It’s a bird-eat-bird world

The CE and I were having lunch downtown the other day when three aging hippies singing “Imagine” and carrying a “War Is Not The Answer” banner walked past.

My chickens just want peace! (image from commentnation.com)

I wish I’d gotten a phone number because I would like to hire them to stage an hourly parade in the chicken yard. Why? Because when I let Hope and the chicks out of the pen for a walkabout in the chicken yard Saturday morning, we had an unannounced and unwelcome visitor. Hope saw it first and sounded the alarm – she let out a squawk, the chicks scattered for cover and I looked up to see a young red-tailed hawk perched on a branch overlooking the chicken yard.

He looked just like this! (image from redtailnest.blogspot.com)

I yelled and carried on while he gazed inscrutably at the crazy women flailing her arms at him. Twenty-or-so seconds into my anti-hawk dance he tired of the entertainment and flew off.

But he will be back. In fact, as I type this, I can hear the kirrrree-kirrreee-kirrreee call of a hawk circling our property.

I herded Hope and the chicks into the coop and commenced, yet again, to research the subject of hawks and chickens, hoping to find a magic bullet answer to the predatory problem.

Did you know that crows will attack chickens, too? (image from anooshafaheem.wordpress.com)

Speaking of bullets, I learned, by the way, that it is illegal to kill a hawk – or a crow, for that matter. They are included in a very lengthy avian list(http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/RegulationsPolicies/mbta/mbtandx.html)  protected under the Migratory Bird Act of 1918. Since we have crows and hawks on our property 365 days a year, I am a bit skeptical as to the migratory nature of these creatures, but it is the law of the land.

After the MBA passage, all waterfowl hunters were required to purchase this stamp, the proceeds from which purchase wetlands for wildlife protection. (image from gravesfa.org)

Poor little Luna is prime hawk-bait

A hawk will readily attack a bird up to twice its size, so even Hope and Autumn are at risk. As I stated in the earlier post, a rooster is the best defense against a hawk, but I fear angry neighbors even more than the hawk, so, sadly, no roosters will be roosting in our coop.

Some chickenkeepers use fishing line as a hawk deterrent, creating an “invisible” fence or even hanging CD’s from it, which, as they dangle and reflect light, are thought to keep hawks at bay. Another option is poultry netting.

These folks have strung a serious fishing-line hawk barrier (image from crippledcollie.com/wordpress/)

Poultry netting is another way to go - I would love a canpy of it over the Chicken Kingdom. (image from flatcreekfarm.blogspot.com)

The challenge, of course, is that the sky is big and the hawks are hungry and there’s only so much we humans can do to thwart their efforts. The only place the chickens are truly safe is in the pen and the coop, but girls just want to have fun and they love their free-range time.

Lucy would like to take her chances with the hawk, but we all know she's just a bird-brain.

Like the peaceable paraders downtown, I just wish everyone could get along. But changing hawk nature (or, for that matter, human nature) is not a likely outcome.

Little Pippa's feathered feet are not likely to out-run a hawk

Thus, it looks like the chicks will be cooped up for the holiday, but hopefully the rest of you are happily celebrating your freedom. Happy 4th, and peace out!

Even the caged bird has a happy 4th!

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Poultry, Annoyances of Life, Chicken Facts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It’s a bird-eat-bird world

  1. A says:

    wish we could eradicate hawks AND insects. mosquito’s are eating us all alive. but life is good! Happy Independence Day!!!!

  2. phyllis gutsche says:

    Have a tribe of hungry oldsters over and the hawks will fly away in fear of being devoured by the white hair hungry guests. What wonderful Fourth pics. Even Birdie made the blog!

  3. Hiroko says:

    I wish I had seen Hawks before my bun got killed and half eaten. I have a small bush of bamboos and sometimes hear small birds scream and fly away. Now I know that it was a Hawk. Two days after my bun was eaten, I was at the deck in my backyard, and again the small birds got crazy. I looked up and there was a big bird with big wings flying among the small birds. It was dark, but I saw the Hawk. The bun was my BF’s favorite, and he was so smart, friendly, and adorable. I cannot let my buns out anymore. I am thinking about netting some areas of my yard so that my bun can hop around. And next weekend, my BF, his dad, our neighbors and I plan to cut all the bamboos in the backyard.

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