WHAT A DAY!

There is a Red tailed hawk hanging around the Farmlet – I chased it away yesterday. 

Today I have had to chase it away three times! 🤬 First time it swooped in and tried to haul away my favorite hen, Little Red. It came down less than four feet from me to get her!  The second time the geese alerted me that it captured and killed one of my Japanese Bantams. I did not let it keep the carcass. Now I have had to go out and chase it away again! Lucky for the second little Japanese hen I got out there in time and she only lost a few feathers.
 
It was amazing to see all the hens up in the branches of the large bush by my bedroom window.  Thinking all was well I went inside, but came back about a half hour later to see where the other half of my flock had disappeared to.  The stragglers followed me to the hen-house and I found the rest all hiding in the there and squished up against the farthest wall. I came out in time to see the last two little black Silkies making a break for it and the Silkie Rooster standing at the half way point calling to them.  He herded them into the shelter once they passed by.
 
That Red tailed hawk was pretty brazen. On the second encounter I came up behind it and it turned its head to look at me… it didn’t budge. I nudged it with my boot, it leapt  up, landed about 8 feet away, skittered to a stop, then turned and caped its wings to stare me down. I walked right up to it and it gaped its beak at me and fluffed up as big as it could make itself. I nudged the bruiser a bit harder (no, not hard enough to injure it) and it finally took off.
 

Waiting for sunset and hoping it finds a squirrel or something in the meantime.   😦

This has happened before back in January of 2011.  You can read about that episode and see a picture of the hawk – HERE   –  You can also see a picture of my little hen Tippy, who got free and then flew all the way across the pasture!   (Til then, I hadn’t known that chickens could really FLY.) –  HERE 

41 thoughts on “WHAT A DAY!

  1. tialys says:

    Oh! The drama 😨
    We had chickens until last year and once a big bird of prey got itself into the run and couldn’t get out again until it saw me and the dogs coming and it managed to take off from a standing (and very cramped) start. We didn’t lose any then, they had crammed themselves tightly into the bamboo stems but then we had what we think was a weasel attack where they just bit off the heads of two of my lovely girls and made off, leaving both heads and bodies behind. I was sobbing my heart out – it seemed like such wanton cruelty.
    I hope your hunter doesn’t return – it sounds as if you made a fearsome adversary.

    • Lynda says:

      Yes, it is drama. 😦 They stayed in all day after the third attack. Today it was business as usual until about noon, when I peeked out my window and saw everyone running for cover! I didn’t see the hawk, but they sure did!

      He acted fearsome, but for me it wasn’t so bad. That said, I was smart enough to use my muck-booted foot and not my hands to shoo him away!

  2. tootlepedal says:

    What an amazing story. I am sorry about your stock loss. We found out that hens could fly when our little terrier upset a new flock when it was just settling in during our hen keeping days. I broke a rib trying to get one of them back.

    • Lynda says:

      You fell, Tom? Oh OUCH!
      I am always growing and shrinking my flock. Sometimes I think about getting rid of them all, then the new catalog comes in the mail from Murray McMurray’s and I am dreaming about new clucks.

    • Lynda says:

      Fran, it is one of the pitfalls of chicken keeping. I could keep them all in a run as some do, but I hate not letting them out to find bugs and weeds to munch. Runs quickly become barren with all those chicken feet scratching all day.

    • Lynda says:

      Kate, it was brazen, very brazen. I wasn’t sure that when I shooed it with my foot that it wouldn’t attack. I am glad it didn’t. Everyone is safe so far today, but I have seen them run for cover twice since noon, although I didn’t see anything. I think I need to stop raising bantams and concentrate on the standard sized breeds. They never seem to bother with the big bruisers!

      • katechiconi says:

        Back when I kept chooks, we had a lot of black kites, but they always kept strictly away from my Australorps. It was the foxes that did for me in the end. Twice. Poor girls, it was carnage.

        • Lynda says:

          I know we have foxes here in N. Alabama, but I never see them around our area. When I do see them the are flat on the side of the road. I know first hand the carnage of dogs… I imagine it is the same with a fox. 😦

          • katechiconi says:

            Yup, same mindless destruction. The worst of it is that foxes were introduced into Australia, they’re not native, and they do so much damage; they have no place in the ecosystem. Same with feral cats and dogs, pigs and rats.

          • Lynda says:

            I never knew that you had a problem with introduced species – other than the rabbit which I understand is a scourge for you there. May I assume that the fox was from England for fox hunting?

            We have feral hogs here too. They are huge, wreak havoc for the farmers, and are very dangerous!

  3. Animalcouriers says:

    Not good news. Once they find a source of delicious food, you’ll have your work cut out to keep the chooks safe 😦 We lost so many to buzzards and foxes we couldn’t bare it any more.

    • Lynda says:

      Annie, we never see foxes or coyotes in the daylight here, and the chicken house is, well built like a real house! So they are safe from things that creep in the night. When the hawks kill one of the littles, I always take it away, because I don’t want them to think that it is a smorgasbord! I am seriously considering not getting anymore bantams and re homing what I have. The hawks just don’t pick on the chickens that are bigger than they are.

      Your buzzards and foxes are much more aggressive than ours? We have been fortunate to have only had this problem twice. Once in 2011 and now. The last time was in January too which tells me something… I need to have a good think on this.

    • Lynda says:

      Hello, Thomas! It is an adventure, and I think the chickens and I could do with a little less excitement. Thankfully, this has only happened twice (2011 and now). Poor bantams are running about out there today with the least provocation; just like Chicken Little!

  4. Joanne S says:

    Wow. That is brazen behavior. Give that rooster extra feed for standing his ground and calling the hens in! Not sure I’d get that close to a hawk. Life on the farm, indeed!:D

    • Lynda says:

      Joanne, it was! He is such a plucky little bantam. He’s a black Silkie. Mostly they are just benign in the garden, but with a threat about they are fierce little fellas! I was upset, and wearing my knee high muck boots… so I wasn’t afraid, though in hindsight I perhaps should have been.

  5. Littlesundog says:

    The hawks have been relentless here this year. I see a red-tailed hawk and a coopers hawk almost daily. They take other birds usually, but I’ve seen them kill squirrels and one of our chickens this year. We haven’t seen Buddy the squirrel in many months, and I feel he fell to the hawks or possibly the foxes.

    I spend a lot of time running off hawks, foxes and coyotes here. I guess I should be thankful for the exercise! Ha ha!

  6. Playamart - Zeebra Designs says:

    O|h my! Raptors and chickens! My own neighborhood has a love-hate relationship with the raptors! I explained to them that not all raptors are chicken eaters (bantams are here too!) — that the osprey eats chickens and the Laughing Falcon only eats snakes – if possible. Just recently I showed them a photo of a Pygmy Owl with a rat … if only they would leave the chickens alone and focus on rodents!

    I am at the cyber and will read this again at home!

    • Lynda says:

      Lisa, I find the same insensibility in the folks around here. Why do they never consider the big job these animals perform when they are not eating chicken? (I am including the fox, coyote, opossum, and raccoon in that statement) In the ten years we have been here this has only happened twice. Once in 2011 and again this week. Sigh, both incidents were in January. I think this is telling me something.

      I am thinking of a way to pen the bantams in during the leafless winter season. Or maybe I will re home all the bantams and stick with the big bruisers. My other chickens are so much bigger and the hawk doesn’t seem interested in trying to eat a chicken that is three times its size! The black Cochin is 14 lbs and his fluff makes him look the 20! 😉

      I have a lot to think about and consider.

  7. shoreacres says:

    Now I’m thinking about a fourteen pound chicken. One of those babies flying would be a sight to see! And now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a chicken fly: at least, not more than a wing-fluttering hop sort of flying.

    It is interesting that your problems have popped up in January both times. I wonder if a diminished food supply sends the hawks off to look for some easier pickings, or if they simply are better able to see what’s on the buffet table when the leaves are gone. It has to be frustrating. I was interested to read that the hawks are less likely to bother the larger breeds of chickens. Somehow, I assumed that they’d take on any chicken at all. If that’s not true, a breed switch might be the answer.

    On the other hand, size matters. I’ve never seen an osprey take a full-grown duck, but even a herring gull will pluck a duckling from the water.

    • Lynda says:

      Linda, I saw one of mine (a bantam) fly all the way across the back pasture when she managed to escape from a hawk attack. The big ones can do as you say, flap and glide a ways and that is about it. As for the Baby Hueys? No. They can flap up to about a distance of 3 feet and they are done. 😉

      I think is has everything to do with increased visibility. Although that said you would think the dang squirrels would be more visible too! Grrrr…

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