BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › How to deter hawks?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How to deter hawks?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

We had a really close encounter with a red tail hawk that much have had a 5' wingspan.

 

Not only did he not care that I was standing 15' from where he dive bombed the chickens, he also didn't seem to care that I took off running towards him and screaming obscenities that would make a sailor uncomfortable.

 

He hit the fence line and then proceeded to try to snatch a chicken....thankfully our rooster was attempted to fight him off when I reached them. The hawk took off, circled a few times and then left, probably in search of an easier target.

 

I know that this is all part of owning free range chickens, and for the most part, they keep a close eye on the sky but yesterday left me with a pounding heart and bile in my throat.

 

I want to keep them safe, so I started researching hawk behavior and ways to possibly deter them.

 

All I found was information on CDs, scare tape, fake owls, installing speakers to play owl noises or crows in distress, oh and to remove the food source [chickens]. I also read that the hawks are easily spooked and don't like change [though if the hawk is hungry enough, the above points are all moot]

 

I feel bad cooping them up, and I can't sit outside all day and watch the skies for them, though I do peek out the window religiously during the day and go outside to check on them or give them treats.

 

My problem is, I don't have enough tree cover; the yard is fenced in, butu completely open. This summer, I'm planning on putting some trees and grapevines in the yard to kind of make it more difficult for hawks to have a clear landing strip....but for right now I'm kind of up the creek.

 

This morning, I had my neighbors two miniature horses come over....I'm hoping that the two big, constantly moving objects in the back yard will be enough movement and change to keep the hawks at bay.

 

I've only had two instances where hawks actually landed in my yard, the first time the hawk was much smaller and he couldn't get into the chick run, so he sat on top of it calling his friends for backup, I assume. And yesterday, where the butt face actually dive bombed the flock.

 

Does anyone else have ideas that have worked for them in the past?

 

I'm going to try to put some aluminum pans out there, but mirrors are a little too expensive to just lay out in the backyard.

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply
post #2 of 19

I have plenty of cover for my chickens to use throughout the day.  They roam the open areas, but are never far from bushes and trees.  I have watchful rooster that probably helps.  The dog is out most of the time.  I doubt he would attack a hawk on the ground, but his presence may be a deterrent. 

 

I don't know what you would use mirrors to accomplish, but CDs on the ground might be the same thing.  They are not too expensive.

 

Chris 

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
That's the problem, the chickens were in the shrubs when the hawk attacked...seems like there is nowhere safe.

The mirrors and CDs reflect light and people say it scares the hawks away, lots of other people said it doesn't.

I bought some cheap cake tins to try though.

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply
post #4 of 19

What WRVgirl described with recent red-tail attack is acceptable to me.  Hawk makes attempt but comes away empty handed.  Subsequent attempts will likely be less frequent than if bird made kill and consumed its fill.  Unless birds are confined to a well designed coop or covered run, losses will likely never be zero but the question is "are losses tolerable"?  I have not lost a chicken to hawk for a couple years now despite same hawks present that did take some before new reality.  I would still tolerate loss of a couple per year to keep most birds free-range during production season.  Balance.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
Reply
Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
Reply
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

The miniature horses seem to have helped. The hawk flew over but did not come down very close. I think the constant movement of the horses helped deter him.

 

The chickens seem to realize that the horses are protection, they've been following them around the yard all day. I hate the idea of confining them to a coop, and I completely understand that if you free range that there may be losses.

 

I'm also going to purchase some guinea hens this weekend, supposedly they are great little predator alarms.

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply
post #6 of 19

Have been checking out BYC site for awhile but never joined; this particular thread gave me a reason to.  I've lost 2 Orpington's in the past 2 weeks to hawks; I believe them to be probably red tail, but I'm not sure.  I came home 2 weeks ago to find the first hawk on top of my hen; like WRVgirl said, I too ran at the hawk full speed yelling obscenities.  When I got to her, she was already gone.  Then fast forward one week to last Thursday, and one of my kids found another/same hawk on top of my 2nd Orpington; she too was also dead when he found her.  It is so frustrating to raise your chickens, or any livestock for that matter, only to have a predator take away all that hard work; plus to me they're like pets.  I have a fenced in run, which was not covered, until last weekend.  I have now covered the entire run with aviary netting; so far, so good.  I've also read about the reflective tape, not sure if it works.  The woman at my local Agway has also informed me of a product called nite guard; she swears by it and it only costs $20.  I just picked up two 17 week old pullets today, to bring my count back to 3 hens.  From now on, I will do my best to keep the predators away.  Good luck to you, whatever path you choose; keep those girls safe.

1 Easter Egger, 2 White Rock/RIR hybrids & 7 more chicks coming this spring ( 1 more Easter Egger, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Salmon Faverolles & 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes)

Reply

1 Easter Egger, 2 White Rock/RIR hybrids & 7 more chicks coming this spring ( 1 more Easter Egger, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Salmon Faverolles & 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes)

Reply
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey Bower!

Thanks for chiming in!

It's so hard to tell the difference between a redtail and a redshoulder hawk, redshoulder hawks are endangered and as much as I'd love to point a darn shotgun at them, I don't want to go to jail or be fined...so I'm looking for other ways to deal with them.

 

I'm so sorry you lost chickens. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had two attacks and lost none. The first time the hawk landed on the coop, it was the first time I ever let my English orps out! They were about 6 weeks old at the time and when I heard the hawk calling his friends, I about had heart failure.

 

I know that free ranging goes hand and hand with losing hens to predators, I just view my girls [and Mr. Splash] as pets, they aren't egg machines, or soup chickens, they're my little babies. And I want to protect them at all costs.

 

Thankfully, we don't have many hawks during the spring and summer, it's only late fall/winter when they're migrating and hungry that I've seen them flying around.

 

I think in the spring I'll be investing in a couple guinea fowl to be hawk deterrent, or at least hawk bait!

 

The thought of losing one of my girls makes me incredibly sad, they were very expensive and it took me a long time to raise them up and socialize them....I just want them to be happy, healthy and alive.

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Oh, and from what I've read, the hawks [when dive bombing] hit the chicken with such force that it breaks their neck.

 

This makes me even sadder, but it makes it a little easier to know that most of the time, the blow is instantaneous and life ending and at least if they die, they didn't suffer.

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply

Nicole & William

Abby [Naughty Dachshund] & Sticks [Sweet Italian Greyhound]

♥ Jubilee Orps, English Orps, Olive Eggers, French Copper Marans, Roller Pigeons & French Angora Rabbits ♥

I'm a Certifiable Chicken Addict!

Animals are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. -George Eliot

Reply
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRVgirl View Post

Oh, and from what I've read, the hawks [when dive bombing] hit the chicken with such force that it breaks their neck.

 

This makes me even sadder, but it makes it a little easier to know that most of the time, the blow is instantaneous and life ending and at least if they die, they didn't suffer.

 

Hopefully that's true; when we found the hens they were pretty torn to shreds.  Not a great thing for the kids to see.

1 Easter Egger, 2 White Rock/RIR hybrids & 7 more chicks coming this spring ( 1 more Easter Egger, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Salmon Faverolles & 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes)

Reply

1 Easter Egger, 2 White Rock/RIR hybrids & 7 more chicks coming this spring ( 1 more Easter Egger, 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Salmon Faverolles & 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes)

Reply
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by WRVgirl View Post

Oh, and from what I've read, the hawks [when dive bombing] hit the chicken with such force that it breaks their neck.

 

This makes me even sadder, but it makes it a little easier to know that most of the time, the blow is instantaneous and life ending and at least if they die, they didn't suffer.

They usually do not break victims neck and with larger victims to killing process is very unpleasant.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
Reply
Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Predators and Pests
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › How to deter hawks?