies to be bored / cooped up, I dont want to do a a huge chainlink enclosure... I want free-ranging, safe, happy chickies that die of old age one day!

    Help ? Anyone want to come get a free hawk as a pet? ha-ha



  2. Honey Maid

    Honey Maid Chirping

    Jan 11, 2015
    State of Jefferson
    My bet is that a Coopers hawk would be too small to bother your chickens. Found this on line.

    "Cooper's hawks eat mostly birds and small mammals. However, they also eat reptiles and amphibians when they are available. When hunting, Cooper's hawks usually perch in a hidden location and watch for prey. When they see prey, quickly swoop down and seize it. Bobwhites, starlings, red-winged blackbirds, eastern chipmunks, and squirrels are common prey for Cooper's hawks. Their short, rounded wings make them very maneuverable fliers in dense, forested habitats. These hawks also chase prey on the ground by half running and half flying. The prey taken by an individual Cooper’s hawk depends on its size; larger hawks eat larger prey than smaller hawks."
  3. Milkshake

    Milkshake In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2015
    Narnia, Australia
    I would only worry about small chicks around that hawk, considering HoneyMaids's comment.
  4. keesmom

    keesmom Crowing 9 Years

    Jul 28, 2008
    Looks too small for a Cooper's. Could be a sharp-shinned. They are almost identical in colors and markings but are much smaller. We have them go for the small birds at the feeder. Cooper's can take full grown chickens, or at least the ones around here do. Even following them in the coop through their pop door. Goshawks are another threat.

  5. coonhoundmama87

    coonhoundmama87 Songster

    Oct 26, 2011
    I can personally verify coopers can and will take fully grown chickens (larger than you'd think too). They're very talented hunters shall we say. However, I don't think that's a cooper. Tail doesn't look right.
  6. SixChickFlock

    SixChickFlock Chirping

    Mar 23, 2014
    Chicago - Old Irving Park
    To be worry free, you might need to have a covered secure place for them to play "outside" when you can't be with them watching for the hawk. My run is 10X5... Wish I could have built bigger. Attached to the hen house. Real shingled roof. Right now its almost all covered with shower curtain liner to keep the wind and snow out. I can leave them in there for days at a time (I provide far more frequent care) and predators cannot get to them. Maybe giant predators. Like a bear. There are only 40 or so Bears in Chicago... Hehehe!

    When someone is home, in nice snow free weather, they have the run of the yard. frequent checks all day long. I have scared off hawks several times, but the girls have a lot of places to hide.

    Good luck!
  7. pdirt

    pdirt Songster

    May 11, 2013
    Eastern WA
    x2 what @SixChickFlock said, you want to provide them protection with places to hide. You could fence in your whole yard with old fishing nets (including overhead), but that doesn't sound like the sort of thing you're going for. But that would be the safest, as long it was tight and secure. But do give them places for them to run to...bushes, trees, man-made roofs/hiding places. Even then a hawk could get them, but the protection would give them more of a chance of escape. And since you've only had your chickens for a very short while (and it sounds like no one near you has them), it may be a little while longer before other predators discover your chickens. Racoons, foxes, weasels, minks, owls, dogs, coyotes, cats (including domesticated). Of these, domesticated dogs and cats will likely be your worst predators. We've had a once-someones-pet-but-now-feral cat kill and eat about 10 of our chickens (we caught it red handed about 4 times). I have read and personally heard of far more stories of dogs getting to them. Some dogs can kill a flock a 30 in a couple minutes.

    I'm not trying to scare you into putting your chickens into prison, but just to increase your awareness of possible dangers. We used to think, "It won't happen to us", but are now a bit wiser. Besides that nasty cat, I'm pretty sure we lost at least a couple to hawks when the chickens were younger. It's risk we're willing to take to free range them. We care for them greatly, but don't allow ourselves to get too attached to them because of this. Their freedom comes at a price, which sometimes is their life. Either my wife or myself is usually home...we've both developed a keen eye and ear for predators and can chase them off before they attack. We also have a dog we trust with the chickens but don't trust to not run off down the road, so we don't leave her outside for long periods of time. But I think the dog's intermittent presence helps to some degree.

    I know a lady in the next town over that has well over a hundred chickens and lives in an area ripe with predators. She won't free range both because of the predators and her own dogs would kill them, too. I used to think it was cruel that she didn't free range them, but now I understand, after having lost several.

    I know you were kidding, but an FYI, it's a federal offense to kill a hawk or any other wild raptor...even if said hawk is sitting there eating your chicken.

  8. rannug

    rannug In the Brooder

    I live in the woods. We have everything from weasels to bears, along with owls and hawks. I started my flock last April, and have lost none to predators. Yet. I doubt if anything but me could stop the furry ones. I have 3 guineas and 3 turkeys along with all the banties, and I credit them for keeping the hawks away. I may well be all wrong about that, but until.... And they free range all day.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  9. stasichick

    stasichick Chirping

    Sep 3, 2014
    Long Island
    Thank you all for your advice and help!!! Yes our yard is fenced in completely (although we really only have rabbits and deer around here) and we have a nice little run for the babies but in the spring we plan on making it bigger! Yes I heard its illegal to kill a hawk! haha good thing I wouldn't be able to go through with it! hehehe I have only seen it once since we caught it eating that bird in the yard. Lets hope it flew away!

  10. spies04

    spies04 Chirping

    May 28, 2011
    Unfortunately, once they find a food source they will come back and it feels like that they bring friends. We live in the country and the predators are endless starting with eagles, foxes, hawks, dogs, etc. So we have built a completely enclosed pen similar to what the other post talked about that goes down to the ground and has coverage over the top. We only allow our chickens free ranging time when someone is in the general area and our black labs are helping to supervise. And even then we have had an issue with a fox that came up when I went in the house only for a few minutes and he was able to kill three of our treasured birds. I would also agree - do not look to the size. I have been amazed at what little size of the predator can do damage.

    Good luck! But your best source of defense is to take away the potential food source. I also adore my birds and would devastated if anything happened.

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