Second Hawk Attack - YIKES!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tcbosco1, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. tcbosco1

    tcbosco1 Out Of The Brooder

    The first hawk attack occured last fall, when the ladies were free ranging out in the yard and I was "keeping and eye on them" from the house. I just happened to be looking out the window when I saw a HUGE bird swoop down out of nohwere and attack.

    Like a crazy person, I ran out of the house screaming and yelling. Fortunately, all my girls survived.

    Of course, I immediately jumped on the computer, logged into BYC, and searched on "hawks". After a small amount of research, I came to the conclusion that the hawk wouldn't attack if I was in the yard with them.

    Since then, when they have "yard time", I babysit them like a lunatic. It must have been quite a sight during the winter to see me freezing my butt off so the girls can stretch their wings!

    I was feeling pretty confident about the hawk scenario until yesterday - that darn bird attacked my silkie right in front of me!

    Again, I ran screaming and yelling and the hawk flew off. White feathers everywhere, but not a scratch on my chicken.

    Other than a covered run, is there any way to REALLY deter hawks?

    I have read about fake owls, and encouraging small songbirds to hang around, but am developing the opinion that these methods won't work.

    I live in a very urban environment, and can really only provide a small portable run for them. I do so enjoy seeing them do their chicken thing about the yard. Perhaps closer supervision (stand right next to them) during their play time?

    One other thing (out of curiosity) do chickens lose feathers as a defensive mechanism? Not that I've tried to pull out their feathers, but they seem "stuck" in there pretty good, and there were just so many feathers at the scene of the attack...
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2009
  2. gypsy2621

    gypsy2621 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Other than enclosing them in a covered run there is little you can do to deter a hawk from grabbing your birds.
    you fond out the hard way standing right there doesnt always work. a determined bird of prey isnt going to see you as much a threat.

    I had a huge hawk nearly knock me down trying to get my chickens, it did leave but I still see it lurking over my covered pen, if it finds a weak spot you can rest assured it will be inside the pen.
     
  3. tcbosco1

    tcbosco1 Out Of The Brooder

    Oh no!!!! Say it aint' so!!!
     
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Sooooooooooooooo glad everybody's okay (just ensure no puncture wound - this may not be very visible). I have the same worry - residential neighborhood, wanting my feathered friends to be able to play and stretch, not able to have a big enough outdoor enclosure for them (it's not that small actually - probably 600+ square feet or so with a recent addition put on because of people being irresponsible with their dogs - it had been 240 square feet- but they are truly bored in 5 minutes, eager as a kid on Christmas morning to get OUT).

    I scold and generally make a big fuss when I see a hawk - my birds watch in wonderment as I defend their honor - and generally the hawk flies off in disgust. Last year I had Cooper's hawks nesting very close to the coop (Murphy's Law) - we established an uneasy alliance - nobody got hurt. But hawks are ever the worry. Since you have one brazen enough to swoop down with you very close, I'm afraid you will practically have to stand over them. I know - it's impossible to get anything else done!
    JJ
     
  5. mandolinmama

    mandolinmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Urbana Missouri
    I haven't seen ANY hawks on my land since I got our Great Pyranese dog. She's barks and jumps up and down when ANY large bird flys overhead.
    I have been there. I lost 11 birds to hawks last summer. Once they figure out you've got chickens running around, they'll hang around and treat your yard like fast food.
    I hate hawks. Sorry, I know there are several on here who think they're beautiful creatures, but not me. [​IMG]
     
  6. tcbosco1

    tcbosco1 Out Of The Brooder

    It's kind of funny - I used to think that hawks were beautiful creatures! Before we had living lawn ornaments, I probably would have been delighted to see a hawk in our yard!!!!

    Perspective is everything!
     
  7. mandolinmama

    mandolinmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2007
    Urbana Missouri
    I also never paid attention to hawks or noted how many there actually are until our big hawk disaster last summer. Now, I can't drive anywhere without seeing one. I can't figure out why they are a protected species. They are EVERYWHERE!
     
  8. tcbosco1

    tcbosco1 Out Of The Brooder

    We do have a dog (lab/doberman/?? mutt), and in general, she's pretty good with the ladies, but, she really enjoys chasing anything that moves! Maybe good for hawks, but not sure about chickens!

    One time when we had her tied up in the yard and the girls were free ranging, the silkie (with the obstructed vision) walked right into Roxie's mouth! No harm done, but again, I was a screaming nut case!

    Yup, it was the same silkie that was attacked yesterday! The gods must be smiling upon her.

    Love the dog, love the chicken. Not sure they should share the same outdoor time!
     
  9. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    We have had three hawk attacks this week. The first one, my rooster Duke pinned down to the ground. I wrote about it on this forum. The very next day, a hawk got one of my Silver Leghorn hens. She was about 6.5 pounds, and he ate her where she fell. After talking to several people, I'm convinced it was a hawk that got here.

    We just had another hawk attack a Golden Penciled Hamburg in the back yard just 30 minutes ago. Thank heavens, my husband saw it and we ran out screaming. It was a small hawk, and he got a bunch of feathers but nothing else.

    That's three in one week. I'm VERY nervous about letting them free range - but I had feather picking/plucking issues when I confined them. I have to take my chances. But it's really a sick feeling when I let them out each day. And I don't think there is anything you can do to protect them when they free range. The very first attack, last fall, occurred within 5 feet of me. I started screaming and carrying on and it left without getting anything at all - not even a feather. But even being RIGHT there will not necessarily protect the chickens.
     
  10. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Well, he just came back. Thankfully, I was so shook up when he attached the hamburg earlier that I shut all the chickens in the run - and it's covered with a shrimp net. I heard Duke carrying on and ran outside, and the dad gum hawk was sitting next to the fence of the run. He took off as I ran towards the run.

    I'm not letting the chickens out for a few days. Maybe, at least that one, will move on.
     

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