Princess vs. Hawk

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As I have stated before we are having a bit of a hawk problem.  There are several red hawks that have made our back woods their permanent home.  We have had one close encounter that we know of, and they are always swooping and tormenting us with their screeches.

After my first shift as night baylor, I came home in the morning and slept on the couch.  After a few minutes the dogs woke me up barking their tails off because the goats escaped and were up on the deck staring into the kitchen.  After corralling them back into their pen and make shift repairing the fence, I sleepily came back in and fell back asleep on the couch.

All of the sudden I hear this soul piercing chicken screams.  I jumped up off the couch and raced outside to find the girls huddled under the deck terrified scream exploding out of their beaks.  I ran into the yard and a few feet away came face to face with a red hawk and a limp ball of grey feathers at his feet, Princess.

In all my redheaded fury, I dug down deep and ran head down towards the hawk, determined to put an end to their torture of my girls.  He of course haughtily  flew off when I was within reach.

At my feet was a pitiful ball of fluff.  I didn’t exactly want to see Princess disemboweled so I turned to go back into the house.

After an hour passed and I was on strict hawk patrol in the yard, I again glanced at the carcass of Princess.  At that moment, she sprung into the air and landed on her feet.  Completely surprised I ran over to her.  Princess was ever so slowly walking in drunken lines.

I gently corralled her into the coop and wondered out loud if she should now be called Lazarus, the man that was raised from the dead by Jesus.  She eventually nestled down into pine straw in the woods and sat perfectly still for hours.

I am not sure if she was knocked out by the blow of the hawk or she played dead, but whatever her survival techniques were, they worked.  However, this is the end of free range days for my girls.  It is no longer worth the risk of the gruesome death they will encounter if the hawk nabs one of them.  Hubby and I are going to build a few chicken tunnels and a bigger run for them so they will have more space in their new imprisonment.

When I got home from work this morning there were two hawks sitting on the ground looking at the girls in their locked coup.  The hawks better be glad it is against the law to kill them, because they would definitely have been sent to hawk hell by now.

The rain is pouring in heavy sheets today on the homestead, the girls are angry about being stuck in their coup, but at least they are safe.

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Until next time…

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3 thoughts on “Princess vs. Hawk

  1. I feel the same as you when I spy our local sharp-shinned hawk watching the birds feeding at my deck! Sadly, hawks be hawks — and songbirds & clucks be tasty. It is sad you can’t let the girls free range — perhaps you can build a run w/ protective wire over the top…? ($$ *wince*). It’s rough when something gets your hens. It’s been some 30 years since we had chickens and goats in our back yard in a little town on the Tennessee Cumberland Plateau… but my gut still remembers the trauma I felt when a weasel found its way into our coup and wantonly slaughtered 7 of our 9 Black Australorps.
    We’ve had red-shouldered hawks nesting in our woods for several years, but they leave our songbirds alone — preferring our abundant squirrels, I think.
    PS- Your rainy-day remark reminds us of the original meaning of “couped up.”

    • We are working on some options, but as you know chicken coops are not cheap! That is terrible about the weasel, its pretty amazing how creative predators can be when they are driven by hunger. Thank you for your input, have a great weekend!

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