During my 5 years of keeping chickens, I've heard a lot of tips on how to deter hawks. Here's a few.
1) Buy birds that are dark-colored. I have heard that the darker the bird, the less likely a hawk will attack it (this doesn't mean that it won't get attacked, but it does mean it's chances will be lower). This may be a myth, but it's something I've heard.
2) Don't free-range your birds, and put poultry netting over their run. This is something I've never done (though sometimes, when a hawk is prowling about, I lock them in the coop for a day or two until the hawk leaves), but it is something others have done with great success.
3) Buy a rooster that you know will beat off hawks. There are literally roosters out there that will kill hawks that mess with them or their ladies. Gamecocks are probably a great choice...just don't keep more than one, or they'll kill each other before either of them kills a hawk.
4) If you have a gun, fire into the dirt (do NOT fire into the air, as this is very dangerous because the bullet will land somewhere) to scare off a hawk that is eyeing your birds. Some hawks are spooked by this and leave...others aren't.
4) Shoot any bird of prey that is eyeing your birds. This is something I have never done (though I have longed to do it more than once), and this is against the law of Big Brother, and environmentalists love to persecute flock owners who are trying to defend their flocks, so this is a last resort and should only be done if you live in a rural area where no one will see you do it. But even then, some avian enthusiast may have put a tracking device in the bird, and when they follow the signal to a hole in your backyard and find a bullet in the animal, you're as dead as one of your birds. So really, it's not a good idea.
The fifth suggestion is one of my own that nobody has suggested to me. I have found that it works very well.
5) Fly a flag or two at your house. Awhile ago, I was having some serious problems with hawks attacking my birds. Two or three times, I literally had to whack a hawk off the back of my birds with a stick. It was getting bad. Well, around that time, I put up an American flag and a battle flag to show my patriotism. I haven't had a hawk attack since. It could be coincidence, but I think the constantly-waving large objects (combined with the proliferation of red in both of the flags) spooks the hawks enough to deter them.
Thank you for tip number 5. Always lots of hawks here - busy day for them here today, in fact. My chickens have good cover and I run surveyor tape over their paddocks, which moves around a lot in the wind - though it's not perfect, I have yet to see a hawk that is willing to try to get through it. I bought some aviary netting but have yet to hang it up (but I plan to).
I like the idea of the flags - there are two flight paths that I can put them in that may deter them.
- Ant Farm