Our run is pretty large, way too big to just drape netting over, so we strung piano wire across from corner to corner, kind of in an X over the run, and my husband put some kind of turnbuckle type things that we can turn to keep the wire tight. Over that are lengths of chicken wire, with the edges "sewn" together with wire, so that it makes one great big wire mesh cover. All the edges are turned over wooden beams at the top, and fastened down, and connected to the fencing that makes the "walls". The piano wire (or something like that; that's what it looks like to me) is tight enough to keep the chicken wire from drooping and sagging. It's tall enough that we can walk around in there without ducking. I do hope a hawk doesn't try to crash through. It might break it's neck or something.
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I've lost some hens to a red tail before. And I've tried fake owls (moved them everyday, scared the chickens more than the hawks), scarecrows (don't waste your time, unless you just want to do it for fun), just about everything. I finally covered my run, which is fairly large, (about 35' square) with landscape netting. It's cheap, durable (so far), very light weight, and though it wasn't much fun to install, it has been very effective. One hawk did get tangled in it, but I did cut him out and let him go. He hasn't been back. And I only needed 5 stitches.
Edited by MarkR - 4/5/07 at 6:07am
You could try placing wind kites(the ones you see people hang on boats etc.) around yard to spook hawks. Chickens would probably get use to those.
I'm going to try this-this summer. I have the kites visible to chicks right now so, they don't freak out later. I have a covered run but when I let them roam the yard I stick the kites around yard in various places. Wind socks/kites are about waist high -stuck into the ground. I have 4 different colors. I'm hoping this will make the chickens less inviting. Then I remove the kites when chickens are sent back to coop. I'll let you know if it seems to help.
It isn't unusual for us to see 10-15 hawks a day. A couple years ago, we had a Cooper's hawk fly into the picture window in our living room while chasing a small wild bird.
Our flock forages our fenced 2 acres. If our flock sees a hawk they will usually run to the barn or hen house if they are close to it. However, if they aren't close to the barn, they run for a small bush or tree with branches close to the ground that a hawk couldn't get under. A couple of our birds have hidden from hawks under the front porch swing. They will also run under a vehicle, if it's parked in the drive.
One of my friends covered her run with a blue tarp. It blocks the snow in winter and rain year-round which helps keep the ground in the run dry. It also provides shade for her birds and the hawks don't bother them at all.
I hope your friend finds a solution soon. It's tragic to lose one of your birds when it could be prevented.
A rooster makes a good look out for hawks and such. I remember when Jack was a young cockerel he spotted a turkey vulture and let out this wierd cry and him and his 2 pullets went scurrying into their coop and wouldn't come out for the longest time. This was my first time in seeing this.
They don't deter them all the time, but there are a small flock of crows that hang out near my property and they will harass any hawks and owls they spot
I can't remember having seen hawks around my place, so I had to ask hubby yesterday if we even had hawks where we live. (of course we do, he says) But i do have a lot of crows that hang around all the time - they clean up all the spilled dog/cat/horse/hog feed that gets spilled at feeding time, so maybe that's why I don't see hawks-- maybe the crows run them off.
My suggestion is to cut down the size of the pen, add a couple ft. of wire to the fence top so it will be 6 ft high, then string fishing line back and forth across it, about every 6 inches. Our neighbor who travels around the country said they use this a lot along the east coast to keep the seagulls off and out of stuff. This is what I did about 10 years ago when I had chickens, and it worked great. Didn't need to weave it both ways--just string it back and forth across the pen. The clear plastic type is what I used, and never got anything tangled in it, as a hawk can spot a grass blade tremble because a mouse is running under it, at 300 ft. up, so he can see the fishing line.
Having low bushes, machinery, etc, for the chickens to run under didn't work for me. Hawk landed, walked under the step my chicken was hiding under, and got it. He will just get the one that is not hid as well as the rest, but he will get one, if they are in open area and run under things.
In my opinion, the scarecrows, fake owls, kites, radios, etc, will do no good. If the chickens can get used to them, so can the hawks. And if a hawk catches one chicken, he will keep coming till all the chickens are gone, as this is an easy meal. Shutting them up a week or so won't work, either, in my opinion. They will be safe while shut up, but not when you let them back out, as the hawk will have been gliding around over quite a bit of territory searching for dinner, and will see them when they are again let out. Good Luck.
My Mom always said: Pretty is as pretty does.
My Mom always said: Pretty is as pretty does.
If a pen can't be covered, the fishing line is the best idea. The following is something I rigged up for other purposes (deer are rats). Once the fishing line is up (I'm assuming raying the lines out from post-to-post - and from eye hooks on coop?), take a plastic bottle cap and punch a hole in it, place the bottle cap (top side up) against the hole of an old cd, wrap a cut down tooth pick with one end of a twisty tie and slip the other end of the tie through the cap and the cd. Go out, pull the tie up tautly through the cap/cd and wrap the twisty tie to the fishing line - you'll then have a shining little saucer for the hawks to look down at (make several, they jitter very nicely in the wind).
Edited by ivan3 - 4/14/07 at 11:46am