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Thread: Hawk and chicken

  1. #16
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    We have so many foxes that we can't let ours out at all.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    We have so many foxes that we can't let ours out at all.
    When we raised chickens (they left when my son went to college, and my wife switched the on farm menu to all-vegetarian), it was raccoons. We lost an occassional bird to a fox, but if you didn't have the chickens, ducks and geese locked in at nightfall and until full dawn, the 'coons ravaged them. And the lock-up better be good. A raccoon will intelligently disassemble any makeshift or vulnerable enclosure, whereas a fox pretty much requires the door to be open in order to dine.
    Last edited by Steve Demuth; 12-05-2019 at 10:36 PM.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    One of my favorite chickens was attacked by a red-tailed hawk today. I heard the commotion and ran up the hill and chased the hawk away.


    JKJ
    Watched this play out in our front yard five feet from the big picture windows that overlook our farm some years ago. Red-tail stooped onto a massive red rooster, got his talons into the birds back and tried to take off. Too much rooster for the hawk, so 30 seconds of the chicken struggling and the hawk trying to disengage his talons. Then 30 seconds more of the rooster giving as good as he got before I opened the door and the hawk took off.

    The rooster fathered many more chicks before a much bigger "bird" of prey may chicken soup of him.

    I so miss home-made chicken noodle soup. Most of the rest of what having a vegetarian head of household takes off the menu, I can take, leave, or get in an occassional dining out. There is no replacement for home made chicken noodle soup made from old chickens with home made noodles.

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    Watched this play out in our front yard ...
    I watched a hawk dive for a pet rabbit once. I had an aging pair and when one died I let the other out in the llama pasture on occasion when I was at the barn. The hawk came from a tall tree with talons in strike position. Before it struck an adult peacock maybe 20' away jumped off a stump and drove the hawk away. I was astonished. But thinking about it, the peacock is massive compared to the hawk and may have been a frightening sight to the little hawk. It's amazing how well peafowl can fly - I counted 6 wing strokes to get a big male from the ground to the barn roof, maybe 25' up. A baby can fly just a few days after hatching.

    For some reason I've lost no chickens to raccoons in the dozen+ years I've had the chickens. Maybe it's because the raccoons that come around are attracted to the peanut butter in the live traps. A friend lost about 15 chickens to some predator that was getting inside his pen and coop, he thought it was a raccoon - I set up a trap and caught a 'possum inside the coop.

    JKJ

  5. #20
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    Decades ago, before I had learned the hard lessons of just how secure a chicken coop, and pen needed to be, I heard a commotion in the henhouse on my way out to the barn, one night. I opened the door to the henhouse, and there was a 'possum sitting up on one of the roosting poles with the chickens, eating an egg. He was holding the egg in his little front paws, and doing a neat job of eating it from a hole in the top of the egg. The chickens were now very calmly roosting, right beside him.

    I didn't want to shoot a gun in there with the chickens, not knowing what the noise would do to the chickens, so I went back in the house, and came out with a baseball bat. I didn't want to hit him hard enough to make a mess, but thought surely I had hit it in the head hard enough to kill it. He fell to the ground from the roost. I decided to just leave him until the next morning, to serve him to the local vultures.

    I went out the next morning, and the 'possum was gone. That one never came back though.

  6. #21
    A feral cat got in to our baby chicks one time. He just killed each one and stacked them in a pile. I discovered him after he had killed maybe 20 chicks. I quickly left and got the .22 and went back to the chicken house. I buried the cat and the dead chicks together.

    Mike

    [We also occasionally had a snake get into the chicken house. If we had baby chicks, the snake would swallow several baby chicks whole. Other times, it would swallow several eggs whole. I understand that the snake would then wrap itself around a post and break the eggs. Never saw that but was told that (about breaking the eggs).]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 12-05-2019 at 9:24 PM.
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  7. #22
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    Yeah, I have seen possums "roosting" with the chickens on cold nights, and they stole eggs from time to time. I can't bring myself to kill a 'possum, though. They just seem so damned innocent to me. They come up and steal the cats food all the time, if we don't make sure the dish is inside or empty at night. The other night I went out to get the cat's dish, reached into the cat hut blind, and grabbed a possum by the nose. Fortunately, he was a startled as me, and didn't bite.

    If they get to a big problem, I just poke 'em, they go dead (play 'possum") and I carry them out into the woods and let 'em go.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Henderson View Post
    [We also occasionally had a snake get into the chicken house. If we had baby chicks, the snake would swallow several baby chicks whole. Other times, it would swallow several eggs whole. I understand that the snake would then wrap itself around a post and break the eggs. Never saw that but was told that (about breaking the eggs).]
    And skunks. Skunks love a baby chick or fresh egg.

    All reasons the coop had to be locked up by dusk.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    I watched a hawk dive for a pet rabbit once. I had an aging pair and when one died I let the other out in the llama pasture on occasion when I was at the barn. The hawk came from a tall tree with talons in strike position. Before it struck an adult peacock maybe 20' away jumped off a stump and drove the hawk away. I was astonished. But thinking about it, the peacock is massive compared to the hawk and may have been a frightening sight to the little hawk. It's amazing how well peafowl can fly - I counted 6 wing strokes to get a big male from the ground to the barn roof, maybe 25' up. A baby can fly just a few days after hatching.

    For some reason I've lost no chickens to raccoons in the dozen+ years I've had the chickens. Maybe it's because the raccoons that come around are attracted to the peanut butter in the live traps. A friend lost about 15 chickens to some predator that was getting inside his pen and coop, he thought it was a raccoon - I set up a trap and caught a 'possum inside the coop.

    JKJ
    Your peacock story brings to mind the way our llamas protect sheep against coyotes. They don't actually have to do anything - they just live out with the sheep, and when anything they don't recognize comes into the pasture, walk deliberately toward it, and it freaks the predator out.

    But raccoons - man. Smart, charming, and infuriatingly destructive. One night years ago I was wakened by a banging in the bedroom window. A racoon kit was clinking to screen with his claws stuck, just shaking it back and forth. I went out to knock him off, found his mama sitting in a walnut tree, 15' up, pulling a hummingbird feeder hung by a rope up hand over hand. She just calmly finished retrieving it and started licking sugar water out of it, right in the center of my flashlight beam.

    Had another one, back when we had a goose sitting a clutch, dug under the batten foundation of the building the goose was sheltered in, made a hole in the bottom of the nest, and rolled almost the entire clutch of half-incubated eggs out from under the sitting goose. Broken eggs and half eaten embryos all over the yard the next morning, and the goose still sitting, on one lone egg.

    If there is a meal to be had at a farmers expense, a raccoon will figure out how to get it.

  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Demuth View Post
    Yeah, I have seen possums "roosting" with the chickens on cold nights, and they stole eggs from time to time. I can't bring myself to kill a 'possum, though. They just seem so damned innocent to me. They come up and steal the cats food all the time, if we don't make sure the dish is inside or empty at night. The other night I went out to get the cat's dish, reached into the cat hut blind, and grabbed a possum by the nose. Fortunately, he was a startled as me, and didn't bite.

    If they get to a big problem, I just poke 'em, they go dead (play 'possum") and I carry them out into the woods and let 'em go.
    Yeah, we have possums here. They're pretty harmless - they're nature's garbage men. Every now and then the dog will catch one (especially little ones) but I always collect and release. The dog doesn't try to kill them. He just collects them and brings them to me. He seems to hold them gently in his mouth. Kind of strange but I'm glad he doesn't kill them.

    Here's a picture of my wife holding a little one in her hands. The dog had brought him to me. You can see his fur is wet from the dog's mouth. They're really cute.

    Mike

    Possum.jpg
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 12-06-2019 at 9:17 PM.
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  11. #26
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    A few years ago my wife decided she wanted to feed the local birds especially during the winter months. About 2 years into it, during the winter once in a while I'd see a hawk nail a bird from the feeder. Then the following spring it became a regular event. One night sitting on the patio swing, she and I saw one dive, drive a bird to the ground, reposition it's grasp and take it for dinner. A few weeks later the youngest son and his wife were visiting. Sitting at the dining room table I told the son about the hawk harvesting birds from the feeder. While we were sitting there talking about it, a hawk did, in fact, harvest a finch. My son and I teased my wife on how the hawks really appreciated her luring the small birds to make the hawks hunts easier. When the large bag of bird seed was emptied, she removed the feeder and gave up the hobby.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 12-06-2019 at 1:01 AM.
    Ken

  12. #27
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    If you have horses, opossums are not exactly harmless. They are the only carriers of EPM. We have 150 acres of woodland, they are welcome to stay there, in complete freedom. Once they start coming to the barn, or the yards, they don't stop coming back, and crap all over everywhere, like smaller rodents do, only more productive. Vultures have to eat too.

  13. #28
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    Opossums are important creatures...our only marsupial in North America and they are gentle, voracious consumers of ticks and other nasty things. Yea, they might want a nice egg meal occasionally if one keeps chickens and other fowl (something that can largely be guarded against), but they are worthy members of the local ecosystem.
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Opossums are important creatures...our only marsupial in North America and they are gentle, voracious consumers of ticks and other nasty things. Yea, they might want a nice egg meal occasionally if one keeps chickens and other fowl (something that can largely be guarded against), but they are worthy members of the local ecosystem.

    Don't ask a Kiwi what they think about possums. Drivers there will swerve across the road to hit one should it crawl out on the road.
    Ken

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    Decades ago, before I had learned the hard lessons of just how secure a chicken coop, and pen needed to be, I heard a commotion in the henhouse on my way out to the barn, one night. I opened the door to the henhouse, and there was a 'possum sitting up on one of the roosting poles with the chickens, eating an egg. He was holding the egg in his little front paws, and doing a neat job of eating it from a hole in the top of the egg. The chickens were now very calmly roosting, right beside him.

    I didn't want to shoot a gun in there with the chickens, not knowing what the noise would do to the chickens, so I went back in the house, and came out with a baseball bat. I didn't want to hit him hard enough to make a mess, but thought surely I had hit it in the head hard enough to kill it. He fell to the ground from the roost. I decided to just leave him until the next morning, to serve him to the local vultures.

    I went out the next morning, and the 'possum was gone. That one never came back though.
    I always found opossums to be indiscriminate killers. We had more that one decimate our henhouse when I was a kid. We'd follow the feather trail back to the tree they were nesting in and extract them from their lair with buckshot. A ball bat just make them curl up and play dead. I was raised to be a live and let live guy (and still am), but on the farm two critters were exterminated with extreme prejudice: Rats and 'Possums.
    Last edited by Rob Luter; 12-06-2019 at 1:39 PM.
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