Preface: this is an angry vent / sad post about stupid, mean hawks.
I’m sitting on my couch, scheduling appointments for the day because I’m not feeling well when all the sudden I hear chickens screaming and running toward a corner of the chicken yard. I put everything down, run for the bedroom and grab the shotgun, then run outside to the chicken yard. As soon as I get half way through the chicken yard, I see a hawk fly off into the thick of the trees. I shoot at him, only to miss (of course). But typically this is all I have to do, then they go away and find an easier, quieter, not-as-difficult-to-get meal. So I look down and see one of my friend’s RIR and my Blue taking cover under some brush, but only five feet from them, I see one of my female Brahma’s laying on the ground. I walk over to her, and she moves her head.
She’s alive! I saved a bird! ME, Kallie, without Dale, was able to intervene and save a bird from dying! I felt like such a hero. So, shaking, I pick her up, and start talking to her with a calming voice. I knew she’d be in shock. There were feathers everywhere, but she wasn’t bleeding upon first glance. I looked her over, pulled her wings out, and found a little bit of blood, thinking the hawk had just started pulling her feathers out. So I brought her in, put her in my sink (which, now that I’m writing this, remember I need to clean it. Luckily it just happened 30 min ago), and started cleaning her up. Turns out I was right that the hawk had just started ripping her feathers out, as she had a huge clot of blood above her right wing, and a little bit of blood under her left ear. I called my husband and until now I’ve been strong. I started telling him what happened and of course I start crying, freaking out, as I see the Brahma’s not holding her wing against her body. Her right wing is broken. Dale calms me down and says she will live but she will have to be harvested when the time comes. I was afraid he was going to tell me that I would have to kill her right there in the kitchen sink. I got off the phone with him and looked out the kitchen window, only to hear and see more commotion. I run back down to the chicken yard, Brahma in one arm, shotgun in the other. I place her inside the coop so she’d be safe and could roost up (although, she can’t jump – duh, Kallie). I run around the back of the chicken yard where the trees are dense and finally see the hawks broad white chest in the sun. I shoot at him, it’s all I can do. He wasn’t scared away from the first time I shot at him, and my babies were under attack. I, of course, didn’t get him but he did fly off. My husband is good with the .22, but I unfortunately, would not be able to aim under that kind of stress, whether the bird was moving or not. So that’s why I use the shotgun. I back away and go to count all the birds, checking the coops and whatnot. One of my friend’s RIR decided to hide under some VERY thorny vines, which was very smart of her, but also not smart because she was NO WHERE NEAR the rest of the flock. (not the best picture as I was still shaking)
And I think one other chicken was hiding somewhere because I only counted 22, when we have 23. That’s when I see the crows attacking the hawks. Yes, I said hawks. Plural. I look up to see 3 or 4 crows trying to tackle three hawks. THREE! I knew in that moment that we were losing a bird tonight. We haven’t yet, but I have those dang doctor appointments. The hawks were persistent. The crows couldn’t fight them off this time. The hawks circled around and flew to some nearby trees where I couldn’t see them. They proceeded to call to me, telling me to go away so they could eat. Even now, over an hour since the incident, our poor birds are still in hiding. I wish they knew to go into the coop. I wish I could gather them up and place them in the coop so they would be safe. But they are just birds. And hawks are just a part of the process of owning chickens. It’s the unfair circle of life. It sucks to raise chickens, just to see something else slaughter and eat them up and leave the remains for me to clean up. I’m grateful that I was able to save that Brahma, although her life is significantly shorter still, but I prayed so hard that God would just watch over the chickens – and Georgia. I won’t be able to protect them today, because of my appointments. I’m just hoping that the four times I shot the shotgun was enough to scare them away for at least a little while – and that it didn’t ruin my hearing! What sucks the most about this is that I’m home alone. I’m only one person, with bad aim, and even worse at dealing with death.
My message to the dang hawks: go after the stupid rat in the shed on the other side of our property!