Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by thecityman, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2010
    5 minutes ago I saw something I absolutely CANNOT BELIEVE!!!!!!! I was so excited I had to tell someone and since my nonpoultry friends tire of my bird stories, I had to come to BYC where I knew people could relate...AND MAYBE EVEN HELP!!! I've been on BYC a few months and never even noticed the predator section until I was looking at where I should/could post my story! SHould have known you folks would be way ahead of me. Anyway....here is the shocking story (OK, to you all it may not be a big deal, but it has rocked my world!)

    First, and perhaps most important, you need to know where I live and raise my few little birds (I have 4 baby turkeys- 2 months old). I live smack in the middle of town....as in....I have houses on both sides of me, directly behind me, in front of me, etc. In fact, I'm just TWO BLOCKS from the town square, businesses, court house, etc. In other words, I'm in a VERY urban environment. My back yard is only about 100 feet x 200 feet, and in one corner is my little 18 x 16 ft x 6 ft tall pen where my turkeys are. There is one huge oak tree that shades and hides (from above) my turkeys, and there is a fence line beside the pen which is a little grown up to help give a little privacy....but other than that, if you looked down on my house from above, you'd see nothing for MILES except houses, cleared yards, businesses, traffic, etc.

    5 minutes ago I walked outside to feed my turkeys and when I opened the door, they all had a look I have NEVER EVER seen before. Every one of them was puffed up, all their feathers were sticking straight out...they all looked 2-3 times bigger than normal. While you all are starting the get the idea....I didn't. I stopped to just look at them because it was so unusual, and I honestly thought they were finally started to learn to strut, which I thought was neat/cute so I was going to watch. Then all of a sudden this HUGE....I mean to me it was GIGANTIC (hopefully by now you're really curious about what the "predator" is).... HAWK flies up into the big oak tree above the pen!!! I have never in the 13 years I've lived here EVER seen such a thing on or anywhere near my property. I was both mad (how DARE this critter even think about harming my turkeys) and facinated (it was the closest I've ever been to a hawk and it really was AMAZING to examine it so close.). Soon enough my anger and fear for my chicks overcame my facination and I decided if I scared the hawk bad enough maybe it wouldn't come back....so I clapped really loud and ever yelled (GET GET) very loudly......thats when my story gets even more unbelievable!!!!

    Suddenly a SECOND hawk, which this whole time had been on the ground RIGHT at the base of the turkey pen (on the opposit side from me so I hadn't seen it) flys up as well!!!! YEP...not one, but TWO hawks in my back yard at my turkey pen IN THE MIDDLE OF TOWN!!!!! UN_FREAKING-BELIEVABLE!!!!! This one does the same as the first one....just flies up into the tree and sits there. Only when I yelled and clapped did it sort of fly off....I COULDN"T BELIEVE HOW UNAFRAID THEY WERE!!!!!

    Obviously I'm really blown away by all this. Again, you have to understand that I'm not from nor ever lived in a country/rural area and currently live in the exact opposite, so I never have seen wild hawks before, let alone here in my urbanized back yard!!!! There is just enough cover from the huge Oak Tree and the grown up fence line that I can now imagine that this is probably an attractive place for them, especially with a potential lunch just waiting for them!

    BTW...I spent the first 4 minutes before writing this looking up Hawks....no doubt about it....they were RED TAILED HAWKS. Now.....my question for you all......how determined will these dang predator's be? Will they be back? My pen is REASONABLY secure I THINK. It has a wood frame and has chicken wire on all 4 sides and no holes large enough for a hawk. On the top, I used that plastic netting that looks like chicken wire so the top is also "fenced in"...BUT......I ran the roll of plastic net across the top 2 times....each time along one side. The width of my pen is a little longer than the 2 rolls running along the sides, so there was about a 1.5 foot gap running the full length of my pen. SO I ran a third strip of netting along that gap in the roof. Since it overlapped each of the existing rolls by about 2.5 feet, I didn't tie them all together..... IN OTHER WORDS (since I've probably confused you now) it is POSSIBLE that a hawk COULD lift up the edge of the center piece of netting and scoot under it until it comes to the 1.5 gap that runs through the center of the roof (between the 2 edge pieces) and could get down into the pen. If a hawk did that I doubt he could get back out, but by then my turkeys would be dead so who cares! Am I being rediculus or are hawks desperate enough to find this breach and take advantage of it? To tie both sides of that center strip down would be a big job, but if you think I should, I will.???

    Otherwise, I'm just generally interested in hearing what you all think about my experience? Where did these dang hawks come from??? How on earth did they discover my turkeys and try to get to them so fast (the pen and them have only been there about 3 weeks or less!!!!). Isn't it amazing how my turkeys knew to be scared and knew to puff up and try to look big!!!??? (instinct, I know, but still facinating) They've never seen ANY predators before. My dog scares them a little but they don't puff up like that.

    ANyway, sorry to be so long, but this is a really big deal to me and I had to tell SOMEONE that could appreciate it! haha

  2. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Cool Story.

    First. Remove all the chicken wire. Chicken wire only keep out or in Chickens. I'm surprised you have not posted that a raccoon has ripped a hole in the fence yet and killed all your birds yet.

    2nd. Replace all the wire and neting with 2X3 or smaller welded wire or even better replace the bottom 3 feet with hardware cloth to keep anything from reaching in and grabbing your birds.
  3. wegotchickens

    wegotchickens DownSouth D'Uccles & Silkies

    Jul 5, 2007
    Sevier County, TN
    Hawks love urban areas. All those tall buildings and the heat rising up makes a decent territory. And if you'r near a park, then there are squirrels and pigeons for chowing down on.

    Hawks are beatiful birds. They're very smart, too. If you'd come out with a broom in your hands I bet they'd have taken off, thinking it was a gun.

    The hardware cloth/ welded wire idea is a very good plan. Its up to you to keep your birds safe. Turkeys make noise and odors that many predators pick up on very quickly.

    At this time of year, its possible that you saw a young hawk and a parent bird. Did both have the red on the tail? Could you see their eyes?
  4. jjthinkagain

    jjthinkagain Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2010
    The wire you have will work okay for the hawks but just not for other preds. Couldn't quite visualize the gap you spoke of but I would cover it with something - can you twist tie (e.g. use picture hanging wire cut into little twist ties pieces) another piece of netting to what you already have in order to close the gap?

    Enjoyed reading your account of what happened and so glad no one has been hurt!

  5. cfdf

    cfdf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2010
    Sounds fascinating! You'll probably find that you have lots of critters in the city now that you have turkeys. I don't know that the hawks will go to all that trouble to get your birds but a coon might. Coon's do live in cities. My mother had a fish pond that the coons would destroy...ate her fish...pulled out her plants...just destoyed it. You might want to rethink the top of your run and cover it with hardware cloth. Also, you might want to cover your entire run with hardware cloth. Do you have a coop that you can close up tight at night or do they just stay in the run? Coons are bad little critters. Good luck! I hope your turkeys stay safe!
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Get yourself some zip ties, the little 4 inch black ones, and zip tie those overlaps of netting together. Hawks ARE smart.

    While I wouldn't REMOVE the chicken wire on your pens, I WOULD put a layer of hardware cloth OVER it on the bottom. Get the 4 ft wide stuff and bend it in the middle, so you have 2 feet as a layer over the chicken wire, and 2 feet as an apron on the ground. Either ground staple it or put pavers on the "apron."
  7. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    A cautionary tale of chicken wire:

    We had chicken wire surrounding our run and coop in the first month we owned chickens. They were about 6 weeks old when we put them in the new coop and they liked the shade under the run. We thougth we were hawk-proof too.
    While we were busy being fascinated by the red-tailed hawk (and taking these photos), we had NO idea that he had already killed one of our chickens by pulling it part way through the chicken wire under the coop.

    We immediately reinforced our run with hardware cloth everywhere, heeding the often-heard advice that chicken wire is meant to keep chickens IN, NOT to keep predators out. It was a lesson hard learned.

    He hung out in this tree behind the coop waiting for another opportunity:
    Brazen, wasn't he?!
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2010
  8. Knock Kneed Hen

    Knock Kneed Hen California Dream'in Chickens

    Feb 15, 2010
    So. Cal.
    I agree, wrap your coop in hardware cloth. Two stories: 1) A friend had her run covered with netting. There was a 6 in. slit in a corner. She thought about it being a problem but [​IMG] , what are the chances? A hawk went in through that slit and killed 6 chickens. She found the hawk in the pen....he couldn't find his way out. That hawk returned to the run for weeks hoping to find a lapse in security. 2) My sister has a Moluccan cockatoo. They are BIG birds. She used to have a cage set up in the garage and let the bird out all day to play on his cage. One day she heard the bird screaming. She ran out to the garage to find the big front gargage door just as she had left it almost closed except for 5-6 inches. When she opened it up a hawk flew OUT! That hawk heard the cockatoo and went in after it.

    If you can afford to I would wire the roof of your run. I never leave anything to chance. If it can happen it will happen...one day.

    @ ADozenGirlz, those are some awesome pictures! They say it all!

    @thecityman, you are great story teller [​IMG] Felt like I was there!
  9. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Thanks. He's ominous looking, isn't he? <shudder>
  10. thecityman

    thecityman Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 14, 2010
    I LOVE YOU GUYS (and gals!)!!!!! I was literally sitting here grinning like the village idiot as I read your replies!!!! I just knew you guys would understand!!! I'm sure when I tell my coworkers they will say something like "oh, a red tail hawk. yes, I have lots of robins in my yard"!!!! haha. Then the icing on the cake were the photos by ADozenGirlz!!!! UNREAL!!!! Especially that one of the dang thing perched up on your pen!!!! And all the stories....well, lets just say I now think I've got some serious work to do!!!! And like many of you said....sounds like I'm just lucky I haven't lost any chicks already!!! I did a horrible job describing my "gap" and one of you used a much better word....its really an overlap....where the roll I put down the middle just overlapps the two strips I put along the side. The actual gap between those two was about 1.5 feet, so I just centered the gap on my 3rd roll and let the excess overlap eachof the existing rolls going down the sides....but because the overlapwas so large, and since it is the roof (meaning gravity makes it lay flat) I didn't tie the overlaps down along both seems. Now I am going to have to do that....along with the hardware cloth tips you suggested.

    btw....I wasn't able to see the actual red tail on either of the 2, but I'm still 90% sure thats what they were. However, they were not AS white on their chest as the one in the posted photos. They had more brown spots mixed in with the white. Still, they were VERY similar to those pics....I'm alomost certain I had 2 red tail hawks. I know it wasn't an owl, so I don't really know what else it could be. (I live on the TN/KY border if it helps.

    Again, thank-you guys so much....not only for the VERY valuable tips, but just for your interest and your stories. Thats what makes these forums so fun (and helpful)!!!


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