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!