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#71095 - 11/22/07 03:38 PM Hawk Predator
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
I am trying to find an answer to the hawk/predator problem. ONe carried off my rooster last week, then two days later another chicken. Tonight number 3 is gone. I saw "a" hawk flying off this afternoon, when I couldn't find my girls. I don't know if it was "the" hawk. Short of sitting in the yard with a rifle, do you have any suggestions?
Louisa frown

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#71096 - 11/22/07 05:04 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
What kind of chickens do you have (breed)?

Chris

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#71097 - 11/22/07 05:15 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
They are assorted, heavy-ish, free-range....
Gulp--I don't even know what they are!!

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#71098 - 11/22/07 05:20 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Wyattdogster Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 493
Loc: Virginia
Weezie....do a search and you can read the many discussions on this topic. If you don't know, the search function is in the right upper corner of this page. Just type in 'hawk' and the threads will come up.

Short of keeping your birds inside or covering their run with protective netting, there is no sure way to protect your flock.

I have this problem as well in the late winter with migrating hawks that hang around for about 6weeks and then move on. I have lost 3-4 to hawks and a couple to a fox over the last 2 years. My bantams are completely protected but my layers free range. I have about 35 and I just cannot keep them in, so I accept this loss. Of course I don't let them out when the hawks are hanging out nearby, but they know where to find them anyway. I actually saw three hawks hit and 'roll' one of my hens and I was able run outside and save her. I had no idea hawks would hunt like that.

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#71099 - 11/22/07 08:57 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
I am so very sorry for the loss of your chickens.

I agree it is migrating hawks. I've had a female Red-Tailed Hawk hanging around today. Both you and Wyattdogster are right in a migratory corridor. Fortunately, I have not lost any birds to Hawks or Owls.(We have a pair of Great Horned Owls that will be around starting about in January and they are always a threat.)

When I am home and not at work, I listen out for Crows and Bluejays. They will usually tell you where the Hawks & even Owls are situated at any particular time. I also look around at what all the other birds are doing too. The Rock Doves (pigeons) start flying around in a tight, almost diamond formation. The smaller birds cannot be seen. I hang out around the run when I know a Hawk is nearby and use my binoculars to try and locate the Hawk. If you look at the Hawk through your binoculars, I've noticed they can see me looking at them, and they always fly off.

I have had a Cooper's Hawk fly in the run after my Bantam hen. I have seen my large Rooster run at him and he flys away. I have also run out and scared them away.

I asked you what breeds you had because if it is heavy standards you have, then it is a large Hawk (probably a Red Tailed) who is not afraid of large chickens. Bantams are always a target [of even the smaller Cooper's Hawks and Sharp-Shinned]. Sometimes if your hens are large, the Hawk has to be on the ground first for a short time and is vulnerable for a moment.

You could have protective netting as Wyattdogster suggests. It is often cost prohibitive or an inconvenience(as it would be for me because my run is so large).

Remember, a Hawk wants to use as little energy as possible and be successful at catching his dinner. So, you need to make it more difficult and not as successful.

Other than the overhead protective netting, these are things I've seen that have worked for me & other folks (and I am probably just lucky):

(1) a guard dog in the run like a Great Pyrenees; (2) a large, very ferocious Game Rooster (my brother saw a Game Rooster kill a Red-Tailed Hawk though he said the Hawk was a juvenile so probably not an experienced hunter); and my Roosters now are exceptionally large and if I were a Hawk, I'd look for something easier rather than tangle with a large rooster; (3) obtain some breeds of chickens or other poultry that are exceptional at evading Hawks & which can sound an alarm: Fayoumis; Old English Game; Dominiques; Guineas; a Goose; (4) Provide more cover for your birds such as bushes, huts, hiding places (I have seen a Hawk fly up in the tree by my run and my chickens go crazy and run for the cover of bushes, the nest boxes, etc.); (5) Put a very real looking Scare Crow in your chicken run (although I have seen a Red-Tailed Hawk twice eat his meal (a squirrel) on the ground while I watched from a few feet away- I could have touched the Hawk and it had no fear of me). I hope this helps you. CHRIS

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#71100 - 11/23/07 08:08 AM Re: Hawk Predator
Weezie Offline
Bantam

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 56
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks so much for your great suggestions.
I don't have a run--the girls free range, and there are a lot of bushes and undergrowth nearby, but I guess this hawk knows where he can find a great dinner!
Our hawks live around here. Or at least some large red-tails do. We have lots of woods, and a relatively mild winter, so I think they just stay the course.
There has been a lot of building in the area near my 55 acres, so a lot of nest have been disturbed as well as other food sources.
I like your idea of a scarecrow. That might work very well.
Also your idea of noisy birds...I have 2 smaller dogs that are outside a good bit, but they are not that intimidating with a persistant hawk.
I am just still flabbergasted about him taking off with my rooster, though! I would have thought it was a coyote or fox, except that a friend about 2 miles down the road actually SAW through her window a hawk swoop down and pick off her rooster!
Well, I may put on a warm coat, get a good book, and sit outside during the better part of the day--at least for a while!
Thanks,
Louisa

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#71101 - 11/23/07 01:22 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Wyattdogster Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 493
Loc: Virginia
Great ideas Chris! When I reread my post I realized I sounded kind of harsh and indifferent. I don't feel that way at all...it is as distressing to me now to lose a bird as it was the first time it happened. frown

The first time we lost a hen it was to a hawk and I was distraught. I cried and carried on like a baby! When my (then 7 year old) daughter came home from school, I told her the bad news with tears in my eyes. She hugged me, patted my back and said, "Mommy, it's the circle of life".

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#71102 - 11/24/07 07:16 AM Re: Hawk Predator
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Wyattdogster, what a wise girl you have!

Weezie,

For me, it would depend on what is more important - the individual chicken or the idea of free-ranging. For us, it's the latter, and if/when we loose a chicken to a hawk, we won't confine all our birds with netting over the top of their run. We like to let them out to range as much as possible, and when we get electric fencing, they will be loose foraging for their own food on pasture, while being protected from all but over-head predators and in the coop at night. For me, the benefits of free-ranging out-weigh the dangers from above.

Not that any breeds are immune to hawks, but maybe in the future you can see if there are any breeds that you are interested in, that are known for being particularly successful free-ranging - quick and alert to predators, not the heavier types. We prefer smaller, quick birds with brown, barring or coloring allowing them to be less of a beacon - no white birds ( we do have ONE pure white leghorn sent as an extra, we would never order an all white bird ). I don't know if we haven't lost a chicken to a hawk because we have a super-alert rooster ( S.S. Hamburgh ) or if it's just dumb luck.

Aside from the shrubbery for protection, I've seen simple, small A-frame type huts used as various hiding spots as well.

But, if these are your individual pets, the individual being more important than the concept of free-ranging, then I would consider a large run with netting. That is the only safe bet. Otherwise, do your best, hope for the best, and be glad that the pressure from the hawks is a seasonal thing!

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#71103 - 11/24/07 07:32 AM Re: Hawk Predator
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Ah, I was just looking through Chris' suggestions again - I forgot - we have one of those plastic-but-real-looking Great Horned Owls that we stuck on one of the posts of the chicken run. Maybe that helps? We also have two geese that sound the alarm if so much as a silver speck of a jet is flying over, so high you can't even hear it.

Also, when I mentioned smaller breeds, I didn't mean bantams, but ones such as the Fayoumi like Chris mentioned, which we have, as well as Hamburgs, brown Leghorns, Redcaps etc... Also, just like Chris said, there is the other side to that coin - a bird so big most hawks wouldn't bother. Our two dark Brahmas are not the best foragers, not the zippiest chicken, but I can't imagine anything short of a Bald Eagle trying to carry one of those hefty girls off.

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#71104 - 11/24/07 07:39 AM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
wyattdogster: I didn't think you sounded harsh & indifferent. We've had this Hawk topic come up so many times before, and it usually ends in the argument about whether you can shoot or not (no I'm not bringing it up here-forget I said it, let's not go there).

The protective netting is the only surefire way.

The other things were just a compilation of everything I'd seen or heard to do. One could always get one of those Shamo cocks, bet a Hawk wouldn't dare. CHRIS

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#71105 - 11/24/07 05:39 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
My flock has roamed free for over 10 years. I've only lost one bird, a bantam years ago, to a hawk. I quit keeping bantams.

A good guardian dog is worth a lot. Mine is great! Nothing messes with HER flock!
_________________________
Rogo

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#71106 - 11/25/07 04:42 AM Re: Hawk Predator
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
It's so nice to hear of free-ranging flocks that are not being gobbled up by various predators, other than us!
Free-ranging does not always equal certain death. smile


Right, shooting a hawk is illegal, I would never think of it - but if you had a guard dog, or donkey, could you get in trouble if they put a hurtin' on a red-tail that was on your chicken? I know most guard animals are mostly for coyotes, but I wonder if such a thing would actually happen, and if it did, if you'd be liable? Stupid question?

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#71107 - 11/25/07 09:02 AM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
You can be held accountable for a lot of things your dog does to someone else or something else, but NOT if it did something to a hawk.

The difference probably lies with your "intent." You would intentionally be shooting the hawk to kill it or say you set a booby trap (or poison) but in the case of the dog, it is your dog's intent, not yours.

[Note: you are talking somehwhat about apples and oranges when you speak of "liability" (a civil concept) and "guilty" (a criminal concept). You get sued by a Plaintiff for "liability" who wants money. You get arrested by law enforcement, charged (indicted) and tried. If found "guilty," then you get jail and/or fine.

With the hawk shooting, we are worried about being arrested, charged and found guilty by a jury of our peers and NOT being sued by somebody for damages. With most criminal acts, not all, "intent" is a necessary element, and this is a criminal defense attorney's ally: e.g. I once defended a guy who had a shoot out with police in a crowded parking lot. My guy shot an officer in the leg during the shoot-out before being shot himself. Since there were 50 witnesses to the shootout and my guy was wounded & taken at the scene, it was not a "who done it" defense. Instead, at trial, I argued that my guy was a former 101st Airbourne Ranger and could shoot the eye out of a dove from a half a mile. Had he "intended" to kill the police officer, then he could have; he just intended to wound him. It worked. The jury acquitted my guy of the more serious "attempted murder" charge and found him guilty of a lesser crime, assault. It saved him years more in prison.]

On the "civil" end of it, in the legal community, we call being "liable" for someone else's actions, "vicarious liability." It often times hinges on what you should have known or was the someone else acting for you (Is an employer liable for the actions of its employee? The answer is a fact one for the jury: they decide was the worker acting in the scope of his employment? or should the employer have known? Other examples of you being "liable" is when you co-sign for another's debt. So as a civil action, then, NOT applicable to the hawk situation.

Enough legal lesson. Sorry moderators.

I've known other folks who told me they have seen their guardian dog chase off a hawk from their chickens. CHRIS

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#71108 - 11/25/07 01:04 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
My son works for the Pa Game Commish at a farm which produces ringneck pheasants. they held back around 4,000 breeders this year and they are likely going to run short. Hawks are killing an average of 100 per day, 2 immature Bald Eagles are now joining in the fun. The mature eagles dont come to prey until the lakes are frozen over. They have some deterrents but looks as they arent working real well!
It is legal to shoot a hawk in Pa. is you SEE it attacking your propery. I regularly have hawks patrolling my land and they sometimes sit in trees near the chicken barn. I have sat there with a loaded gun but only 1 time did I actually see the hawk make an attemt for 1 of my animals.

I've known a few Rangers and Air borne(101st & 82nd) guys, I doubt if one could shoot to wound, thats just not a part of training.Training amounts to shooting for center of mass, wounding is TV stuff.thats a good one you pulled on the good guys. Too bad,if its true.

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#71109 - 11/25/07 03:56 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
It was just a silly off-handed question on my part, kind of an "I wonder what if..." question.

I did not think that guard animals would typically deter predators from the sky, but if so, sounds like those guys raising pheasants in Pa. could use some! It's funny how some of us rarely if ever loose a bird to a hawk, but elsewhere there are birds being raised ( albeit on a grand scale ) and losses are incurred daily. Is it something about the sheer number of pheasants? The fact that they are pheasants, not chickens? Something about the area and maybe a lack of other game for the hawks, lack of places to hide for the pheasants? I wonder.

When we get electric fencing for our pasture, I've thought of having some sort of guard animal, I was thinking maybe a donkey since we have only lost birds to coyotes, and a donkey can consume pasture as well. But for now I'm glad we at least have a large, plastic Great Horned Owl watching over the flock! Maybe it helps.

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#71110 - 11/25/07 07:06 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Rogo16 Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 439
Loc: Arizona
Where I live, it's legal to shoot ANYTHING harassing the livestock, protected or not.

Humans aren't that lucky. If you shoot someone molesting your child, it's murder.

What a country!
_________________________
Rogo

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#71111 - 11/26/07 09:37 AM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Upback: I've wondered the same thing about how some people lose chickens to hawks a lot and then others like me, never do. I see them flying around all the time and I think, "wow that is a big hawk, he could take one of my birds." Then, I see the hawk with a squirrel eating it. A squirrel is fast and can't be that easy to catch.

Just my opinion, but I think a hawk develops a taste for say squirrel or chicken and likes it, learns to hunt it, etc. OR if they are real hungry, anything is game. This is not unlike captive pet snakes, if fed a bird, often times, will not go back to eating mice. Some captive snakes get used to eating white mice and will not eat say a brown mouse unless real hungry. For instance, I've seen a real hungry Hognose Snake, which is supposed to ONLY eat frogs and toads, eat a small [hopper] mouse.

The juvenile Cooper's hawk I've seen harassing my flock was probably hungry and trying to learn what it could hunt. Since I live in the city and there aren't chickens around (or haven't been for a long time), then the hawks and the Great Horned Owls have not come to see chicken as a meal (they just don't know how good chicken is). So, I think it is more a matter of luck. Again, just my opinion. CHRIS

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#71112 - 11/26/07 02:07 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
What is this about migrating? Those hawks that were here during the summer are STILL here! Oh well...we got a great harvest of pecans thanks to the eating of squirrels. They haven't harrassed our birds at all other than screeching outside of the backdoor...At least they've stopped dive-bombing us as well. A lady here said that there was a nest nearby during the summer...oh joy...I get to go through it next year. Hopefully when meals get less abundant during the winter they won't see my birds as an easy meal!

Rogo16, I completely agree. Either way, if the guy/girl is caught in the act of doing something horrible to ANY child I would be going after them no questions asked.

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#71113 - 11/26/07 07:24 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Rob2 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 03/28/03
Posts: 3068
Loc: Pennsylvania
A predator animal(or human) prefers to take paths of least resistance. They are not great thinkers but they are pretty keen on where the easy chow(mark) is. If there are 85,000 pheasants all cooped up in 100 acres, they are gonna take note.
If a young hawk discovers an easy meal on some farm, he's going to hang out in the neigborhood, that will attract some os his peers, and so it goes.. It works the same for all predator types.

I dont know about the migration habits of hawks, there is a big deal made of their return here in Pa., Hawk mountain and all, but there are plenty of them year round here too. The Eagles dont go anywhere. There are I think, 4 nests, within 20 miles of my farm.

Ground based terrorist varmints are the worst enemy.

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#71114 - 12/01/07 09:05 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
All hawks migrate to some extent. Some like the Swainsons Hawk migrate from BC or Alberta all the way to Argentina. This hawk migration numbers in the many thousands (in Veracruz daily counts in September number ten to twelve thousand). In the 1970s, biologists counted nearly 900,000 arriving in a bottleneck in Panama & on into Venezuela & Colombia. This is well documented.

Some hawks (depending on the species) may stop in Oklahoma and winter over; however, how'd you know whether it is the same hawk or if some were staying a few weeks & moving on replaced by others? In the spring-time, the hawks migrate & radiate northward & stake out territories to build nests and raise their young.

In the United States, it is illegal to shoot hawks under the Federal Migratory Bird Act/ Treaty:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode16/usc_sec_16_00000703----000-.html

The 50 States do not have to have separate laws to protect migrating birds because the Federal Law and Treaty would override any State law anyway.

Here are the Hawks covered by the Federal Law:

Hawk, Asiatic Sparrow, Accipiter gularis
Broad-winged, Buteo platypterus
Cooper's, Accipiter cooperii
Ferruginous, Buteo regalis
Gray, Buteo nitidus
Harris', Parabuteo unicinctus
Hawaiian, Buteo solitarius
Red-shouldered, Buteo lineatus
Red-tailed, Buteo jamaicensis
Rough-legged, Buteo lagopus
Sharp-shinned, Accipiter striatus
Short-tailed, Buteo brachyurus
Swainson's, Buteo swainsoni
White-tailed, Buteo albicaudatus
Zone-tailed, Buteo albonotatus


Here is a complete list of all the birds covered by the Act (scroll down to eagles,hawks, owls, all of them are covered):

http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/intrnltr/mbta/mbtandx.html

In 1998, the allowed fines were raised from $5,000 to $15,000 by the U.S. Congress (scroll down to bottom of site):

http://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/migtrea.html

No State in the U.S. is exempt from this Federal Law. There is also no need for a State to enact its own law (and most do not). However, I know, someone's got to catch you.

Thank goodness this law does not apply to opossums. While I was typing the above (10:00 p.m.), I heard my chickens going crazy, and I heard one cry out like something had her. A opossum had got into the run (and not on the high open coop but broke into the run and a separate pen within the run & the coop in it-- where I had my old rooster and one hen for his company). I grabbed my 22 & flashlight, ran outside and killed the opossum in the coop while he had my hen by the head. Looks like he cut her up pretty bad (all in about 30 seconds). Damn opossum, he broke through the wire and all. I'll post on emergency room.

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#71115 - 12/14/07 01:58 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Luisa Fels Offline
Bantam

Registered: 02/28/07
Posts: 69
Loc: California
we've installed 4 "stop lights"--advertised in Backyard Poultry--solar powered, light/dark activated little red lights that are s'posed to scare away all predators. how we could verify that they work i'm not sure-- we haven't lost a bird since we installed them but also since we installed them we've been religious about getting our guineas shut in before dusk, when they would roost on top of our poultry palace and get picked off by owls. it means getting back from town by 3 p.m., wh/ is no easy task. the only other birds that might get preyed upon are the 2 fat hybrid drakes, wh/ are careful to mingle w/ the fat geese, wh/ are unlikely to be preyed upon. anyway, that's one more option.
_________________________
L. Fels

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#71116 - 12/14/07 02:57 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
I have seen those red lights advertised and wondered if they are effective. I understand that you may install them, too, about three feet (~1 meter) off the ground to deter ground predators. They looked easy to mount. Anybody have experience with that?

CHRIS

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#71117 - 12/14/07 05:38 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama

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#71118 - 12/14/07 07:45 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Ducks-n-Geese Offline
Chicken

Registered: 12/13/06
Posts: 120
Loc: Louisiana
I recommend the niteguard, but you do have to pay attention and actually measure and have them the proper height as suggested by the company.

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#71119 - 12/15/07 04:40 AM Re: Hawk Predator
Kraienkoppe Offline
Chicken

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 88
Loc: Oklahoma
We've been raising a Great Pyrenees pup. He's now 7 mos old and about 90 lbs. Looks like a little polar bear. For weeks something was disturbing our birds every night. A week ago we lost seven pullets and cockerels. It had to be a coon. Anyway, I finally rigged things up so the pup would be able to roam our pastures and yard during the night. He is obviously bred to patrol and guard at night (sleeps all day and is happily running 'round and barking at night). It's been a week now that the birds have been sleeping tranquilly & me too! The only false alarm was the first night when he wuffled outside their coop. They all went ballistic. But now they recognize that he's not going to hurt them.

Pyrenees aren't supposed to be fully mature and ready for regular guard duty until at least 1 1/2 years of age. He's not ready, in the sense that I can't leave him unattended with the chickens or goats. He's still in the bouncy playful stage of life. He's killed two chickens (a couple of months ago) by playing with them. But his predator drive is extremely low.

So right now he's closed up in a separate pen, when the birds and goats are out, unless I'm doing chores. Then, he comes with me and doesn't bother the animals at all.

Regarding hawks: when we lived in New Jersey hawks were absolutely horrible on poultry. Seemed like they had learned to prefer poultry over squirrels (of which we were over run). Here in Oklahoma I only have lost a few smaller birds to hawks and learned simply not to let them free range until they are past that size. I've had Red Tailed hawks raise their little ones right on the property and give no problem at all.

My theory is that in NJ they had total impunity. Here, in this part of Oklahoma there are plenty of places where people live almost as if it were 100 years ago. If it bothers their "critters," it dies. I once had quite a conversation with one fellow who raised turkeys. He told me, "There are thieves among the hawks and owls. Not all are thieves, just a few. When a thief gets our birds, we get him. Then the ones left leave the birds alone." Anyway, something is different between NJ & OK, and it's not that OK has more squirrels!

George

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#71120 - 12/15/07 09:23 AM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
same may be true of Alabama as Oklahoma; we love our guns here. we protect our animals.

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#71121 - 12/17/07 12:34 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
Hahaha....I'm just smiling with a knowing look... smile We had an animal kill one of our hens this last week (hard to see anything with no electricty!)

I waited all night (seemed like a good idea) and then found out that my neighbors dog had learned to "climb" up the fence. Having a previous agreement that if the dog even looked twice at my birds, the dog was dead, I shot the dog and called the owner to pick it up the next morning. Always good to have an arrangement like that when livestock are nearby.

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#71122 - 12/19/07 04:36 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Barnyard Jenny Offline
Feather

Registered: 08/27/07
Posts: 27
Loc: North Carolina
I think one of my girls was attacked by a hawk a day ago. I got home from shopping, and usually all my girls run over to greet me, but this day no one would come out of their protected run. So, I went to check and it looked like a feather bomb went off.
I finally found the one with the missing butt/tail feathers. Later in the day I caught her and checked her out. Under her neck feathers on her back was a huge hole- I could see drumsticks and everything. She ran off and is still running around eating, drinking, scratching. Keeping an eye on her for now, although expecting the worst ;(

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#71123 - 12/22/07 02:23 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Anonymous
Unregistered


It was really hard for me to post this year. We had a terrible terrible time with hawks owls red fox and skunks. We lost TamTam and It just really was horrible. Her white tophat was the target. We lost 1/2 our flock, some were 2 some were 1; this didnt seem to matter. Whatever it was dragged them outta the coop at night. There is no way to stop the red fox, from what I can see....this is the first Time I've posted here all winter, I miss the birds I lost. I felt like I had failed them. I know that I didnt but still it was an awful thing. Several were found with feathers all in a ring, I will chalk those up to Owls/Hawks. Nature can be so cruel..
THS

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#71124 - 12/22/07 07:05 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Wyattdogster Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 493
Loc: Virginia
Sorry to hear about your losses. Perhaps a door on the coop to securely close them in at night would also keep predators OUT of the coop. I cannot leave my coop open at night, we have too many predators here, including a prowling bobcat.

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#71125 - 12/22/07 08:36 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
so very sorry; it is an awful feeling to lose birds to predators; I wake up at night sometimes and think I hear something-- run outside only to find peace & quiet. . . bad dreams, I guess.

I live in the city so we don't have as many predators that actually live here or they are just passing through anyway; what I have lost birds to are pit bulls-- nothing can stop these dogs except a bullet, they can chew through metal and break down any structure if given enough time, they can also climb. The pit bulls are just an epidemic here. You'd think it was the ONLY breed of dog available (and eventually they always get loose). They usually travel in a pack too (and sometimes at random, they stroll through the neighborhood-- I have to be lucky and be home!). The neighbor behind me and very close to my run keeps three on thick chains, never walked, grew up on those chains -- when they get loose, I'm going to have a lot of trouble. January 1, though, my city has passed a new vicious dog law that is really tough because last year, we had two really bad attacks on people by the pit bulls.

wyattdogster, I haven't heard a bobcat in a long time; however, someone outside my town, but close enough, lost some birds to a bear recently which I didn't know lived here in this part of Alabama.

CHRIS

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#71126 - 12/23/07 05:54 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Wyattdogster Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 493
Loc: Virginia
Legend has it that there is a bobcat living on the 400 acres of woods and fields behind my property. I was skeptical for years and dismissed what I had heard about it. NOT anymore!

A neighbor lost a huge goose and there was chaos in her coops and by her pond one night about a year ago. She says she saw what looked like a huge cat running off. I didn't believe her, figured it was a fox. I lost a very large hen a few months ago, around dusk I believe, big mess of feathers and chunks of skin with most of the tail feathers on the ground with a trail into the woods, figured it was a fox. I have seen mysterious poop outside of my fenced pen, looked it up, fit the picture of bobcat scat. Still I dismissed it! The rare weird yowling I have heard occasionally must have been some dog. :rolleyes:

Well...we had our fist snow about a month ago and I was lucky enough not to have to rush off to work that morning. I walked the property looking at all the different animal tracks that visited during the night. Fox, skunk, cats, the usual suspects. My dog was with me and he was going nuts scenting stuff. I investigated and there was that poop again and very large, roundish paw prints. Not quite as large as the palm of my hand, but close! They were all around the back door to my barn and I tracked them back into the woods. I came in and looked at some tracking sites on the web and I was pretty certain they matched the bobcat prints, and the poop too! When hubby got home that evening he went out with me to see them, he was pretty convinced as well. The next day I got a call from another neighbor that has goats and geese. She told me her hubby saw a "huge" cat in the ditch the evening before on his way in from work. It ran off down a very long driveway that leads back into the woods. He followed along slowly in his car as the cat ran toward the trees and got a good look. He was certain it was a bobcat, described it and said it looked kind of spotted and had weird ears. I went back to the tracking site...yup, the bobcat has spots!!

I now believe that there IS a bobcat. Now, about that bear that was seen about a mile from here.....

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#71127 - 12/23/07 06:39 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Anonymous
Unregistered


I saw my first bobcat in the wild this year. It bounded across the road right in front of my car not far from home during my morning commute to work I so got a really good look. Stub tail, roundish ears, tawny body, taller and much bigger than I would have guessed. My birds are safely locked up every night, as we also have coyotes, coon, oppossum, skunk, and stray dogs. The neighbor had a black bear cross his yard one day but I havent seen one yet.

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#71128 - 01/21/08 03:38 PM Re: Hawk Predator
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Check out the following:

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2008/01/20/finnstrom.hawk.killer.cnn

This would go for Arizona too. NOTICE: U.S. WILDLIFE

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#71129 - 01/21/08 05:39 PM Re: Hawk Predator
Anonymous
Unregistered


We have been 'fairly' lucky about predators. Once it was the resident dog and second it was a beautiful red fox. We had picked up our first batch of chicks at the farm store and raised them to a good size, in the safety of the house. All the while we were 'reinforcing' Fort Knox. lol. It had 2x4 wire around the outside, chicken wire on the inside and then a 10' chicken wire roof. We thought we had done very well, joked about it actually.

Well, the first time our 90 lb. Australian Shepherd/St.Bernard played/pounced all but one little chick to death. Not mauled, but slobbered on. We thought it to be only a playful accident, she was still very much a pup at the time. We replaced the chicks with a second batch and again raised them in the sanctity of the house.

Our 6 laying hen(3 black sex-link and 3 red) had matured into beautiful plump hens. An egg a day from each for their first season! About 16 months later I started allowing the hens out to forage a few hours before darks. I reasoned it safe, 2-3 hours of scattering our horse poop and then going back to their home at night to be secured behind a closed door. This worked great! Well, the man of the house, like their poop-scattering skills and would let them roam and not shut the door after dark. I have never seen a fox in the area, one years ago down the road while riding my horse.

Well, one morning my love called me and asked if I wanted to see a red fox. I realized it was dead and was a little bit upset. I admire the beauty of a red fox and the many a fable about them. I drove to my boyfriend's house to find beautiful Reynald(lol, I love Aesop's fables) laying in the carport. Black feath still clenched in his teeth and our broodiest hen laying headless beside him. I took it in stride for the moment, sad for both the fox and the hen. We waited for out spooked flock to return home, only TWO hens came home. I was amazed, 5 hens in the course of ONE night!! Our 3 red sex-link and 1 black were taken by (a pair, I think) of red fox.

My boyfriend shot the fox that morning as he was running off with his 5th hen for the night. I skinned it and saved the fur. Now, we're in the process of rebuilding our flock. Predation happens, especially when domestic animals are allowed to roam in opportunistic predator's domain. I don't blaim an animal for taking a chicken, it's easy food(Who doesn't like easy food!?!).

I look at it as acceptable to shoot animals preying on your animals, but only if the evidence it stacked against them. In this case the Old Reynald was caught hen-in-mouth, what further evidence do you need? We don't shoot animals on-site, I don't believe in that. I liked the philosophy of the theives among animals. I look at is as by eliminating the one(or half a couple, lol) that was caught in the act, we may have saved a few generations. Mammals especially learn and are taught how and what to hunt. This fox either learned from his parents and learned himself how to eat chicken. By killing him we may have stopped some of the many offspring he would have taught where our coop is.

That is our experience and method of removing predators. We keep our chickens in the coop during day and night. Sometimes given their occasional couple hours of freedom before dark. Dogs, fox, and other ground predators I would say shoot. Hawks, I have a friend who says the plastic owls work great! He laughs because it took about a week for his chickens and vultures to stop having a heart-attack about it. I would agree with the providing of cover. We were at this friends house and a hawk took his dorking rooster, but after the flocks saw it happen; the slightest shadow send them scurrying.

Good Luck,
Kim

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