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Hawk 0, Chastity 2

Chastity, the day after the second hawk attack. Her eye is OK, but she’s squinting from the hawk-peck wound just below her right eye.

The hawk came back.

Once again, it went for Chastity. Ken found her lying on the ground beside the chicken house, in a state of shock. He picked her up and put her inside. There was some sign of injury to one of her wings, but no blood. And there was a hawk-peck wound just under her right eye that caused her eye to swell shut. A day later, she was squinting, and we could see that her eye was OK. Today, two days later, her eye is almost back to normal except for the scab underneath it.

Chastity seems depressed, but she’ll make a full recovery.

Now what will we do. Clearly the hawk is not going to give up on trying to eat the chickens. Besides, hawks waste chickens. I understand that they eat the brain and lungs and leave the rest. Even worse, Ken has seen evidence that the hawk has built a nest at the edge of the woods right below the abbey. I would have assumed this to be a squirrel’s nest, but would a hawk enter and settle down into a squirrels nest, as Ken saw it do? I doubt it.

For now, we’re letting the chickens out only when we’re there to shepherd them, while we try to figure out what to do. We could put up a scarecrow and a fake owl, but I doubt that would be very effective. Some people report success stringing fishing line above the chicken lot, but I’m not sure that’s practical here. The fence is large (almost 400 feet). Though the fence is 8 feet high, I doubt we could string fishing line in such a way that it wouldn’t sag and strangle us as we worked in the garden. I’m looking for new ideas for defenses and trying to figure out what’s practical.

I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal under state and/or federal law to kill a hawk. That’s out of the question.

In so many ways, it’s exciting to live in a place with so much wildlife. But I never guessed that it would be such a struggle to defend the chickens and the garden. Between the deer, the groundhogs, the hawk, the fox, and the voles, everything wants to move in and eat us out of house and home.

The hawk at the edge of the woods, only 35 yards from the abbey. Photos by Ken Ilgunas.

Hawk nest or squirrel’s nest? Ken saw the hawk actually enter and settle into the nest.


  1. kerry wrote:

    Awe, poor Chastity. She must be terrified and traumatized. I’ll put her and your other two chickens on my prayer list.

    I Googled “how to protect your chickens from hawk attack”. There are some tips there but I don’t have the experience to discern whether or not they would be beneficial.

    The first thought that came to my mind was building some sort of large wired cage on wheels without a bottom. They could push it around from the inside, be protected from above and still enjoy roaming around. Or how about bird netting/enclosing a large area for them?

    My other thought was calling on an animal healer to come out and talk to Chastity. I’ve read some remarkable books on animal healing. The animals know so much more than we think they do. They tune in to the images in our minds. Animal healers know how to communicate with animals telepathically by creating images to send and receiving/interpreting the images in the animal’s mind.

    If that’s too much on the fringe for you, how about just talking to Chastity. You know, telling her how much you love her, that you are sorry that she had such a frightening experience, but she is so much wiser now, how proud you are that she is so brave, how strong and healthy she must be to recover so quickly, how you’re going to do whatever you can to find a way to keep her and her mates safe..She may need some positive things to focus on to get over the fear..Maybe some extra treats for comfort. Lavender is very soothing and relaxing…just some random thought.

    Can you knock down the hawk’s nest somehow?

    Please keep us updated on the chickens.

    Monday, January 10, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    We are definitely thinking about knocking down the hawk’s nest. There’s no way it could have chicks in it this time of year.

    Chickens love to be talked to, and they talk back. Contented chickens make very pleasant cooing and clucking sounds. Chastity laid yesterday, so I’m sure she’ll soon be her old self.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink
  3. kerry wrote:

    I’m glad to hear that Chastity laid yesterday.

    I went to a little healing prayer group today where people write names on a piece of paper and the group does healing meditations. So I put Chastity, Patience and Ruth’s name down. I made a note that the prayer request was for chickens and not for personal virtues 😉

    I enjoy your blog very much.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  4. admin wrote:

    Thank you. I will convey your kind words to the girls… 🙂

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink
  5. Quetal wrote:

    My best to the girls and the efforts you are making to protect them.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

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