After living in our house for over 3 years, we never had one single hawk attack until recently. We’re not sure, but we believe that it is just one who continues to come back looking for its next meal.
Our chicken area is under tree cover and our birds are mostly various shades of black, brown, red, etc. They pretty much blended in with their surroundings, even when the trees were bare. So we’ve never had a problem. We used to let them have use of just about the whole property, but as our organic produce offerings grew, we had to section them off.
Our first hawk attack happened on just a regular day. I looked out the window as I often do and saw a strange bird perched on the coop. I went into the kitchen and upon further inspection I instantly knew that this bird was a hawk. I then had the sad realization and sinking feeling that we probably lost some birds.
I immediately went outside to asses the damage and once I got closer the hawk turned its entire head around to stare at me. It was eerie and fascinating at the same time. It then flew into a nearby tree.
I was definitely too late. It had attacked one of our newest birds. We raised this bird from a chick, but it, along with its siblings were just integrated into the flock. This new batch of birds are mostly white with a few brown feathers here and there. We think their coloring allowed the hawk to see them as literal fresh meat. I was so sad!
Thankfully, my son came home at that exact moment and rushed out to see what happened after he heard my screams. He then put all the chickens into a caged area that we normally have at the ready for meat birds who have reached their harvest. I didn’t want to lock them up, but they were safe.
Fast forward to the second hawk attack….we were outside working and decided to let the chickens roam. We both went inside and thought the birds would be safe for a little bit, but almost immediately there was a commotion and this time the hawk took out one of our original layers! I was just so angry! I posted up with a bebe gun at the ready to dispose of the bird the minute it came back. I didn’t know it at the time, but hawks are protected by federal law. So it was a good thing that the bird never returned.
There was one more attack, this time on a rooster. I am happy to say that he is fine, but as you can imagine to keep the birds safe they have been on lock down. If you follow our Facebook page then you’ve seen the work being done to ensure the safety of our birds. We know other farmers who free range their birds and as such thought we were safe. In actuality, it seems that we have been very fortunate to have not suffered a hawk attack before now.
We have some really good friends who raise chickens as well and they gave us some wonderful advice about how to protect our birds. Since this happened I’ve spent some time thinking about hawks and really whether it’s one or four, they’re just doing what their God given instincts tells them…..hunt and eat!
The layers were already getting a new coop. We just had to revamp it and make sure it included aerial cover. The sad thing is that they don’t like being cooped up so they’ve almost just about stopped laying eggs. They’re just not getting the sunlight they need and being in a new surrounding is stressful to them.
The good news is that our projects are nearing completion. The coops and runs are in their final stages and this means all birds will get back to what they do best. Work should be completed this weekend! Then everyone, including us can enjoy fresh eggs again! Well we hope……you guys know our chickens are pampered and so they may hold a slight grudge.