Value of survey concerning hawk depredation

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by centrarchid, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,476
    2,107
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    So many observations are made concerning hawks taking chickens in runs and free range settings. Not everyone has such problems so some of variation is a function of how runs / free range settings are confirgured or managed. I think we should look into what designs and management practices are in place to determine if there is a pattern in respect to who has losses to hawks and who does not. Might provide information that can guide cost effective methods for reducing losses. Fort Know not always required to keep birds away from hawks.
     
  2. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    Me and my hawks around here get along just fine. and to be honest this might seem cruel to some but when the hawks are about during migration I just let all my culls out anymore. Long as they stay within there limits. I will continue to breed rabbits for them and offering them a bird a day if there that desprate. Before Migration I usually have about 25 cotton tails in my yard we feed and give treats. Veggies from the garden ect. they even play with the chickens sometimes. After Migration I usually only see a few pairs and we start the process over again. As long as there typical diets are plentiful they usually wont go after scarce Chicken meals. This is what I have learned on my experience's. Younger hawks Pose a threat to security measures since there bold and curious to test there abilitys to survive. Often Claiming there prize infront of Owners and such.
    Way I see it is its us who pose a threat on them. We are constantly tearing down farm land and expanding industrial lands. Thus taking away thousands of homes for rabbits and rodents. I try to keep these Populations Up by feeding them away from my property by wood Piles ect. I dump all my left over feeds when its time for refilles so that they have grain for the winters to survive. if we just take a little time to Make an effort there might be better results.
    Sometimes Understanding a creature of Prey can help us to better our defenses against them. I do lose chickens to hawks Don't get me wrong. But they dont spent 24 hours trying to feed off my farm.
     
  3. loverOFchickens

    loverOFchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    412
    3
    131
    Mar 30, 2009
    I have seen hawks all the time but they have yet to go after my birds. The birds are free range and their sole protection during the day is a lazy blue heeler (6yr old) dog We also have many places for them to hide but generally they just ignore the hawks. The few times the birds have gotton too close the dog has gone balistic. We have gone with this system for around four years with no hawk related problems.
     
  4. ReiMiraa

    ReiMiraa Chillin' With My Peeps

    the hawks seem to not bother mine. sometime when i do see them perched nearby and watching the coop then i lock them in their pen. it helps that i have 10 ish roosters to keep watch. its amazing to see how smart they are. also the roos are the scapegoats.... mine are all cowards... never attacked me, keep their space.

    my problem has been with diseased skunks, weasles/racoons (havent caught it) and at night we think an owl attempts to pick my chickens out of the trees.

    so remember owls that are big enough could attempt to snack on your chickens.
     
  5. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    4,203
    73
    253
    Apr 19, 2009
    While environmental configuration and flock management are certainly valid considerations you're forgetting a few things; population density of aerial predators, population density of alternate prey animals and ease of catch of your chickens v. the alternate prey animals all play a major role in who has hawk problems and who doesn't as well.

    I would agree with you however, that in most areas a fort knox chicken run is not necessary to keep losses to predators (aerial and otherwise) low. (Note: "low" not "nonexistent".) If I had to write a guide to fighting predation without the use of heavy-duty fencing and covered runs it'd probably go a little something like this:

    - Choose chickens that wear natural protection 24/7. A bright white chicken stands out against every background except snow. Unless you live at the north pole avoid bright white chickens.

    - It's called "survival of the fittest" not "survival of every chick that hatches". Allow nature to take her course. If the chicken is too dumb to take cover you probably don't want it reproducing in your flock, creating more stupid chickens that don't take cover!

    - Provide natural and/or artificial cover. Large bushes, trees, thick, varied gardens. This way the chickens that are smart enough to avoid predators have somewhere to do that.

    - Don't make your farm easy pickin's. You're not running the neighborhood buffet. Activity deters predators, keep a farm dog, some other livestock, be seen in the yard throughout the day if you can. Utilize scarecrows, pie plates, a radio, etc. Know which predators are most common in your area and tailor your tactics to that animal.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,476
    2,107
    456
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Olive Hill, I agree 100% with what you say. Getting more people to consider preventative measures and tolerable losses is very important. Some breeds developed are ill suited for life outside a heavily made coop. Most integrated farms of past had more activity, vegetated fence rows, dogs and other livestock. All factors you mention worthy of consideration. Species and density of predators and alternative prey also important. Landscape / land-use practices of area also important. And proximity to flyways.
     
  7. beachchickie

    beachchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    396
    0
    119
    Dec 6, 2009
    Alabama
    Well, there are as many scenarios as there are hawks. I am not sure we can figure nature out. The red tails have not bothered my chickens maybe b/c there are so many squirrels around. The young Cooper's Hawks have take 3 of my chickens and none of them were white. In fact they were very much camoflaged.I had Coopers this summer that tormented my birds until they finally left the area. Locked down chickens until they moved on. I am afraid everyday I come home that I will be 1 chick short.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by