We experienced our first hawk in the chicken run today on the Small House Homestead.
Our netted chicken pasture is made using greenhouse hoop and deer netting.
We had been gone to a presentation in town this morning and we returned home around noon. I headed into the house to pull lunch together that was cooking in the Crockpot and Gene heard a loud chicken ruckus. When he investigated he saw an immature Red tail Hawk on the ground in the raspberry chicken pasture area and some black feathers on the ground as well.
The girls were making an awful racket and had scattered and hid under the thorny and thick raspberries bushes that we had fenced in. We do see Red tail Hawks flying in the skies here and hear them calling to one another quite often. This was our first on the ground hawk sighting here in over a year of the new Cochin coop due to our property being surrounded by thick woods.
Raccoons have always been our main chicken predator confirming Gene belief that”A large hawk would not come down here due to the woods…. there is not enough space for a big hawk to fly in and around.” Today we learned otherwise.
We did a head count and we were very lucky that no chicken was hurt. We learned a valuable lesson today…never say NEVER. This was an immature bird and likely learning to hunt, smelled chicken and came to investigate.
One of the Rhodies playing around the new run.
We also learned that we can no longer leave the chickens out in the pasture while we are gone from home. We had been lulled into complacency. We will now have to make sure they are in the netted small run area. I am grateful we have this netted run area up and ready to use.
The gate to the netted and covered run.
The moral of this story is that no matter how prepared one is; nature is going to throw you a curve ball.
On the positive side of this lesson; the Cochin’s had been taught by their momma to be afraid of large birds (I observed this many times.) Now the Cochin’s have taught the 4-month-old Rhodies to be aware as well. I am just thankful this lesson ended up working in our favor!
Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna