Ohiofarmgirl's Adventures in The Good Land is largely a fish out of water tale about how I eventually found my footing on a small farm in an Amish town. We are a mostly organic, somewhat self sufficient, sustainable farm in Ohio. There's action and adventure and I'll always tell you the truth about farming.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hawk!

Guess who we saw checking out the chickens the other day....


If you click on the picture you can see a better close up.

Yep. There she is - a big ol' hawk sitting around looking at what is available on the chicken buffet.

I have to say that I have a love-hate relationship with hawks. I just love them... as long as they are not killing my chickens.

We have several species of hawks around here. Of course, I don't have any idea what they are... I don't even particularly like birds. We just see them all the time when we are driving around.....and you know... up in the tree by the chicken yard.


We have this big hawk (and her mate is somewhere...) who lives back more toward the woods.... and then we have smaller hawks that live mostly along the fence line on the sides of our property. We hear them all the time and see them almost every day. Remember when we saw one of the larger hawks fishing down on our pond for a snake?


Unfortunately we've lost several chickens to hawks. You can tell because the attacks are in the daytime and sometimes they only eat the heads and necks. It's very frustrating.

What can you do? Pretty much just be mad.

You can do all kinds of things like provide covered runs for the chickens but that is not practical for us. We have too large of an area to effectively cover so we rely mostly on existing cover - like the pine trees, the wisteria covered pergola, and the big grasses near the hen yards.

I used to terrorize my Audubon friends by telling the we threw sticks at the swooping hawks. That's not true, of course.... what really happens is that we've taught the dogs to sight the hawks. When they do we all go running toward the chickens. If the roosters are doing their jobs they start screaming and all the hennies run for cover. About that time me and the dogs show up and this usually scares the hawks away. After a while the hawks figure they have easier pickin's elsewhere and go and hunt in someone else's hen yard.

Having the goats with the chickens also seems to help. Or any larger poultry or livestock seem to be a deterrent. The geese are particularly helpful at screaming when hawks are around. Unfortunately the geese also shriek when the wind blows so it's kind of hard to tell what really is going on out there. Mostly tho I spend a lot of time outside. So I not only keep a weather eye to the sky, but I also keep an eye out for birds of prey.

Any body else have a big ol' hawk sitting in the tree by the henyard?

Happy Tuesday everyone!


10 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

We have hawks but the chickens are under a spreading tree that covers most of their fenced area so that it is hard for a bird to make a sneak attack. Our old rooster give a warning when large birds appear and the hens run under the coop. He is good for something other than crowing.

David said...

No henyard but we do have a suburban hawk in the 'hood. Lovely creature.

Kaela said...

We see all manner of huge birds over the farm. I totally credit our goosey quartet for keeping those preditors in the sky.

T said...

Yes! Just saw one swoop by and the mate was sitting in a tree checking out my chickens. We have lost 3 chickens to hawks in the last two years. I actually stopped a hawk in the middle of an attack twice! The chickens lived both times. We no longer have a rooster and my dog is pretty much worthless. It seems this time of year is the worse.
Tiffany

GoatMan Joe said...

Admittedly, I am a novice, recently completing my first year on the homestead....But my plan is to produce an extra 20% for losses like this. I'm only going to worry about animals that keep coming back for more, day after day.

Laura said...

Several huge red tail and red shouldered females come by every day scoping out 'lunch' - I hate them for terrorizing the hens, but I love wild birds, even raptors! Between the ravens and jays who scream when the hawks show up and our dog who detests anything that flies over his head, I can usually get out there to 'deter' the hawk (LOL). Thank god we don't have eagles!

Vera said...

No hawks although do have buzzards which fly up from the nearby mountains, but they are normally amusing themselves on the thermals. But we do have magpies and crows, which will take our chicks and young chickens, but fortunately this is only during the spring and summer, after that they go somewhere else. We do have foxes though......

Vera said...

No hawks although do have buzzards which fly up from the nearby mountains, but they are normally amusing themselves on the thermals. But we do have magpies and crows, which will take our chicks and young chickens, but fortunately this is only during the spring and summer, after that they go somewhere else. We do have foxes though......

Little Homestead In Boise said...

Have you tried hanging cds, etc. by your coop, etc? Scare them off....

ingasmile said...

Hawks, owls, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, o'possums, and snakes. It always seems to be something. Right now our target is a coyote. I have been learning to use a .22 but I can't imagine hitting a moving target just yet. He ate it right in our yard. Found all the feathers and guts.

Inga

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