Predators! A guest post from Cara

sharp shinned hawk


It must have been a strange sight: two women sprinting across the farm, jumping fences, and yelling at the sky. This is not the first time we’ve done this, and unfortunately it will not be the last.

Our chicks are about a month old now, which means they spend their nights inside and their days in an enclosure outside. Eventually the chicks will be free range like the rest of our chickens, but for now we like to keep them safe while they are still small.

I was near the creamery and heard a scream coming from the chick enclosure. I look up and see a hawk fly right by me carrying off one of our little barred rocks (whom I am very fond of!) Talitha was down by the house and heard the same noise as the hawk flew right passed her. We both immediately took off running screaming at the hawk and following it into our neighbor’s yard. At this point, the hawk, which I found out was a sharp-shinned hawk, dropped our little chick and flew off. We were lucky this time. The chick survived without a scratch.

But we are not always that lucky. Hawks are always lurking nearby ready to pick off our dwindling chicken population. We have come to recognize the signs of a nearby hawk: our “neighborhood watch crows” alert us if there is one nearby; and our trusty roosters will alert their hens to find cover. Even with these protectors, we still lose our beloved chickens.

There are much more advantages to this one disadvantage of free-range chickens. Our chickens are healthy and happy out exploring around the farm…but this will always be something we will have to deal with as farmers.


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