Having chickens makes me look at wildlife a bit differently. Two years ago, I would have been thrilled to have a hawk hanging out in my back yard. It would have been a treat to get to see a bird of prey on a regular basis. And if I got to watch a hawk pluck his breakfast from yard, it would have caused elation. What a neat sight! What a powerful creature.
Here’s the monkey-wrench in my admiration of this powerful bird: we have chickens. Hawks eat chickens. This hawk made meals out of our chickens. This first happened when I was on my way out the door. I saw the hawk leaving our front yard with a chicken in it’s talons. I was a little conflicted, it was neat to see the hawk, but I had a bit more negative emotions about the demise of one of our new 16 chicks. It was one of the Easter Eggers. One less blue egg laying bird.
Being that this was our first fatality with all of our new batch of 16, I took this loss in stride. What I did not take in stride is coming out a few mornings later to see this hawk perched on the outside of the coop causing my girls to cackle in fear. I was able to grab a picture as he flew away.
A few days later, he got another young Easter Egger, and that afternoon he picked off another Easter Egger, right in front of my husband. Now we’d had it.
Before this point, we had the little girls free ranging and the big girls in the coop and run. They shared the coop which was separated by a fence. They were getting used to each other so that when they were fully integrated, the little girls would not be too bullied by the big girls.
We decided to integrate them fully. This was a little earlier than we had first anticipated, but only by about a week. So we took down the divider, and everything went fine. The little girls would have more places to hide and not as much opportunity to be out in the open as they had when they were free ranging. We thought this would make out hawk problem go away. It did not.
Within a few days, this same old stupid stinky hawk (see how my view on the creature has changed) came down and killed my one and only Buff Orpington. I was not happy (I’m still not fully over it). So we covered the pen with netting. There are a few spots that are open, but we have not seen the hawk since we made this enclosure. I’m crossing my fingers that this works. I’m also looking for a solution, so that we can move the girls into our portable fencing so they can do the fall clean up on my garden! I will keep you updated.