Today’s article is focused on how to keep hawks away from chickens. There are more than 8 creative and simple DIY methods on deterring hawks from your pretty chicks.
Predators like owl and hawks are ever-present threat for every poultry owner. You and I worry about opossums and raccoons climbing fences and walls to get to our birds, squirrels and snakes stealing eggs, coyotes and foxes beheading or carting away our hens.
We primarily gaze our eyes on these running, crawling, creeping, and slinking creatures that often we overlook the dangers that literally overlook us; aerial predators!
How to Keep hawks away from chickens
While one big group of aerial predators- owls- are night birds and hunt when your birds are safely locked in their coops for the night, hawks prowl for easy meat during the day.
With more than 15 species of hawk recorded in North America, poultry keepers are bound to have at least one as a neighbour. Make sure your birds do not become fast food for these unwanted drop-in guests by following these helpful tips on how to deter hawks from chickens.
How to Keep Hawks Away From Chickens
Note: Never shoot a hawk attacking your chickens for any reason. These birds are protected by law and offenders will pay heavily in cash and in jail sentence.
Round Up Your Roamers
Free-range chickens might enjoy more freedom as compared to caged birds but these chickens are the ones that are most easily targeted by hawks.
Safety and shelter are hard to find on the range, while Mother Nature provides lots of places for predators to perch and observe.
You should protect your chickens by creating a run, or an enclosure, connected to their coop. A chicken run provides lots of space to roam and also keeps chickens safely enclosed and closer at hand.
Plus, collecting eggs is easier because you do not have to search your entire property. If a permanent cop or run is not possible, kindly build a moveable chicken tractor. This keeps your birds in one location but still lets them enjoy your pastureland under your protection.
Cover Your Runs
Chicken wire is likely to bend under pressure and so makes a poor fence for chicken run- ground-based predators can rip right through it- but it makes an excellent overhead cover for your birds.
The mere sight of a protective layer between it and your precious birds is mostly enough of a deterrent for a hawk, especially if the netting used is orange.
If this doesn’t work, whichever raptor that tries to dive through the chicken wire will become entangled in it, giving your chickens enough to retreat to safety.
Any sort of netting functions the same way; to protect your chickens from birds of prey. To maximize protection, make sure the covering is tightly secured.
Use Any Bling
Mirror-like or reflective surfaces have long proven effective in chasing away aerial predators.
The North American Bluebird Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology advices using these to minimize damage by predatory birds, keeping them away from their intended target or from an area they get easy meats from.
You can purchase ready-made predator spookers at Amazon or other online sources as well as at wild-bird supply stores, but it just takes materials such as DVDs, or CD, long stripes of Silvery Mylar or elective tape to create your own.
Install these high on your coop or along the top of your run’s fence line to create a shining deterrent to any hawks that might want to scoop up your birds or other predatory birds.
Hide the Food
Hiding foods is another method on how to keep hawks away from chickens.
Lots of hawk species, including Cooper’s hawk and sharp-skinned hawk, target feeders, not because of the free food offered there but for the taste of flesh of the birds that meets there.
To keep your chooks, hens and chicks from getting picked off while having breakfast or dinner, relocate your feeders- and waterers- so that they are safely walking in your coops and not in the runs.
If there is no place inside your henhouse where these can be sanitarily installed, consider building a feeding station in your run.
A feeding station that is covered will protect your birds safe while they eat and also provide a place for them to hide should a hawk pass overhead.
Bring in the Roosters
The traditional role of a rooster, other than mate the hen to create chicks, is to protect the hens and chicks.
At the first sign of danger, a rooster will send out a warning sounds to his girls, sending them diving for safety while he stands his guard to defend against the threat, real or perceived.
Other times, I’ve looked out my window and seen 6 roosters, standing stock still in front if their coop’s pop doors, their heads tilted skyward- and not a single hen in sight.
Not every homeowners, town, or city association allow roosters, so check your local bylaws and ordinances before adding a rooster to your flock. Allow for a 30-day quarantine away from your girls to ensure everyone remains healthy.
Use Electric Fences.
You can erect an electric fence around the perimeter if your chickens are free-ranging to keep predators away from your cuckoo.
Get a Guard
Employ a livestock guardian dog or a rooster, or both, to watch over your flock. The two are known to fearlessly protect chickens.
Bright, Noisy Flash Tape
Install Nite Guard Repellent Tape, a strong, extra-wide flash tape. The loud cracking noises and frequent bright flashes scare away hawks.
Fearing for their lives, the hawk flies away, and your chickens are safe.
Use a Decoy
Use an owl or a scarecrow decoy, and move them around on a frequent basis to keep the hawk on its guard.
Turkeys are great guards and will chase hawks away on numerous occasions. One time, an hawk landed in the middle of the flock, the chickens ran to the coop, the turkey’s attacked the hawk. They bloody it somehow.
Partner with a Crow
We have discovered that crows are a valuable partner to the chickens that run around in your backyard or on free range. They do an excellent job at chasing hawks from the area and alerting us to their presence.
Crows have never destroyed any of our crops, are very intelligent, and have learned they have a safe environment where there is enough food provided for them.
When Do Hawks Hunt Chickens
Hawks hunt chickens during the day (by scooping down and carting away with them), whereas owls take them during the night.
How Does A Hawk Kill A Chicken
Hawks are predators that are able to pick up, kill, and carry off an adult chicken. Hawks hunt birds during the day. Most failed attempts often leave the chickens; body bloodied.
Can I Shoot A Hawk Attacking My Chickens
The answer to this question is a simple, NO!
Because hawks are protected in the United states under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (16 USC, 703-711). It is illegal to hunt, harm, cage, trap, shoot, or poison them without a permit.
As much a nuisance as hawks are to poultry keepers, you must know that they must not be killed, trapped, or caged. Even if they decimate your flock.
If you’ve taken the suggestive measures explained here without positive results, contact your local U.S Fish and Wildlife Service office or your state’s department of agriculture to seek help in resolving your hawk situation.
Penalty For Killing A Hawk
Unlike hogs and coyotes, however, hawks are protected by a federal law that has been in existence (and has been used by prosecutors in recent years). The Migratory Bird Treaty Act says anyone convicted of killing a hawk or owl without federal permission faces fines of up to $15,000 and six months in prison per offense.
Now that you know how to keep hawks away from chickens, kindly spread the news with other backyard chicken owners.
Margaret Vincent says
Very informative. We have hawks out here in rural Virginia and have lost 3 guinea hens to them . Now getting fake crows and owls.
Would love to know if the fake crows worked? If you get this, please shoot me an email and let me know, if you have time