As I was driving down the road this morning, I saw a massive red-shouldered hawk take flight and powerfully flap its wings as it flew along the road ahead of me and just above the treeline. I quickly realized it had just been in a tree within a hundred yards of my chicken coop, scoping out my hens to see which would make a tasty chicken dinner.
It's November, and the time of year that we have often lost a chicken or two to hawks - possibly this very same hawk, as he looked well-fed, mature, and large enough to at least attempt to make off with a full-grown hen. It's also the time of year that everything from fisher cats to raccoons to weasels are starting to get hungry, and looking to fortify themselves with whatever food is handy - and often, poultry look like an easy meal.
I put together some tips on keeping your chickens, turkeys, ducks and other poultry safe from predators. I hope those baby chicks you've nurtured into lovely young pullets begin laying very soon, and that they all stay safe from potential predators.