Sharp Shinned Hawk attacking chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Jajika, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Hi all:

    I have had chickens almost eight years. The only predator I have ever encountered was a Raccoon.

    I mediated the situation and have not had a problem with a Coon in five years.

    Never, ever have I had a hawk attack until last week! I didn't even know it was a I didn't realize Jeannie was missing until the next morning---thought it was a Raccoon, only the attack was strange---her neck cord was still attached along with her beak. Raccoon's usually bite off the entire head!

    Next day, came home from work to find one more of my hens, same thing...obviously a day time killing---. We have Sharp Shin's, but I have never had them ever bother my birds..ever. Plus, it never occured to me that a Shin Hawk would attack a full grown hen. However, I got up close and personal with this hawk, and it is a Shin Hawk...

    We enclosed a huge chicken yard with five fruit trees. We thought we had one a good job. Then, about 7:00 PM, I heard the girls and thought they were making their "going to bed" noises, but went to check anyway..

    That Shin Hawk found a tiny opening in the netting and got inside the yard. When I came out he/she was trying to get away, but was barred inside because of the netting. It took all my restraint not to beat it to death with my broom.

    I didn't and it found it's way out. Fortunately I got outside in time before it attacked another one of my chickens. You could say now it did me a favor...I can't have even the smallest space uncovered, as it will find it.

    Very, very strange after all these years
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    You are way too nice.

    Glad you've fixed the problem.
  3. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    I was really angry and calling it lots of names we can't use here.

    What I find stange is that we have this attack at all? Not that hawks don't kill chickens...

    But after all these years of living symbiotically with these hawks....and that it is a Shin Hawk...why now?

    What has changed in our environment...I live in Northern California, near Stanford University...

    This is a far reaching thought, but Stanford has the underground linear excellerator (SLAC). Or construction on the new hospital?

    Could there be changes from other environmental issues?

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  4. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    well there are several things that could be causing this hawk to suddenly start going after your chickens.

    First, there could be construction or environmental changes affecting this hawk's hunting territory, therefore, the hawk has found a new food source. A food source that is relatively risk-free and confined.

    Secondly, this particular hawk could have built a nest nearby and be raising young near is hunting there now whereas prior seasons it was not there.

    Third, anything that affects the environment in their territory can push them farther out of it and into yours. Such as large dogs suddenly appearing a mile from you or several houses away...

    I am glad you did not lose another girl and now have fixed the entry issue.
  5. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    Everything you say makes sense.

    Something had to change...

    The other curious part, and I think it all relates to what you say, is that in my research, Sharp Shin's, being smaller than Copper's hawks, are not known for hunting full grown chicken's.

    But, then, if the hawk is hungry or desperate enough, confined chickens are easy prey.

    Well, hard lessons learned for me and three chickens. I thought we had our situation just about perfect...

    One should never get too comfortable, eh?"
  6. gordy123

    gordy123 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2009
    falls village, ct
    For Jajika...FYI...we live on the other side of the us as you can see. This year, last week it started...first had a visit from a young bald eagle, he'd flew into the 16 foot fence with chicken wire, then perched himself on the 16 foot post, boldly looking at me and screatching. I waved my arms high as they would go and yelled get out. He took off, showing no fear of me. Then, other hawks, not sure what they are yet, and definitely a group of chicken hawks has plagued us everyday. My flock is miserable cause they have not been able to free range all day like they were. We have bought the mother load of pellet guns over the weekend. Just ran off some shots into the woods. Predators still around but leaving a wide berth, not coming so close to the hen house. Good luck![​IMG]
  7. Faverolle

    Faverolle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2009
    It was more likely a cooper's hawk. They are both very similar in appearance and both live in Northern CA. Also many of the hawks are migrating right now so this hawk may of been just passing through. Either was they both will attack chickens.
  8. Jajika

    Jajika Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    I looked at pictures of both---a Sharp Shinned and Cooper's. The hawk in my chicken yard looked very much like a Sharp Shinned.

    However, after losing three hens in four days, I'm not taking any chances. We have completly covered a 900 square yard where my chickens "free range."

    I'll take some pictures. Some before and some after.

    The chicken netting stuff, some green and some orange, is not very attractive. Especially since it is being stretched over some very large trees.

    Totally ruined the look of the yard. All in the name of saving my chickens! [​IMG]
  9. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    I'm not sure I could have controlled my arms if that thing was trapped in with my chickens. Your arms have more self control then mine. [​IMG]

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