Very Bold, Very Persistent Red Tail Hawk

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by FromChictoChick, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. FromChictoChick

    FromChictoChick Chirping

    Apr 13, 2012
    My Coop
    I have a huge backyard with shrubbery and some cover and a five foot chain link fence surrounding the property.

    In a year I have lost SEVEN hens/pullets to hawks. My girls free range. At first it was sad, but I realized it was part of the expense of allowing them to free range, I only lost one at a time sporadically.

    Lately, like over the last month it has become a real problem and much more regular. I suspect a hawk or a pair of hawks has decided to take up residence in my neighborhood. I tried not letting the hens out at dawn and making sure they were in at dusk...but now the hawk is coming right into my yard, right up to the house and in the middle of the day!

    I scared the hawk off of one of my girls on Sunday and she is okay, not even injured, just lots of feathers everywhere. Then lost a hen when I was not home yesterday. Today, neighbor knocked on the door, she spotted the hawk again trying to get a hen, this hen got away.

    What can I do? I only keep a small flock of hens (no roos per town ordinance) and at this rate, I'll have no hens left in a week!
    **** hawks are wasteful to top it off just eating the head and neck and leaving the poor mangled bodies :(

    What if I pen the girls for a few days and put up one of those owls...will that deter the hawks enough they move on?


  2. browning6

    browning6 Chirping

    Dec 2, 2012
    Winton, California
    Sorry about the losses. I hate loosing livestock. I have cattle and chickens and it puts me in a bad mood when i loose any of them.
    I wish i knew of a good answer for the hawks but i don't. The owl is not likely to scare the hawk off at all since redtails don't tolerate owls. they see them as competition. the owl advantage is at night so during the day most owl prefer seclusion. So the hawk will be higher on the food chain at least during the day. And my guess not pay any attention to the owl.

    I hope the hawks leave and give you some peace
  3. scooter147

    scooter147 Songster

    Jul 30, 2008
    The owl will scare the scales off the feet of your chickens as well. I know this from experience.
    As far as the hawk I strongly suspect a juvenile bird that has found your hens are much easier to catch than rabbits, squirrels, blue jays etc. Just my speculation based on the time fo the year. As long as your hens are free ranging and this hawk is around you will be correct in your assessment in that you will be out of hens in a week.
    I simply practice the eye for and eye rule around my place.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Cover has limits if hawk has no qualms about pursing chickens into it or cover is not heavy enough. Heavy cover means hawk must be on foot to get to chicken and hawk can not fly once inside. My roosters provide qualms as does dog. You could restrict free-range time to periods when birds are under your direct supervision. If hawk attacks, then get into its face as you are bigger. Hawk will backl down. Otherwise keep birds penned up or live with losses.

  5. Rustywreck

    Rustywreck Songster

    If you can keep the chickens penned and out of sight for a few days the hawk may simply move on, at least it has worked for me.
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Crowing

    Oct 6, 2010
    Bay Area, CA
    I know some people run fishing line around their yard and the hawks can see this and won't fly through it to get to your hens.

    But you do have a situation on your hands. Now that the hawks know there is a source of food, they will keep coming back for more. And food is scare for them this time of the year so do take care to keep your hens safe.
  7. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    I did the fisihing line thing. I have also put out some bird netting which the hawk got tangled in.

  8. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    [[[[[[[.........but I realized it was part of the expense of allowing them to free range, I only lost one at a time sporadically.......]]]]]]

    There you already know the answer. Everything eats chicken and if your birds are loose, you will lose some of them. There are 2 options. Either keep them in safe housing where nothing can reach them, or accept that you will lose birds.

    You've seen a hawk attacking, so you have a hawk eating your birds, but I suspect with the sudden frequent loss, you have something else that has discovered a free all-you-can-eat chicken dinner and you've got 2 different predators dining on your flock.
  9. Is there a problem with keeping your birds penned? You can let them out to free range when you are there to supervise. Personally, all my chickens are pets. They all have names and little personalities of their own. i just can't imagine the terror of being ravaged by a hawk. i can't put my girls through that. So they all stay in covered pens and i do my best to give them a good life with lettuce and treats. We actually have had a hawk hanging about our yard lately. So my ducks are staying in their pen during the day until i can get aviary netting hung in vulnerable places.

  10. FromChictoChick

    FromChictoChick Chirping

    Apr 13, 2012
    My Coop
    It was worse than I feared. We have a now resident Cooper's Hawk. I lost a big hen today and caught the hawk in the act of enjoying its spoils.
    We had been successful at chasing the hawk off and discouraging it several times, I had hoped it would move on or that my hens would all be too big for the hawk, but I was very wrong and now I've lost my best and alpha hen

    I'm in the process of acquiring a 14'x6'x6' dog kennel as I am unable to build a more substantial pen and unfortantely, there will be no more free ranging for my girls :(

    heartbroken over the losses we suffered lately and angry with myself

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