She just disappeared?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Exotica, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. Exotica

    Exotica C'est La Vie

    Sigh.. this week has been heartbreaking and terrible for me.
    What just happened literally a 15 minutes ago is a death kiss from the cherry on top.

    A few days ago, my mother who I've warned countless times to not let my little Papillon out unless it was supervised - let him out with my chickens. Her logic was "I've seen him with them before and he's so sweet with them." Well five dead birds later, she finally learned her lesson. I lost my Cream Legbar, Red Laced Blue Wyandotte, Light Brahma, and two Blue Silkies.

    Just 15 minutes ago, I was in my room (I have a glass sliding door that connects to my backyard and my laptop is facing it) when I heard a "bawwwwk?" and something somewhere fall. I had a gut feeling something was wrong so I rushed out and counted my babes. I only had 12 when I should've had 13. My favorite Partridge Silkie was gone. Poof, it's like Houdini himself came back from the dead, picked her up, and included her in his cruel last vanishing act. I have no idea what happened but I'm thinking maybe a hawk or owl?

    The thing is, I live in Los Angeles, CA. Well, San Gabriel Valley to be exact which are the suburbs surrounding the city itself. Never in my life have I seen a hawk or an owl and I feed birds at my property so I am often looking in the sky. I doubt it was a cat because my dog urinates around here and I've never seen a stray in my back yard. The weird thing is only one of them is gone - I have smaller one's out there that I would've thought something would take unless of my Partridge Silkie..

    What do you think it could've been?
    This week has been disastrous and these are my first losts ever.
  2. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm so sorry that happened. IMO it was almost certainly a hawk. They're so fast and so quiet. I've known them to grab a small dog as well. How were your other hens acting?
  3. Exotica

    Exotica C'est La Vie

    Well the older one's seemed like nothing happened but the younger one's were all grouped together laying in a corner. The other Partridge Silkie that was bestfriends with the one that's missing was laying by herself [​IMG]

    Sigh, this week has been terrible..
  4. Exotica

    Exotica C'est La Vie

    Will the hawk be smart enough to return in the future and prey on my other babies?
  5. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I know E, but accidents can and do happen. [​IMG]You built them a beautiful house, have a very secure yard and have done everything right. I had one swoop down while we were in the yard! We jumped up and threw our arms up or I would have been missing a bird. You'll probably want to work with your Pappilon to not touch the chickens, in case a door gets opened. Lots of threads on BYC about that, just type in the search bar.
    Yes, the hawk will be back. I've heard pinwheels (dollar store) and hanging CD's are sonetimes useful as deterrents. You can research that as well.
  6. DavidJP

    DavidJP New Egg


    Probably looked like this one a Coopers hawk. Very common in SoCal suburbia and i think you'll have to look out in future or have an enclosed run. Sorry for your loss
  7. Exotica

    Exotica C'est La Vie

    Thank you so much M<3 [​IMG]Your comment made me feel so much better.. thanks for the smile and boost in confidence! It's been such a hard week.. I've lost a total of 6 a few days apart.. I hope this nightmare is finally over! I will definitely search that up and train him! When I am around, he doesn't even dare to look in their direction! He just sits by my side and if he gets too close, I call him and he sulks back to me - ears down and all. How terrifying to catch one in the act!! Luckily you were there! Argh, I was afraid that they'd be back.. Oh no.. [​IMG]I guess that means I need to put them in a run now.. but they're so much happier free-ranging my yard! Perhaps because my Silkie was not full grown (only about a month) that she was attacked? When they are older, do you think the hawk can still go after them? I'm going to hang some cd's and hope that my birds have learned.. My backyard is mostly surrounded by trees and has a HUGE patio that has a roof. I only have a small area of grass that is uncovered. What's strange is a wood plank near glass sliding door fell as I heard the "bawwwk?" When I found it, it was the one next to my outside sink, under my roofed patio. No idea if one of my chickens ran into it in fear or if the hawk landed on the grass, walked onto my cement patio, caught my chicken, turned back around, then flew off? I doubt that though because I was in there within a few minutes. There's no way it would've been able to swoop onto the cement area because the whole area is covered with a roof and it extends at least 5 feet out. I guess I'll never know.. It's just so sad to see the other Partridge Silkie - who was literally BEST FRIENDS FOREVER with the one that's gone.. She's so sad and lonely. She lays by herself now.. Poor babe.
    Just looking at it makes me feel so sad.. I don't even want to think about those huge claws and beak ripping into my sweet, sweet Aspen. Now I know they're common! I don't really want to keep them in a run, as I have so many trees in my backyard that it'd be difficult to construct a large one. I also don't have a huge ranch and a run will take up too much space.. Especially since I have around 20.. Well after the loss only 15 but I ordered more that are on their way. Sigh.. I'm so worried now..
  8. Exotica

    Exotica C'est La Vie

    I just read somewhere that Mylar balloons may work. I'm going to purchase 5 tomorrow and hang them around the yard. Someone else said that they hung cd's or a mirror garland so that got me thinking.. what can I buy for cheap that mimics that - but better? I checked and they sell disco balls for $4.99!!! I'm going to buy a few and hang them up as well. I'm sure in the sun, disco balls are much more reflective. If all that fails than I will have to buy bird netting or get two roo's and put no-crow collars on them both.

    Edit: I ended up just purchasing a 8 inch disco ball and spinner on Amazon.

    I am hoping that'll it be something to this effect:


    I will hang it directly in the bright sun which luckily, I have almost all day until 6PM which is when the girls automatically go into their coop.
    This should work better than hanging cd's, reflective tape, or balloons. As seen in the video, since the disco ball is spinning, light will be reflecting in the hundreds at different areas every second. I will report back on if this works. The whole thing was only $25 and is worth it to not lose any of my girls. I might purchase more to hang if it does work. Wish me luck!

    I was also thinking about purchasing this to hang in my yard as well:

    I also read somewhere that wild bird attack hawks. I give some credibility to this because I've been feeding birds in my backyard for years and never have I seen a hawk. When I got chickens, I wanted to protect them from various diseases so I stopped feeding the birds and next thing you know a hawk swoops down. I still have half of my 50 pound wild bird seed bag left and will start to feed them again!
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    I doubt that a hawk disappeared your silky. First a Coopers hawk would likely require a long time to kill a standard size adult silky, leaving behind a lot of loose feathers for evidence, and second if it did kill her, the air resistance would be to great for a hawk as small as a Coopers to get airborne with its prize. Think of flying away with a deployed parachute dangling from your ankles to see what I mean.

    Instead I would suspect something in the wild K9 family (fox or coyote) or even a bobcat. Bobcats BTW can coexist in suburbia quite well thank you.

    All the urban legend's not-with-standing, urine laying around only keeps humans from sitting on public toilet seats. It has no real effect on most predators other than acting as an attractant.

    On the good side, silks are notoriously broody. So let hope spring eternal that she has stolen her nest away from you and that she may now be sitting on a clutch of eggs. If she has she will come off the nest every 3 to 4 days to eat, drink, and defecate, leaving a cue ball sized poop behind as evidence of her presence.

    Yes, hawks are quite able to return to the scene of the crime each and every time they have a hunger pang.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Silky was only a month old.

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