Friday, November 12, 2010

Chicken Hawk Attack!

This morning I was upstairs in the house when I heard the guineas screaming.  They always scream, no big deal.  If the wind blows a leaf up off the ground near them, they scream.  If we move suddenly around them, they scream.  I hardly notice their screams anymore.  They "cry wolf" all the time over nothing.

But this morning, the roosters started screaming, too.  Uh oh.  There's wasn't a scream, but an alert noise.  I've always called it a rooster "horn noise".  It goes "Honk! Honk!" And the roosters' cries were as loud as the guineas' screams. Uh oh!  Emergency!  Our roosters never "cry wolf" when there's not something going down.

Redtail hawk picture from Wikipedia

I came running downstairs and met Randy by the front door. He was in the kitchen and heard the screams and was heading out. We ran outside, heard all the screams from the guineas, but no guineas were in sight!  As we ran towards the noise we saw two huge red-tailed hawks right on top of a group of bushes.  They are commonly called chicken hawks. They both saw us and reluctantly flew away, across the open field.  I did not get any pictures of them.

Here's the Wikipedia page on Red-Tailed hawks:

The guineas were all hiding under bushes below where the hawks were, still screaming their guinea screams.  They refused to leave the safety of the bushes.  They were quite upset.  I counted only 7 light colored guineas and the 2 dark ones.  We have 8 and 2, not 7 and 2.  One of the light ones may be missing, or it may have been hiding.  I hope it was just hiding.  The guineas have spent the last few hours after the hawks left near the bushes.  They will not go out in the open now.  Better safe than sorry.  The guineas' feathers were all flat during the attack, they looked so small.   I guess the male guineas don't fight during an attack, their instinct is to hide.  They flatten their feathers to look smaller, I guess.

Immediately after the attack I checked the chickens.  They were totally safe, as their pen now has a roof.  But they don't know they are safe.  The hens were all hiding under bushes in the pen.  The roosters were standing out in the open, feathers fluffed up making them appear huge, ready to attack if a hawk came near.  Roosters are supposed to attract the predator towards them and fight to save the flock, giving their life if they have to, while the hens are supposed to hide.  Good boys.  I love roosters, they are so brave for their flock.  The roosters stopped their "horn" noises when I showed up.  When the hens saw me they all came running to me, forgetting about the possible attack, looking for treats.  The roosters still looked to the air, ready to fight.

Stay safe, guinea flock!   


Nicolezmomma said...

I have not written much, but I really do enjoy your guinea stories and your blog.

Gail said...

That is too close of a call for me. Hope your missing one is just hiding.

Got that top on just in time.

Dog Trot Farm said...

Oh I do hope you find your sweet little guinea safe and sound. I do know exactly what you mean by the "honking" sound. I swear sometimes my girls "honk" just to see how fast I come a running!

Terry said...

Yikes! Thank goodness you came running. You probably saved some guinea lives. I hope the missing one turns up soon.

Chai Chai said...

Excellent well written post, I learn something about chickens and guineas almost every time I visit your site.

I love how your girls trust you so much they run out to you. I can just imagine the noise going on at your place.

Hope your missing guinea was just hiding out.

Verde Farm said...

Oh I hope the guinea shows up!! Maybe it just got separated? Those darn chicken hawks!

Kessie said...

Oh no! I hope you have all your guineas! Did you find any feather-craters? When a hawk gets a bird, they explode and feathers go everywhere, so if they got a guinea, there should be some feathers.

And I know that sound that roosters make. It sounds like they're saying, "Hawk! Hawk!"

Foothills Poultry said...

I hope the missing one shows up.

Most of my roosters are worthless cowards when it comes to hawks. They will run over the hens to get to the sheltered places first. My Dutch hens, however, turn into fierce 1 pound battle birds. They are always ready for a fight. Luckily they are also extremely fast.


WeldrBrat said...

Gosh, I hope you find the missing one. Thanks for sharing. This is the first encounter I've actually read about. We've limited our birds to our fenced-in garden for space to roam - outside their chicken tractor and adjoining yard to their coop. But our reasons have been due to dogs in the area that are allowed to roam and choose to cross through our property. I'm still waiting to get my gut full before I start stinging their butts with rock salt. You show the perfect line of defense we can offer them when they range. They must have bushes and/or constructed shelters for hiding to protect themselves. Thanks for sharing!

Kritter Keeper said...

oh how scary! the poor little guineas. i hope you find the other one...i heard coyotes on the farm the other night and now i am thoroughly concerned for my kitties, dogs, horses and deer. good luck and i am so glad your chickens have a roof. what good roosters!

Knatolee said...

I'm glad everyone is okay (as I know from the later post updating on the missing guinea!) I worry about hawks too, but our chicken run does have netting over the top. Good roosters!!! I haven't heard mine make that noise yet.

Razzberry Corner said...

Nocolezmomma - It's nice to hear from you! Thank you! I enjoy the stories on your blog, too! I love blogs that tell a funny story!

Gail - Yes, we got that roof on just in time!

Julie - I always come running, too, when I hear that chicken sound!

Terry - Those hawks meant business that day. I just worry about all the time when I'm not home!

Chai Chai - My chickens love humans. They are very friendly. Humans = treats!

Kessie - Yes, the honking noise does sound like "hawk! hawk!" That's what I'm going to call it from now on, the hawk call!

Matt - We study our roosters to see which ones are worth a darn. The ones that are useless we sell. We like to keep it down to 2 roos. Right now 3 teenage roosters are growing up, bringing us up to 5, so we're trying to figure out if they are good for the flock. If they're willing to fight/defend the hens, if they cluck and feed the hens before they eat, if they are gentle with the hens, if they accept their place in the rooster pecking order, they may be keepers. I hope to breed good traits into the babies we raise. If we raise anymore babies next year, that is!!

WeldrBrat - Yes, large bushes are important for hiding. In previous places where we lived we always had the neighbors' dogs on our property. And cats, too!

Kritter Keeper - Coyotes! Oh no!!!

Knatolee - Your roosters haven't made the "honking" hawk noise yet? How about the "car crash" noise? That's when it sounds like the brakes on a car are squealing! They make that noise when they are roosting at night and I go into the coop and interrupt them!


Robin said...

Wowzer that is quite something. We haven't had any of those around here yet.