Lesson 1238 – Those darn, darn birds of prey

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. Yesterday morning, as I was walking by a window, I saw and heard a great commotion with our chickens. Wings were flapping and the birds were sending out a clear distress signal.

I saw a massive bird on the ground attacking one of our birds.

Oh no! I ran outside and was able to scare what turned out to be an adult red-tailed hawk into flight. Although there were chicken feathers all over the ground, that hawk was not able to grab a chicken. (But he sure tried his hardest.)


This is what you call a near-miss.

This is what you call a near miss.

It took me close to an hour to round up the flock and replace them into the coop. Even the most timid ones allowed me to pick them up and coo my reassurance. Those girls were scared!

So, not only do we have our neighborhood peregrine falcons, but now the red-tails are back. I wasn’t kidding when I had said that it looked like our yard was turning into an all-night diner.

Which all means we have to do something very soon to save our chickens.

I’ve seen those “chicken tunnels” all over the internet recently and while they may look like a good idea, it’s not for us for several reasons:

  • I don’t want our yard to look like a Chuck E. Cheese with all those “kiddy” tunnels
  • I have some larger birds and our tunnels would need to be taller than a sheet of chicken wire bent over.
  • But most importantly, for us, we need a place where our chickens can immediately go to for protection. I don’t want them all having to scurry for one entrance.

What we’ve decided to do is build low platforms using lumber and chicken wire. Very easy – we’re essentially going to build a frame and then staple the wire on top leaving the sides open. Using our best camo-skills we’ll then cover the top with leaves and brush.

I’m not quite sure of the size yet, but we’re planning on having three “panic room” strategically placed in our yard. One near the coop entrance, one in the penned in dog area and one near the back corner of our property. If the locations aren’t the best, we’ll just pick them up and move them. I’m hoping that this solution will give our chickens a bit of a fighting chance against our neighborhood bullies.

I’ll keep you posted.


Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under All things chickens, chicken care, Chicks

2 responses to “Lesson 1238 – Those darn, darn birds of prey

  1. pamladds

    We have many predator birds (I live in NEK, VT and it is pretty wild up here) and never lost a bird (touching wood, not tempting fate etc) Partly because we have lots of bushes and small trees and hedges. Hawks and other raptors do not appear to like diving into an obstructed area. I see them circle but they look for a clear landing and runway. My neighbor with a wide open space has been “robbed”. We do of course get visits from foxes, fishers and coyotes but they are mostly nocturnal and the girls are well fastened in at night. We have been lucky during the day, probably because we are out there a lot gardening.

  2. Marcia

    Hi Wendy. I have an unsightly 1970’s motor home that “got left behind” by my brother (now deceased), but it has been the best protector of my flock. They love to hang out underneath it on a hot summers’ day, as it provides a cool, dark place for them to rest safely. They have dust bath holes that they bury themselves in, plus they are protected from the aerial predators. I have a love/hate relationship with the giant motor home, but while it is parked on my property, I think the good far outweighs the bad. I have no plans to have it moved anytime soon. Maybe I’ll roll out the awning this summer and place a couple of folding camp chairs under it – ha!

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