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SF Pet Chicken Meetup Group Message Board › Hawk attack!

Hawk attack!

Alisa R.
user 11035385
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 1
We live north of the panhandle and have had our chickens roaming the yard free during the day for several months (they spend the night in a very secure coop and hen house). Yesterday, while I was in the yard, a hawk swooped down and tried to carry off one of our chickens. It was very shocking! Our chicken will survive, with some nasty scratches that the vet took care of, but now we need to figure out how to keep our three hens safe in the yard.

Has anyone else had trouble with hawks? Any advice?

Alisa
swimmy44
Swimmy44
Oakland, CA
Post #: 13
Put a roof on the coop and lock them up and get mostly dark colored chickens - the hawks are attracted to the lighter ones and will always go for a white or light bird before a brown one. I used to live in the country and had an Australian Cattle Dog who once grabbed a bird back from a hawk as it was taking off with it - the bird weighed about 4 lbs at the time - it was a big red tailed hawk - my dog ripped it out of the talons of the hawk who went up to a near by tree - if looks could kill, my dog would have been dead!!! The bird survived with a few ruffled feathers. I wish I had a video camera - my dog must have leaped six feet up to grab that bird - she was very protective of the poultry.
Mary
user 9163133
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 18
I'm in the Mission and we had a hawk on the phone wires a couple of weeks ago. We have an enclosed run, but they have access to an outdoor area as well. That area has 7' "ceiling" made of deer fencing, a vary flexible plastic material. No birds, cats, racoons can get through it. This way they can be in or out and still safe while I'm at work. They also have access to more of the yard without the "ceiling" but only when I'm out there.

I've seen many hawks on Bernal Hill and figured sooner or later we'd see one. Glad your girl is OK! What a frightening thing to have happen.
Courtney
user 9026668
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 16
We are North of the Panhandle too and have had hawks visit us three times this year, most recently December 5th. That time our two chickens were just outside of their daytime coop and we were about 5 feet away. Brazen but, I think, the hawk was young. Might have been the same one that made an attempt on our chickens back in September -- the chickens were inside the daytime coop, protected behind hardware cloth, so I don't know why the hawk didn't see that.

Our daytime coop is an A-frame style referred to as a "chicken tractor" or an "ark". It doesn't have a floor so they can scratch the ground but it protects them from flying predators. Easy to build and portable. I can move it around the yard by myself because it's just enough space for two birds. The larger it is, the heavier it'll be unless you put wheels on it.

Courtney

gina
GinanScott
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 6
We live in Corona Heights and when we free range our chickens we immediately notice hawks overhead (within 5 minutes). Our solution was to build a very large fenced in run (large enough even for me to stand up in) so they can be out during the day and not have to worry about hawks. Once or twice I swear I've seen hawks in the yard though, probably trying to figure out how they can get into the run. We have dogs but they are not protective of the hens at all.
Alisa R.
user 11035385
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 2
These are all really helpful replies. Thanks! We do have a covered coop (with built-in raised henhouse) that is 8 ft x 4 ft. Our three chickens have been spending most of the time in here since the hawk attack. The bottom is covered with straw, though, so not much fun for them. I think I will also build a little tractor so that I can give them protected access to different parts of the yard.

Thanks, again, for the useful comments and ideas.

Alisa
Courtney
user 9026668
San Francisco, CA
Post #: 17
I just have to add, the movable tractor is great for getting them to concentrate on eating weeds and turning up the soil making it easier for me to remove oxalis bulbs.
Courtney
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