A Hawk Is Killing Our Chickens. What should I do?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Nan5634, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Nan5634

    Nan5634 Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    Okay yesterday my aunt alerted me to a hawk that was outside and it killed our new white silkie. My brother wanted to shoot it but I went online and it is a Red-Tailed Hawk...which is an endangered species...and it's illegal to shoot one...and it came back today and killed another chicken! What should I do?

  2. juliawitt

    juliawitt Songster

    Aug 9, 2009
    We decided not to do netting because our run is so big.........So, my husband took an afternoon and meticulously placed twine across our whole run with Canning jar lids hanging down to reflect. It took time, but since we have done this, we have seen hawks, but not one hawk is even watching. They are smart and know that can not fly in with out getting tangled up!

    It is hard to see the lids in the pics......but apparently the hawks can!
    schmapes, JackAubrey and coldfields86 like this.
  3. stephhassler

    stephhassler Songster

    Jan 30, 2009
    Eastern Iowa
    I had the same problem - lost 2 birds to a red tailed hawk. I called DNR and was told I COULD kill the hawk because it was destroying livestock. I did take a photo of the hawk eating a chicken so I would have proof that it was actually killing my birds.
    1 person likes this.
  4. muttly

    muttly In the Brooder

    Nov 7, 2009
    wasatch mtns.
    Do your birds free range or do they have an open run ?
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    It depends on how your chickens are kept while outside. If they free range, there should be lots of cover for them to run under when they see/sense a hawk is around. Chickens learn to worry about shadows up above them and one usually sounds an alarm, unfortunately it takes a little while for them to learn sometimes. I'm sorry you lost some of your birds.

    If they are in a run, it's easier that's for sure. you can criss-cross the top with monofilament line (heavy duty fishing line) and hang CDs around on it. Hawks can't manuver through the line well, and they don't like the spinny reflective light off of the CDs.

    If they free range, you can still hang CDs around the yard. I started searching for some of the pictures here, maybe someone else will post the links too, there's a BUNCH of examples of how people have done this.

    None of this is perfect, hawks are a danger and you're right, they are totally protected by federal law so it's a good thing you stopped your brother. All migratory birds are and that includes all hawks and eagles even though they don't always migrate. The good thing is, this red-tail may be on his way to another winter grounds and he will be on his way soon.

    I'll search for hawk deterrents more too.

  6. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    they will keep coming back if there is a food source, the suggestions you got were good i use fishing line as well over my free range areas and yesterday I had 2 huge copper hawks circling but they dare not go into the wire. the girls still sounded the alarm and hid but there was no way the hawks were gonna try manuvering through the line I put up. [​IMG]
  7. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Here's another thread with lots of good ideas too. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=215850&p=1 Juliawitt's solution was one of the ones I was looking for, and there was one other one that was especially good. You don't have to 'blanket' the whole area with twine or line, just put enough to make it too much trouble for them to go through it. Hawks can see even the fishline, they have this wierd vision where they can adjust their focus realllllly well to near/middle/far sight and the line won't hurt them unless they try anyway because they're silly. If they do try it's not because they didn't see it, so don't worry that you are tricking them or something. They will be very aware of the line being there. That's why this is a deterrent, not a means to cause them harm.
  8. rcentner

    rcentner Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    you wouldn't know they are endangered around here, they are the reason I had to stop free ranging. We simply put a net over the run. I used to like the hawks..jerks.
    tocool4uvk likes this.
  9. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Songster

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    I have to constantly 'chickensit' my birds when they free range. My BO rooster does a great job protecting his flock.

  10. RevaVirginia

    RevaVirginia Songster

    Apr 26, 2009
    Reva, VA
    Check these out...


    I haven't used them. I've seen them used at several wineries to protect their valuable crop.

    Things I've read about them:

    They scare all birds - last time I checked though...my chickens are birds.

    They worked for hawks but have to be moved every couple days or the hawks get wise.

    They're about 8 bucks a pop at places I've seen. Here at amazon is a quantity discount for 3 ea..

    good luck

    Edit: something I didn't mention is the "alternatives" you'll see at amazon and maybe lead you to some other ideas.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009

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