This is why you should have a covered run

Nov 11, 2020
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West Virginia
I can't believe those hens just stood there calmly with that hawk breathing down their necks! My hens were all hiding under their coop even though the run has a solid roof.

This morning I had an awful scare. I went out to clean my coops and all of my hens had stuffed themselves under the rear coop in the covered run. However, my two roosters, who normally free-range all day, had vanished. All was deathly silent.

Expecting to find two mangled bodies, I went in search of the roos. I walked in an expanding loop around the run, and as I was getting farther away, I heard the boys frantic screeching back in the vicinity of the run. I ran back and found them sheltering next to the fence around my squash patch. I led them back to the run where they were very eager to go in where it was safe.

I assumed it was a lone coyote that sometimes lurks, contemplating what chicken tastes like. (Probably a lot like wild turkey) I headed into the house to make tea and calm my nerves when the chickens all started making a hysterical racket. As I looked around for that spooky coyote, I caught a glimpse of a large bird gliding overhead. It landed in a pine right next to the run. Did I mention my run is covered? I ran into the house and grabbed the camera. View attachment 2835185 As I stood watching, a raven flew in and landed on a treetop nearby. The hawk pretended to ignore it, but flew off a minute later. Since the ravens moved into the neighborhood some years back, I've had very few hawks where before, they were dive bombing my chickens, sometimes while they were standing right next to me. Now the ravens will chase the occasional hawk out of the area.

It would have been such an easy shot with a .22 rifle, but these predators are protected in the United States under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 USC, 703-711. It wasn't necessary, at any rate, since the raven took care of the problem.
I still struggle to tell the difference between a Raven and a Crow if I only get a quick glance at it. Here's a link that'll helps people to know the difference between the two.A crow is generally safe around a chicken because it only hunts to eat and they're the size of a dove or pigeon whereas the Raven is the size of a red tailed Hawk and kill chickens.I've heard people say they will pick a black chicken up and drop it just to kill it.
https://www.farmersalmanac.com/fascinating-facts-about-ravens-22850
 

azygous

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I still struggle to tell the difference between a Raven and a Crow if I only get a quick glance at it. Here's a link that'll helps people to know the difference between the two.A crow is generally safe around a chicken because it only hunts to eat and they're the size of a dove or pigeon whereas the Raven is the size of a red tailed Hawk and kill chickens.I've heard people say they will pick a black chicken up and drop it just to kill it.
https://www.farmersalmanac.com/fascinating-facts-about-ravens-22850
I've never heard that ravens kills chickens. Both ravens and crows would prey on small chicks, though. Ravens and crows inhabit the immediate area where I live, ravens are dominant, and none have shown the least tendency to prey on my chickens. My chickens generally don't respond to their presence.

Crows and ravens are distinctly different in size. I had a crow once that was "lounging" around outside the run one day. I walked right by it, assumed it was one of my black chickens and was surprised to see it was a crow. Similar size to a chicken, but less than half the size of a raven, closer to pigeon size.
 
Nov 11, 2020
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West Virginia
I've never heard that ravens kills chickens. Both ravens and crows would prey on small chicks, though. Ravens and crows inhabit the immediate area where I live, ravens are dominant, and none have shown the least tendency to prey on my chickens. My chickens generally don't respond to their presence.

Crows and ravens are distinctly different in size. I had a crow once that was "lounging" around outside the run one day. I walked right by it, assumed it was one of my black chickens and was surprised to see it was a crow. Similar size to a chicken, but less than half the size of a raven, closer to pigeon size.
According to research I've read adult Ravens are intelligent, cautious, opportunistic predators that prefer to hunt in pairs and while I've read many comment and posts made by members here none of them actually posted any photos to back up their claims. I've only found a handful of articles on this subject as well.I did read an interesting story about Ravens actually peckng the eyes out and killing baby lambs being born while the mother was actively in labor. Thanks for replying!
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,593
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West Virginia
I've never heard that ravens kills chickens. Both ravens and crows would prey on small chicks, though. Ravens and crows inhabit the immediate area where I live, ravens are dominant, and none have shown the least tendency to prey on my chickens. My chickens generally don't respond to their presence.

Crows and ravens are distinctly different in size. I had a crow once that was "lounging" around outside the run one day. I walked right by it, assumed it was one of my black chickens and was surprised to see it was a crow. Similar size to a chicken, but less than half the size of a raven, closer to pigeon size.
I wouldn't trust my chickens around them.
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,593
2,722
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West Virginia
I've never heard that ravens kills chickens. Both ravens and crows would prey on small chicks, though. Ravens and crows inhabit the immediate area where I live, ravens are dominant, and none have shown the least tendency to prey on my chickens. My chickens generally don't respond to their presence.

Crows and ravens are distinctly different in size. I had a crow once that was "lounging" around outside the run one day. I walked right by it, assumed it was one of my black chickens and was surprised to see it was a crow. Similar size to a chicken, but less than half the size of a raven, closer to pigeon size.
One such post was made by a member that went by the username "Mcljess". Unfortunately she hasn't been active for years. The title of her post was "I hate Ravens" I hope its permitted to include a link to her post.Please feel free to read it yourself if interested. Thanks! https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/i-hate-ravens.1301714/
 

azygous

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Dec 11, 2009
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Thanks for posting the link to the raven thread. I read it, and was shocked. However, just as with humans, generally speaking, the majority of the species is not inclined to behave in a murderous fashion, thankfully. That case would have been an interesting case study for local biologist/animal behaviorists to study why that population turned predatory.

My local ravens are content to fly over each day to check whether I've left any dead rodents for them that I pulled out of my traps. They've never even come close to being interested in my chickens. There's always a first time for anything, and no one should rely on things always going along in the same old way as they always have. Just like expecting bears to stay out of your house. You never know when they might decide to inspect the interior rather than be content with hanging out in the woods as they normally would. (Yes, I have a thread on a bear in my living room.)
 

McPickle88

Chirping
Oct 29, 2021
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I had a hawk injure 2 of my chickens and then my dog killed another a little over a week ago! About 4 months ago a hawk killed 3 of my ducks as well! We should have learned then to not let them free range, but we didn't. We are currently building a large run attached to our shed. We are about 75% done with it! I am so glad your chickens are ok! Sorry for all the others that had some killed!
 
Nov 11, 2020
1,593
2,722
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West Virginia
Thanks for posting the link to the raven thread. I read it, and was shocked. However, just as with humans, generally speaking, the majority of the species is not inclined to behave in a murderous fashion, thankfully. That case would have been an interesting case study for local biologist/animal behaviorists to study why that population turned predatory.

My local ravens are content to fly over each day to check whether I've left any dead rodents for them that I pulled out of my traps. They've never even come close to being interested in my chickens. There's always a first time for anything, and no one should rely on things always going along in the same old way as they always have. Just like expecting bears to stay out of your house. You never know when they might decide to inspect the interior rather than be content with hanging out in the woods as they normally would. (Yes, I have a thread on a bear in my living room.)
All I can say is I find a bear in my living room I'm heading to my neighbors house across the street until its gone! Maybe you can give me a few pointers ? Like how do I make a bear leave without pissing it off? Toss it a live chicken? :lol:
 

Allsfairinloveandbugs

Crowing
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Feb 10, 2020
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I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this.... but I'd put money on it that the chicken was killed by something else and the hawk went in scavenging. Hawks don't kill too many adult chickens...it happens, but it's infrequent. Also, hawks don't walk up to chickens and peck them to death. If a hawk kills a chicken, it does it by swooping down fast and hitting the chicken from above with it's feet.... the hawk couldn't have swooped from above inside this run.
In general i agree with this statement "hawks dont walk up to chickens---" (But there are countless hawk threads on the predator forum where many will disagree that only rarely do hawks kill adult chickens, & i have personal experience to also disagree.) Also, for every "rule", there are exceptions to the rules. And never underestimate the determination of a hungry predator, especially one as intelligent as a hawk.

The Sounds of the video below are graphic and disturbing, & there's really no reason to keep watching/listening once the attack begins. For those who dont want to watch/listen, the video shows a hawk fly down to the ground outside the chicken run, then up to the top edge of the run, then down ito the ground Inside the run (where no chickens are in view), then go into the coop and kill a chicken.

 

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