Urban free ranging - back yard hawks/dangers?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Qwntm, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Qwntm

    Qwntm Hatching

    Feb 20, 2008
    Hi all, great forum! I inherited five Chickens with coop and roofed run from the next door neighbors when they had to move. They let the chickens run in their backyard during the day and they never had any problems. Their backyard is somewhat covered (70%) by overhanging trees.

    My backyard is open to the sky, unfortunately. The girls really are used to roaming about and like scratching around the yard. How great is the risk of airborne attack about 5 miles east of downtown Portland Oregon, in an urban neighborhood of 50x100 lots and homes? I only let them out when I'm home during the day.

    I set up a patio umbrella and table for them to give them some cover... but I worry about them when they are back there.

    They are standard sizes, 2 blue laced red Wyandottes, 2 blue Orpingtons, and a white giant Cochin. Thanks!
  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    Hi and welcome! When I lived in a subdivision, I didn't have chickens so can;t share a similar experience there, but...alot of neighbours had bird feeders, and on occasion we would see chicken hawks--(can't think of their real name off hand,). Never really saw anything bigger than that. I'm thinking if you offer somewhere for them to hide, it should be ok. As for the "chicken hawk" I really don't know if it could take a chicken--it was pretty small.
  3. EastBayChickens

    EastBayChickens In the Brooder

    Feb 25, 2008
    I live in the suburbs just east of San Francisco and I routinely have red tailed hawks, white tailed kites, and red shouldered hawks in my yard, in addition to owls at night. I don't have chickens yet, but I worry about these predators, especially with chicks. I know these are grown full size chickens and I highly doubt that smaller hawks would go after them...chickens are just too big as prey. I'd be more concerned about raccoons and dogs, to be honest. Or coyotes, if you have them...I've seen them near my place.
  4. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    I've had to practially pry a hawk off my silkie, Elvira, and my Buttercup has also survived an attack.
    With that being said, I know they love freeranging, I know they love to peck around and roam, I love watching them do that. But it's too risky.
    If I were you, I'd build a cheap chicken tractor if you want them to peck in the grass. Trust me... hawks don't care if you're outside with them or not.
  5. lindseykoehler

    lindseykoehler In the Brooder

    Jun 30, 2007
    Napa, California
    I live in Napa, CA and we've had problems with hawks. We have a big tree in our backyard, it is open other than that. Twice we've had a hawk (I think they were red tails) swoop in on our chickens while they were free ranging. I don't know if it happened more when we weren't looking! That really worried us so we ended up fencing in our side yard for a run and that's where they stay during the day now. It's not a perfect solution but they're more protected there. Goodness, I think I've heard from other BYC members that there are lots of hawks in Portland!
  6. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I have trees on both sides of my backyard and the hawk still likes to see if he can have a chicken dinner.
    I only let mine out when I can be out with them...because of dogs too.
    A tractor would be a great alternative.
  7. Qwntm

    Qwntm Hatching

    Feb 20, 2008
    Thanks everyone, I was afraid of that.

    Dogs are not really a problem they'd have to get through 2 different 6 foot fences. Raccoons are a serious threat, but their hen house is Raccoon proof. (1/2 ply all around including roof, guillotine 1/2 ply door)

    It's going to rain for the next few days so I can think of something. The tractor idea sounds promising, then I wouldn't have to mow the grass either.

    Maybe I'll just make a 4x5 foot 3 foot tall movable daytime run for them...
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2008

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: