Will a hawk carry away a RIR?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by nieceharr, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    I know that I have some red-tailed hawks that have been around for years. Last Wednesday, my husband came home to a hawk in our yard trying to get one of our RIRs. He scared the hawk away, but our Maggie suffered a broken neck and only lived for about an hour [​IMG]

    I read several posts and kept my chickens and ducks in the coop for the next few days despite their complaining. We hung several CDs around the yard on fishing line. Since we were home yesterday and today, we decided to let them out and are trying to let our 2 dogs in and out as much as possible - but it is very cold here, so I can't keep the dogs out that long (they are Dalmatians). My daughter saw some commotion in one of our evergreens and saw that it was a hawk. We scared it away and rounded everyone into the coop. But one is missing. We are really hoping that she is hiding somewhere, but I have a sinking feeling that she was taken. Is it possible? I don't know how much she weighs, but she is a RIR, which is a larger breed.

    I don't know what to do now. I now have 8 chickens and 8 ducks. My coop is not big enough to keep all of them in there. They will be miserable. We can't make our run any bigger until the ground thaws. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, a large hawk can carry away a chicken, but they are also bold enough to eat it in the yard until you chase them off.

    The cold weather is making raptors bolder than ever you want to use some netting over the run close to the coop. They are very persistent, and it most states and provinces they are protected by law.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  3. nieceharr

    nieceharr Out Of The Brooder

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    Connecticut
    Oh I am SO RELIEVED!!! I just saw Rosie by the entrance of the coop! She had been hiding very well all this time!! [​IMG]

    So I only lost Maggie this week to the hawk - which is bad enough, but I thought that I had lost Rosie too. Not a feather out of place. Whew!
     
  4. mamagardener

    mamagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    The same thing happened to me on Friday. The hawk didn't carry my Graycie off, but she did die a few hours later. I heard a commotion outside and saw wings flapping and just thought the chickens were squabbling with each other, until I saw one fly up into a tree and realized it wasn't a chicken but a hawk. I ran out there and grabbed a rake to shoo it off and when it saw me it flew into another tree way up high. Now I wont be letting them free range for a while, and I covered their run with wire so the hawk can't get in and they can't get loose. The past couple of days they wont leave the coop though, they are scared to come out into the run.

    When it happened the chickens all scattered and it took a while to find all their hiding places. I am glad you found your Rosie, and I am sorry about Maggie.
     
  5. LizFM

    LizFM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2009
    From what I have read, a hawk can only fly off with something that is half its weight or less...they can kill stuff that's heavier, but they can't fly off with it. Supposedly.

    Red Tails, which are one of the bigger hawks, only get up to 3-4 pounds...so it doesn't sound to me like chickens weighing over 2 pounds, that have just 'mysteriously disappeared,' with no evidence like scattered feathers, are being carried off by hawks (edited to add: here I'm really speaking about other threads where people say "she just disappeared...it must be a hawk!"). Chicks and young ones, maybe. Anything heavier they just eat on the ground...or bite into smaller pieces if they need to carry back to the nest for babies. But you'd definitely see the evidence then.

    A Great Horned Owl (which weighs around the same) can carry prey 2 to 3 times it's weight, by contrast. (wow)

    Here's (what I thought was) an amazing fact about eagles and geese...even though I grew up near Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge and went there many times each year to see the ducks, geese and eagles. A couple of years ago we went to a Ranger presentation on eagles and learned that an eagle will strike and kill waterfowl in water...and then SWIM it back to shore (using their wings) [​IMG] and eat it! I have seen remains of geese and ducks along the shore all my life but we always assumed a coyote or fox caught an injured or unwary bird on shore. That just amazes me!

    On another thread about hawks, one poster, who has multiple hawks in the area and free range (but wary) chickens, suggested the possibility that hawks hang around chicken coops more often for the rodents (mice and rats) than for chickens, although obviously they do kill chickens.

    Which makes me wonder...How many BYCers have actually seen a raptor fly off with a chicken? Not swoop over or attack and kill but not carry off...actually fly off with a chicken? And, if so, was it an adult? Standard or Bantam?

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen...I just wonder what the actual statistics are.

    That would be an informative poll.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  6. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm Premium Member

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    Bowdon, GA
    Hawks will carry away a rir and yes even a full grown geese. We lost geese last year to hawks and they were 2 weeks short of being full grown....This year we put up large beach umbrellas as we didn't have the overwire to shade the area from the hawks and it worked.

    I know it's all part of nature but still amazes me (negatively) the size of the prey they carry off!
     
  7. LizFM

    LizFM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Wow! You saw it happen? I mean, you saw a hawk fly off with a whole goose in its talons? (I'm not saying I don't believe you I just want to make sure I'm understanding you right).
     
  8. LizFM

    LizFM Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm finding this topic incredibly interesting...Oh, Duh...here's something else to consider...

    from
    http://www.wildlifenews.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlife_news.view_article&articles_id=343

    It's about Bald Eagles but the same principles (lift and carry ability vs weight of the bird) apply...

    Bald eagles are strong, aggressive birds but like everything that flies they are governed by aerodynamics. The wings of an eagle need to support the eight to 12-pound bird as well as whatever the bird is carrying, and best estimates put the lifting power of an eagle at four or five pounds. But it’s not quite that simple.

    Lift is dependent not only on wing size, but on airspeed. The faster a bird (or plane) is flying, the greater the lift potential. An eagle that lands on the beach to grab a fish, and then takes off again, is limited to a smaller load than an eagle that swoops down at 20 or 30 miles an hour and snatches up a fish. That momentum and speed gives the bird the ability to carry more weight.

    ...

    Clarke said an eagle with momentum is a different story.

    “On a wide-open beach, I have no doubt that an eagle with a full head of steam could pick up a six- or eight-pound dog and just keep on going,” Clarke said. “If it landed to kill a ten-pounder, and then tried to pick up and fly from a dead stop, could it get off the ground? Probably not.”

    ...
    Mike Jacobson spent decades as an eagle management specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and recently retired.

    (H)e said. “They can pick up and carry four or five pounds, maximum, and actually fly off with it. They can lift a little more and hop it along, but they can’t carry it off.”

    I suppose the moral of that story is to not free range chickens in wide open spaces where raptors can swoop at high rates of speed...​
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  9. srhcth

    srhcth Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 1, 2010
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    Quote:I had a Great Horned Owl fly down with in 10 feet of me and take a young White Leghorn and fly off with it.
     
  10. smarsh2

    smarsh2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i am sorry folks, but a 3 pound Red-tailed hawk cannot carry off a full grown chicken. it may carry off a carcass after most of it is eaten. almost all birds of prey eat at the kill site. exception being fish eaters. osprey will stuggle to left the ground with a 1 pound fish.
     

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