Wilma The Wonder Hen Podcast

33 Hen Survives Hawk Attack! How to deter hawks, helping an injured bird, and the hot topic of free-ranging.

January 17, 2022 Melissa Season 2 Episode 33
Wilma The Wonder Hen Podcast
33 Hen Survives Hawk Attack! How to deter hawks, helping an injured bird, and the hot topic of free-ranging.
Show Notes Transcript

Today's episode we get an update on Cocoa after a hawk attack, ways to prevent hawks, and protecting your backyard flock! These tips seem simple but can be helpful. We’re going to implement several of them within our own backyard. 

Hawk's are federally protected. The best we can do is to discourage them from coming into our backyards.
Recently, several of our friends within the chicken community have lost one of their beloved pets to a hawk attack. My heart breaks for them. 

We’ve always free-ranged our flock and I share my honest opinion on the subject. 

Within this episode you’ll find tips from a local wildlife officer! 

 I’m deeply grateful that Cocoa has survived. 
We’d love to hear what tips or tricks you use to deter predators? 


Support the show

Hello, my beautiful people. Welcome back to another episode of Wilma the wonder he in today's episode is going to be a solo act. I know, I know. I'll be back next week. We have some amazing guests lined up, you'll be so excited. But today we're gonna talk about a heifer round up, like what happened? What has happened this past week? And let me tell you, most of you probably already know that we had a heart attack here on the heifer farm



Hey, y'all, I'm Mel and you're listening to Wilma, the wonder hen? Are you a chicken mama l;oving mama or daddy? Together, we'll dive into the latest poetry keeping adventures shot about everyday life with a generous mix of some hilarious stories. Bringing you fascinating interviews with poetry owners from all over, you'll find tips and basic advice from your local veterinarian, along with new chicken keeping gadgets and reviews. I'm gonna see what Mr. jangles and Wilma has to say about that

we're going to encourage and help you build a stronger, healthier flock. 


So on January 6, I was sitting on my couch and I was working on my laptop and I heard my dogs outside going off. They were outside doing their normal play thing. And they started going off. So I knew something was not right. Sorry. I ran to the front door ran to the porch, and they're down as a chicken coop in the enclosed area. A hawk was on top of Coco. At that time. I didn't know it was Coco. I didn't have any shoes on it was raining. I ran as fast as I could to get to the hawk and as I got to the gate, the hawk flew off. I opened the gate and ran inside all of the chickens were hidden. Mr. Jingles had them all up inside the coop. And it was Coco. Coco was lifeless. I mean she was not moving. Her eyes were completely closed. The hawk flew off into the walnut all that tree which is just right adjacent to the coop. So I scooped down and picked her up. I'm bawling my eyes out. I'm just crying hysterically. And I know that I could not leave her body there because the hawk wasn't going to leave. He was wanting his. He was wanting what he had tried to kill. So I picked her up and she said she was completely limp. I moved her to the front porch so I ran as far as I could to the front porch. I laid her body down there and I immediately ran back to the coop. I wanted to make sure everybody was up like there was no other injured bird anywhere and everyone was up.


 So I locked the door and I made sure everyone was fine. At this point, that is when the hawk decided to fly across the street. Now the front of my front porch is facing the street and it's like he was he was bound and determined to get Coco so ran as far as I could to where CoCo was land I picked I went down to pick her up bawling and she jumps up she jumps up and I was like you did not just jump up. I was like press

you have for you. So I finally ended up catching her she is completely disoriented but she is bringing. So that was such a relief at that point. I don't know her injuries yet. So I immediately take her into my shed which is where like my ICU my triage area for my chickens is also where I do my podcasting and we're holding a zoom meeting for my client so it's like a catch all down. So I take her inside and I turn the heater on to start warming the place up. So I have the heater running. There's an area already set up for her. We're not going to worry about any kind of food at this point. We're just going to give her water. I did a very quick check. At this point. She is in shock. You know when a hawk flies down, they are flying down so fast the impact alone can bring their spine in immediately killed them. So you know she is traumatized at this point. So I don't want to mess with her too much. The only visible thing at that time. The only visible injuries I noticed at that time was the comb her comb area that one that whole right side like her I was completely closed. Her comb did have a small laceration on it. Which combs you know if you've ever had a comb on one of your chickens, you know a small injury or a peck, they do bleed excessively. So it wasn't too concerned about that. I looked her over the best I could at that time. I didn't want to add any more stress to her. So I didn't see any broken bones or any of those things. So I put her into the kindle a turn the line out. This is what you want to do for a chicken that is either injured or in shock. You want a very dark, very quiet and a very warm, you know area. So I shut the door and I immediately came inside and I called my veterinarian because even though I didn't see any substantial wounds at that time even that comb because of the Hawk, it could have infection sent in now I did go out later and which I will explain and clean her wounds up but I wanted to call the veterinarian before it got too late. Our veterinarian is great. They explained the situation. you know I didn't see anything that needed them for stitches or any of that sort so they called in an antibiotic and injectable antibiotic twice a day for five days and pain medication. Because I'm sure she is very she was or is very very sore. So that was the best practice to get her those to help with any potential infections. So I went and picked those up and that is when I gave her a more thorough exam you know after I let her decompress a little bit and this is when I found the injury to her neck is on the same side that the eye and the calm. I did clean her up after she  calm up with some saline solution, just simple saline. There's no other ingredients but saline in it and I sprayed it down with Miko scion and I took a warm washcloth and I made sure that her eye was nice and clean on the outside, and cleaned up any blood. Like I said she did have an injury to the back of her neck. I cleaned it really well and sprayed it down. And this was 10 days ago I think and her neck is healing quite nicely. It has a scab or didn't have anything that need to be stitched but honestly I don't think that she has vision in that eye. I don't see any infection in the eye. It's not swollen, it's not red, it's not puffy but there is no her pupil. Her pupil is almost gone. So I don't think she has any sight in the eye and we're going to leave her in the spot that she is to decompress a little longer. Now she is eating and she is drinking. Not as much as say a normal chicken would she is moving around on her own. She is responding when I call her name. Coco is the oldest remaining chicken from my original thought she is the pumpkin I'm working honey.

You need to be quiet over there. No one asked you. This is not your show. Your name is not in the title says so I think I'm definitely gonna give her more time inside the kennel to decompress. I am offering poultry cell and nutrient rich. This will help fill in the gaps and nutritional gaps that she is missing by not consuming as much food as she should. She is the oldest remaining chicken that I have from my original flock. Her mother, we did have her mom initially in the very beginning. And Coco will be seven this year. So I don't know if she'll recover. But I'm thankful that she is alive. So we're just going to continue to let her stay where she is and let her tell me when she is ready to spend some time outside. And when I say outside, I'm going to put her in our maternity ward is a very safe areas and we raise our baby chicks. And this will give her time during the day to be back with her flock but not in a way to where they could bully her or pick on her. And this will take time because it was very cold right now and I don't want her out in the cold during her condition right now. So when it warms up, that is the plan is to kind of move her into increments of being outside and to see if being outside, in her natural environment will stimulate, you know, more foraging more of that normal chicken activity. You know, so that's our goal. So the hot topic. I know it's a hot topic. I know. I know it is free ranging, right free ranging. Free ranging is a very hot topic. We all have very strong opinions on it. We have always free range here. And yes, we do have a lot of predators. Here we have ground predators, like coyotes and route raccoons and bobcats and meek and stray dogs, you know. So there are a lot of ground predators and aerial predators like hawks. We've never never, I've never witnessed a hawk attack on my flock until last week, and we've been here 10 years. I didn't want them out of their run. I didn't want any part of it. None. I was like, there's no way they're ever coming out again, ever. The Hawk that attempted to murder Coco came back nearly every day every day looking for you know, another prey another treat. One time it brought two other hawks with it. There's very little coverage for protection now. So most of that coverage that the chickens were getting is gone. I received quite a few messages about you know, this is what happens when you free range. Okay, yeah, that's not helpful. We see that okay. But for us, I, I enjoy my chickens free ranging, they have learned to be hyper aware of their surroundings. To me, it's just a natural state for them to be in. It's just what we've always done here. I didn't even include the fencing the fenced area, until last year. And the reason why we included that was because my chickens were destroying my garden. They have destroyed it for years. And last year, I was like you're not doing it this year. So I gave them an enclosed area, not the run they have a coop in Iran. We have seven coop seven runs and an area aviary. Mr. jangles and his ladies are always used to free ranging always. Now my bantams other than the old English keyboard band and pn, they free range. They are currently not free ranging but they normally free range. But the other bantams they only get supervised time out only because they are not as aware of their surroundings. But Mr. jangles and his ladies over the years, it's just what they've done. They've always rearranged. We've always had so many hiding spots for them here, that it's not been an issue until now. And when that happened, I felt immediately violated. I was so angry. I think there are pros and cons to every situation. If you only free range your chickens out, you know, during supervised time, hey, that's your choice. That's your prerogative. Currently, that's the only way that I'm doing it until I figure some other things out. I don't know if I can go back to that feeling of not feeling that way. You get comfortable in a situation. And then it just takes one thing like this happens. And it kind of crushes that security. That's how you're feeling although you're not realistically secure. So this episode is not about debate of who's right and who's wrong. So here are some things that you can do to deter a hawk. There are informational articles out there that you can read and implement to deter these wild animals from killing your chickens. So they suggested a scarecrow. So build yourself a scarecrow and stick it down by your coop you can put up fake owl decoys, which we do have is actually they're actually on a pendulum type thing. So when the wind blows it looks like the hours are moving because these hawks are so smart after a couple of days if that aisle decoy is not moving is still in the same spot. Realistic pneus about it, the Hawks gonna know they suggest moving the owls around or finding an owl that moves like has motion to it. Another one was anything shiny, like CDs or brightly colored tape. Of course. aviary nadie You can cover your entire enclosure with the aviary netting not just your run, but whatever. Like in our case, we have a run, but then we have an enclosed fencing area. They suggested that I cover the entire tire fencing area. Also, they actually have music that you can buy, like the speakers that play music or sounds that are deterrent to the wild animals, the wild birds, like the hawk. So that's another thing or you can play. I know a red on there where you could just play loud music don't really know. Crows are. Crows are not fond of hawks. And usually we have a lots and lots of crows here. They don't have as much the either, so they've kind of moved on to another holler. I can see them in the distance. But they're not really hanging around here too much. But that also might be because I have the owls up investing your time in a livestock Guardian animal like a dog. We do have dogs here, but they're not really livestock Guardian dogs, that's not really their thing. So that may be something that we are looking to in the future. Not really sure yet we maybe you do all of these things, and allow them to free range. Now when this first happened, I just made them stay up until the hawk kind of Pasto you know, moved on to another area. And I've not seen the hawk in about four or five days. That's a good thing. I did let them out a couple of times now. I've stood out there with them, stood out there with them the other day, it was like 30 degrees, 28 degrees. And I stood out there with them for about five hours because I feel so bad. My words are just not used to confinement. They didn't grow up that way. And it's really hard on them. Mr. Daniels and his ladies really, really went after it. It was not good. So I did let them out. We're gonna figure out some things. I respect everyone's decision and choice on their own block. Another on the list is get yourself a rooster. Well, if you can have a rooster where you live, and we actually received some pretty snotty messages about Mr. Jangles and why he did not kill the hawk. To be fair, I don't want Mr. Jango sacrificing himself Mr. Daniels did as I had wanted, or hoped that he would have done what he had alerted and all of his ladies were up inside the coop. Now Koch, she doesn't really like to be told what to do. She doesn't really hang out with Mr. jangles. So she may have not even listened to his alert. Or she was just slower and there was actually the last one to get inside the coop. I don't want Mr. Django sacrificing himself. I don't want any of my flock to be sacrificed. In my eyes. Mr. Jangles is just as important or has as much value as my laying hens. Hmm, I don't know if some people think the laying hens are more valuable because they do lay eggs. And roosters are just things you can toss away. But for me, Mr. J ankles hold just as much value in my heart as any of my laying hens. They all mean the same. So no, I didn't want Mr Jangles to sacrifice himself. And things happen. Those are tips that you can  implement into your chicken yard and see if that helps deter some of those Hawks. Keeping bird feeders away from anywhere near your chicken coop that is also on the list. I would love to hear any suggestions that you have and what you have done to protect your backyard flock will never be 100% safe. And honestly, I do believe we will always be free range here is just what I think is best for my flock. It makes them the happiest. Yes, I'm very sad that CoCo was attacked by our heart. But I still think that free ranging is for us. We all have our own blocks and you definitely have to decide on your own. And we have some pretty amazing guests coming up this week. We just always want to encourage you to educate yourself and to figure out what works best for your flock, your situation where you live, all these different factors. You know we're not all the same, we don't all have the same situation. And we need to be respectful of each of our different values and beliefs.  Wilma The Wonder Hen where education fuels compassion. We'll see you next time bye.

Oh, Pumpkin, are you going to say goodbye? Okay, nevermind. Bye. I'm Mel and you are listening to Wilma the Wonder hand