Smallish Red shouldered Hawk a threat to my pullets?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by elizabethlongwood, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. elizabethlongwood

    elizabethlongwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2010
    longwood, florida
    I've noticed a 12-15" tall hawk in my neighbors trees the past few days. I think it is probably a red shouldered hawk based on it's call and appearance. I have 4 17week old pullets that stay in a fenced but uncovered chicken yard, about 15' x 30'. This area has some tree cover, in fact, only one corner isn't shaded by trees. My husband and I are not in agreement about protecting our chickens. He feels that our chickens are too big now to be a temptation to a hawk of that size. We also have lots of black racers, mice and squirrels in our neighborhood (also ponds with fish), so he thinks with plenty of prey available the chickens won't be in much danger, especially because they stay under the shade of the trees most the day. Also, we have a 7 pound Havanese dog who has never been threatened or "swooped at" by any of the nearby hawks.
    Now, I think the chickens are still in danger. I would like to figure out a way to let the hens access the entire fenced area for most of the day, but somehow cover the area or run fishing line in a pattern to deter them. Problem is, our fence is only 4' tall on two sides, and a 6' privacy fence on the other two with one largish cedar tree in a corner, and 4 other smaller trees (20 ft. or shorter). I feel like the hawk could just perch on the shorter fence or a tree branch and help himself to a chicken. I agree with my husband that the hawks around here seem small to mess with anything much bigger than a rat or mouse, but what do you all think?
  2. Yard full o' rocks

    Yard full o' rocks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2009
    Cartersville, Georgia
    Your birds might be too big for a small hawk, but they are NOT TOO BIG for a Red-tailed hawk or anything of similar size!
  3. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I had a "smallish" hawk attack one of my hens. White with black spots, White Leghorn/ Jersey Giant hen. She had on a denim backed saddle and while it ripped a hole in her saddle during the attack, she was able to get away from it before any further damage was done. This hawk was probably about the same size as my hen. Maybe a little smaller. Just FYI.

    Just because they can't carry them off, doesn't mean they won't try to attack him.
  4. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2010
    They are at risk.

    Using the "search' feature here on BYC (up above) search hawks and you will get enough info to want to run to cover that run. Smaller hawks can't fly off with a large bird but they can easily kill and dine on the spot. Many a chicken have lost their lives to a hawk that takes a bite or two on the ground and then might be scared off, leavings 99% of the bird there, but dead nonetheless. A shame.

    Good for you for researching this before a catastrophe strikes.

    JJ (aka jjthink most of the time)
  5. Jackie B.

    Jackie B. Paris Mtn. Eggs

    May 13, 2010
    Greenville, SC
    My 16 week old SLW was taken by a hawk 2 days ago. She was probably 5ish pounds already and the hawk had no problem. Even if it can't fly away with one, it will find a way to make a snack out of them if it can get within stricking distanct to your pen. Batten down the hatches!!

  6. elizabethlongwood

    elizabethlongwood Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2010
    longwood, florida
    Jackie, sorry to hear about your chicken:( Was your chicken yard covered? If not, did you cover it after the hawk attack? I'll search under hawks on the website and see what most people use to cover their yards. We have a henhouse that is 3' x 4' and an attached short run that is 3' x 8'. Might just have to keep the chickens in there while we figure the rest out. Problem is, we have some pecking order issues and one of the pullets gets picked on by the other 3, then squawks and flies around frantically trying to get away. Letting them out solves that problem, but now I have this new problem with the hawks nearby.

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