Second Hawk Attack in Two Weeks?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by WingsOnTheBus, Jun 4, 2017.

  1. WingsOnTheBus

    WingsOnTheBus Chirping

    Jun 7, 2015
    NW IA
    We've free-ranged our four birds for more than a year and never had any problems with predators--super-secure coop, always put them in before or just after dark. But two weeks ago, our neighbor who was putting them in couldn't find one, and the next morning there was no trace of her anywhere on the property. She had a tendency to try to sleep outside in the nests she made, so I assumed she had done that again, this time without being found and returned to the coop, and a coyote had found her sometime during the night.

    Yesterday, we came home at 10:20 pm to find that another of our birds was missing from the coop. At first I figured she had tried to sleep outside as well, but I looked everywhere I could think of for her and didn't see or hear a thing. When she still wasn't around this morning, at first I assumed a dog or coyote had gotten her, too. But there had only been an hour of darkness before we came home and looked for her--hardly enough time, I thought, for coyotes to have come out. I became nervous that something had picked her off during the day and locked up the other two in their coop.

    A few minutes later, my mom called me outside. She had noticed spatters of blood all over the driveway next to our house (photos below). There are a few areas of streaks clustered with spatters and a trail of spatters leading away from the scene. The spatters, however, thin out and do not lead off the edge of the driveway completely. My impression is that of a hawk grabbing her and dragging her while trying to take off with her. If that's what happened, I now suspect our other loss two weeks ago was a similar situation, maybe even with the same hawk.

    What do you think?

    Attached Files:

  2. Sublight

    Sublight Songster

    Jun 2, 2016
    That is terrible. That's a bad situation because its illegal to kill a hawk (to my knowledge).
  3. Fire Ant Farm

    Fire Ant Farm Get off my lawn

    May 5, 2015
    South Texas
    I have a lot of hawk pressure on my property, and that (along with some other reasons) is why mine range in paddocks with overhead hawk deterrents rather than free-range. I have roosters with each set of hens, and I believe this is what has helped not have any losses - they are always on the lookout and sound the alarm, and I have a lot of structures/cover for them to run under when necessary.

    I HAVE found that it is seasonal - heavy pressure (all day or daily) for a while, then nothing for a while.

    You may not want to hear this, but you might need to restrict their ranging to an area that you can protect overhead.

    - Ant Farm
    ChocolateMouse likes this.
  4. RoosterCogburn7

    RoosterCogburn7 Chicken Atlas Farm NPIP 74-4231

    Dec 5, 2014
    That is one reason, the birds aren't let out to free range without supervision. When I see birds of prey in the area they all get cooped back up.
  5. james walker

    james walker In the Brooder

    Jun 2, 2017
    Been there, done that. Unfortunately once.a.hawk finds easy pickings he.will keep coming back. Your only option is to protect your chickens by confining them.
    PD-Riverman likes this.
  6. Eggsoteric

    Eggsoteric Songster

    Nov 25, 2010
    My guess is you're dealing with a ground predator. Hawks will typically strike and eat their kill on the ground. They aren't capable of carrying off a full size chicken. This is the time of year where predators such as fox are feeding their kits so not at all unusual to see them out during daylight hours.
    aart, Wickedchicken6 and RUNuts like this.
  7. GldnValleyHens

    GldnValleyHens Crowing

    Apr 21, 2017
    I can say that I hate hawks, especially the red tailed hawk, because our Gold laced Polish Lacey, who was the dear and favorite of our flock, was brutally murdered by one. We came home to find her body behind the coop, and the hawk had flown off and was waiting in a nearby tree. He had ripped her open and it was terrible, feathers everywhere. We were devastated, and I wanted really bad to shoot the hawk with my bow, but it flew away. I wonder why he didn't fly off with her, because she was a little thing. It had trapped her behind the coop.
  8. GldnValleyHens

    GldnValleyHens Crowing

    Apr 21, 2017
    Maybe it was an eagle! We have had those eyeing our birds
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Where are the feathers at the kill site. Any raptor making a kill I would expect to leave at least some feathers.
  10. GldnValleyHens

    GldnValleyHens Crowing

    Apr 21, 2017
    Yeah, like a pillow's worth

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