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AlisonH

Bird of prey stalking chickens?

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A kestrel or it might have been a sparrow hawk (they look very similar in my bird book) has just landed on my garden fence right next to where my chooks were FR. The chickens went mad, stretched up look their biggest and Lottie made a run for it across the grass towards the run but fortunately the bird just sat and watched - it could have been after the pigeons that are around at the moment but it was a bit worrying.

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If it was a female Sparrowhawk (they are bigger than males) she could quite easily go for a bantam although they do tend to go for Sparrows, blackbirds or Starlings. The females can tackle a pigeon quite easily (they are not much smaller than a small bantam). It depends on opportunity and need whether she would tackle a hen though it is fairly unlikely.

 

I had a Sparrowhawk strike a few weeks ago and my bantams actually witnessed the attack and partial defeathering of a pigeon in my garden. I was kind of reasuring she didn't go for one of my bantams although they were very quick to run under a bush and stay there until it was all over. They were a little shocked afterwards. :shock:

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I have had a sparrowhawk visit our garden of late and it has been hunting young birds and pigeons are a popular target especially for the females. At this time of year with family to feed it has worked out which neighbours feed the birds and targets those gardens quite successfully. I have seen it kill a pigeon and a starling next to the run and the hens were alarmed initially but did settle down. I could see chicks being a target or possibly small bantams, but hybrids I would think unlikely to be at risk.

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When I had my gingernut rangers, a sparrowhawk was trying to catch something in my garden and was circling a kind of pom-pom shaped pyracantha, and then landing on the fence of the chicken area. This freaked the 2 girls out and then they ran around panicking. In the end one of them went up the ladder and hid in the egg port.

The sparrowhawk flew away in the end empty handed.

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Hi this is something I have had concerns about. We have regular visits from a sparrowhawk who has taken a few collared doves from our garden over the last couple of years. They do tend to visit the same areas for food. Talking to a chicken breeder the other day who suggests that bantams could be at risk but larger birds should be ok. Hope she's right, gulp!

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During the Easter holidays I went into the garden because the chickens were making a terrible row. I could see a bird of some sort sitting under the mountain ash on the soil watching them - I thought it was a wood pigeon, but couldn't work out why the chickens were reacting so loudly. It turned out to be a sparrow hawk - it wasn't particularly bothered about me being there either. The oldest hen, Martha, gained a bit of confidence because I was in the garden, and went and squawked at the hawk, and it flew off. I didn't get the impression that the chickens were really at risk though.

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We regularly have a sparrowhawk visit our garden. It sits waiting for the voles to come out. I watched it last week and the girls shooed it away when they saw it and it took off. I don't think that they are at risk as they are larger birds but I have seen it take a blackbird which was almost as big as it was. It was a struggle but it killed it. I would worry about it if you have anything that size or smaller.

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We also have a visiting Sparrowhawk, the girls go mental when they see it. I always get the feeling it's just checking to see if I've left any chicks out free ranging. There are a lot of birds of prey around here, yesterday as I was sat in the garden I was watching a Red Kite circling high up above.

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