Will low tree limbs deter hawks from attacking ranging bantams?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lceh, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    We're getting our first chicks in April, and plan to keep the half-dozen or so bantams in an A-frame chicken tractor and move it around the yard. We've done all we can to make the tractor itself predator-proof, so I'm not so worried about the chickens when they're inside it, which will be most of the time. I do like the idea of letting them range around the yard once in a while, though, once we've got the fence backed with chicken wire to prevent escapes. Other than the neighborhood cats, the most serious daytime threat on our street are hawks. In fact, we have a pair nesting in a huge oak across the street. Most of our yard is overhung with branches from an old dogwood and Japanese maple (about 20' trees). Am I right that hawks tend to swoop down on prey caught in open fields, or can they navigate under tree branches to grab a bird? And will they attack when people are around? I would only let the chickens out if I'm out there working in the garden with them (and chasing off the local cats, argh). I hate the idea of them never getting a chance to roam outside of the tractor, but I hate more the idea of my kids' pets getting carried off by a hawk.....
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  2. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    I suppose it might protect them, or it might give them a place to sit and wait for the chickens to come out.

    eta: I really don't know. I'm just being facetious. Sorry.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  3. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    I think that your tree limbs will be nifty resting spots for hawks... IMHO - freerange can mean free lunch. I do not care to feed our local hawk population, so my chickens stay in a run. I have watched hawks wipe out batches of baby ducks on our waterways. I refuse to offer free chicken dinners.

    I adore my chickens. That said: They are JUST chickens. I do not believe that my chooks hang out in their covered run and curse me for thwarting their dreams of freeranging adventure. They don't know about the earthy, groovy, FREE delights of the open range. They don't know and I don't let 'em and we are just fine!

    Maybe I am a little cranky today, but I must admit that I am tired of hearing stories of overwrought, distraught people who couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that loose chickens get hurt. My friend, I say if you hate the thought of something bad happening to a freeranger- don't do it! I am a GREAT BIG WIMP - that's why my chooks are locked up
  4. lceh

    lceh Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2008
    Central Virginia
    Chickenmaven, well put. I guess so long as the gals are happy and healthy I shouldn't be too worried that they aren't roaming around being decorative -- and someone's lunch. Besides, they'll be getting the scenic tour of the property (and fresh scratching territory) every day or so when we move the tractor!
  5. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Last spring a hawk sat in the limbs of a large leyland cypress hiding and then swooped down and ate a bluebird. I would say no protection at all. It broke my heart. I saw it happen. Jean
  6. DDRanch

    DDRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2008
    I would think that low tree limbs might possibly slow down a hawk but not deter. Hawks are formidable hunters and expert flyers. I think I have to agree that free range chickens (especially bantams) equals a free lunch. And the hawks will keep coming back.
  7. wyndski

    wyndski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    Spring Hill, FL
    I have two free range bantam chickens and a pair of hawks live near by. The hawks I have are not real big and so far have not really bothered my chickens. That could be for three reasons 1. My chickens are not out in the open without some kind of shelter for long periods of time.. their own choice they hang out near the barn a lot. 2. I have bird feeders and a ton of small birds come to them. They could be easier pickings.. [​IMG] [​IMG] or 3. The neighbors peacock follows the chickens around trying to "woo" them. [​IMG] So his feathers are up most of the time and dancing. [​IMG]

    Anyone know what kind of hawk this is? I live in FL.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  8. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    wow..some people are being very rude....you know what??..as much people are sick of others crying their birds are getting attacked...i am getting sick of some being rude to others for NO reason!! [​IMG] ......and..*ooh, maybe I am also "cranky" today...i guess that makes it okay..huh??* [​IMG] and..ooh..my chickens were locked in fort knox and STILL got killed by a weasel!...if they had been free they would be alive today..they could have flown away from the weasel...instead of being locked up like sitting ducks! the weasel got in..they could not get out..[​IMG] ...i mean we could go on and on and on...please stop judging others..*stepping off my soap box now...* [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  9. Swamp Roo

    Swamp Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2008
    SW FL
    One of my wife's coworkers has a permit to work with raptors. He came over with a red tailed hawk that he was teaching how to hunt bushy tailed tree rats (squirrels). Well long story short, the bird finally acquired tone and the squirrel made a dash down the tree. I watched that hawk go down the trunk of the tree like a dropped pinball that was bouncing back and worth off of branches. Spectacular is the best way to describe it. It was a controlled fall through the very dense inner tree. Mind you this is a ten year old tree, not some large boned behemoth. That event made it clear to me all the branches or wires/string in the world strung across a run won't stop a determined hawk. I installed netting the following weekend. Oh, the evil little tree rat did survive to irritate me another day. Grumble grumble!

  10. Dread Pirate Roberts

    Dread Pirate Roberts Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2009
    Keep in mind also that banties are very flighty and inclined to investigate the neighbors' yards. A typical 6' backyard fence is nothing to them.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by