yet another hawk story

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by smarsh2, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. smarsh2

    smarsh2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2009
    first some history

    I have had a number of hawks visit the backyard through the years. Some have made half hearted efforts at turning my chickens into a meal, but to my knowledge, no feathers had ever been ruffled. I had one Cooper's to hover over a very defensive EE, roughed up like a fighting cock, she turned the hawk away.

    This is not the story yet. Last tuesday, while mowing the front yard for the last time of the year, a Red-tailed hawk was reeking havoc in the backyard. When the mower reached the backyard with me in tow, I came upon a large cuckoo colored feather pile. The number of feathers led me to believe death was to be found next. But after coaxing all my hens from under the spruce tree and other shrubbery, I found that pride seemed to be the only wound.

    Now the story. Since the attack, I have only let the hens out when I had time to shepherd the flock. The first 2 days after the attack, the hawk was setting atop the power pole like a gargoyle, just 40 feet from the pen. The second of these two days I opened the gate to the run and a couple of hens cleared the run by few feet and the hawk immediately dropped our direction, and the hens scampered back in. The hawk cleared my head by ten feet and disappeared. Not until Saturday did I let them all out. We scratched in the garden where the tomato cages had stood, my wife and I watching. Just the time we started to let our guard down, I noted one hen (the one who took the hit before) became alert. I turned to see the hawk coming nearly right at me, wings back full tilt. I yelled and waved my arms to no avail as the hawk came right pass me at a pace quiet impressive. The yelling had alerted the other hens and the hawk missed its target. I had a stick in hand which I gave a boomerang type sling her direction ( I call the hawk a her due to the large size, females are larger than males). the stick didn't hit its target either but did get the attention of the bird. I have not seen it since.

    I am still afraid to let them out without being right there, and they won't hardly come out. They came out this evening while I clear the rest of the garden, but a black vulture sent the scurrying back.

    I guess some urban hawks have lost fear of humans.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. silly4buttons

    silly4buttons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know what you mean. I had a hawk go after one of my hens while I was hand feeding them some bread.
     
  3. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Spokane, WA
    It seems that hawks are extra aggressive this time of year!! I think that hawk was going to try and make you a meal! Brave bugger! [​IMG]
     
  4. silly4buttons

    silly4buttons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Billerica Ma
    Lol sorry I don't taste like chicken.
     
  5. minnehaha

    minnehaha Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2014
    Spokane, WA
    [​IMG] How do you know??? [​IMG]
     
  6. dldonaldsn

    dldonaldsn New Egg

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    So sad; I lost 2 hens yesterday to a Red Tail. We had finished a very large enclosed chicken yard this year (about 60 feet by 120), used no-climb fencing to keep the raccoons, coyotes, etc. out. The hens LOVED their yard and have happily been running, scratching, and playing for about 2 months. The eggs we were getting were much better than before they had a yard.

    Yesterday evening I went out to their yard to close them back up in their coop and our rooster and 5 hens were huddled in a corner at the far end of their yard. I looked up just in time to see the hawk take off. I went into the yard and found one pile of red/brown feathers (no chicken body left) that used to be the one I called Momma. Then I went over to where the hawk took off and found Charleston one of my Barred Rocks, very much picked apart but the body was still there.

    I herded Vinny (the rooster) and the 5 girls back into the coop. Fortunately the remaining 9 hens were hiding inside. I can't let them out now without guarding them. What a shame to have such a large chicken yard made useless against the Red Tail. I am sure it will be back now that it knows my hens are there. I can't spend all day guarding them.
     
  7. claudiabruckert

    claudiabruckert Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2014
    I know that our bushes and trees have saved some of the chickens from being killed by the hawks. However, 3 days ago a 2 pound hen got killed. The hawk must have been waiting silently on a branch. Usually they screech and so the chickens know that hawks are around.
    In any case, I'd plant lots of bushes. The chickens feel safer to move around and they can hide.
     
  8. silly4buttons

    silly4buttons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lol I have a answer for that one.:lol:
     
  9. silly4buttons

    silly4buttons Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 5, 2013
    Billerica Ma
    So sad; I lost 2 hens yesterday to a Red Tail.  We had finished a very large enclosed chicken yard this year (about 60 feet by 120), used no-climb fencing to keep the raccoons, coyotes, etc. out.  The hens LOVED their yard and have happily been running, scratching, and playing for about 2 months.  The eggs we were getting were much better than before they had a yard.

    Yesterday evening I went out to their yard to close them back up in their coop and our rooster and 5 hens were huddled in a corner at the far end of their yard.  I looked up just in time to see the hawk take off.  I went into the yard and found one pile of red/brown feathers (no chicken body left)  that used to be the one I called Momma.  Then I went over to where the hawk took off and found Charleston one of my Barred Rocks, very much picked apart but the body was still there.

    I herded Vinny (the rooster) and the 5 girls back into the coop.  Fortunately the remaining 9 hens were hiding inside.  I can't let them out now without guarding them.  What a shame to have such a large chicken yard made useless against the Red Tail.  I am sure it will be back now that it knows my hens are there.  I can't spend all day guarding them.
    [/quote

    Sorry for your loss. Hawks are such buttholes
     
  10. dldonaldsn

    dldonaldsn New Egg

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    Mar 13, 2010
    Jacksonville, Oregon
    I think I will try to put up some corrugated mini-roofs inside their chicken yard. I can try to plant some shrubs but this is not the right time to try that here in Oregon with winter coming. Maybe we can put some kind of wide netting up but the Madrone trees drop leaves like crazy and that will probably clog up the netting. Maybe only in the open areas.

    Thanks for this ideas and sympathy on the loss of 2 of my girls. They were only a year old but I raised them from little peeps. Still sad when I go out and see them missing.
     

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