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Watch: Goat and Rooster Save Chicken from Hawk Attack
Youtube Screenshot

Remarkable footage (see below) emerged from a farm in the Netherlands this month. A 40 second video clip, posted on Youtube on 14 September, shows how a rooster and a goat teamed up to save a hen from an attacking hawk.

Youtube Screenshot

At the beginning of the clip, a hen is grazing – apparently alone – in a large pen when she is suddenly attacked from above by a hawk. The hen tries to escape but the hawk has her in his clutches. It looks as if she is about to be carried off by the predator when a rooster races onto the scene to defend and protect the hen. The hawk appears to be too strong for the rooster as well, but a goat then appears and attacks the hawk. After a brief scuffle, the hawk retreats and the hen escapes largely unharmed.  

Screenshot: Jaap Beets with his lucky chicken!

Owner of the farm, Jaap Beets, was inside the house at the time and did not witness the event. He only learned what had happened when he checked the CCTV footage afterwards. Mr Beets says that he is very proud of his animals, but stresses that this is not the first time they have protected each other against hawk attacks. On the last occasion, Mr Beets says, a different goat and a turkey teamed up to protect a chicken from attack.

The footage, which you can view below, reminds us of the wonderful social complexity of animals and demonstrates their ability to form friendships that transcend species boundaries. It may also raise some questions for poultry farmers everywhere. Should we all start grazing goats with our chickens to protect them?