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

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

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I'm sorry you lost 2 chickens to the hawk, was the 2nd one a white silkie also? It seems that white/light-colored chickens are special targets, as well as those who seem to be more vulnerable, the small & young, the sick & injured, & the otherwise slow-moving.

    I try to discourage our resident hawks by hanging shiny moving things around & over my chicken pens, CDs & DVDs, dollar-store wind-catchers, and pinwheels. A neighbor who keeps pigeons places mirrors on the roofs of his bird pens. I also protect my birds by providing places for them to run into & under, and keep roosters. The roos have a bird-word they say when anything flies over the yard, and they have an especially bad word they say when they see a hawk. When they say that word everyone stops, crouches, looks up into the sky, & runs for cover.

    I wish you success in keeping your flock safe from hawks.
  2. nancysmith2

    nancysmith2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2009
    I have alot of interest in this obviously. I recently also lost a 4 week chick to who knows what. I think an owl got her. She disappeared. We have an owl that goes and comes in our neighborhood. Are owls the same as hawks with an established prey desire? I got to thinking about the hawk with the fly zone pattern. If he/she wanted to get my girls, it would have happened by now. They free range all the time. The area they are in is very tree protected and we only have opposums to worry about otherwise.
  3. HippieChickens

    HippieChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Honestly most owls eat moles, voles, mice and other very small vermine. Many cannot even eat large rats. Great Horned owls can potentially eat chickens, but it's not really common.
  5. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    I've had hawks flying over every day, and I agree that chicken is a "learned" taste. With them being migratory, I wouldn't trust a hawk unless you know the individual, but you still have to protect against visitors. I have a net over my run, and when I let them out I chickensit. I only have 6, and I love each one, so I'm not losing any to some predator.

    My rooster and 2 girls have gotten really good about keeping a look out. And when I see a hawk, I move when they move, but I don't for crows, airplanes, or song birds. They've since seemed to have learned the shape of a hawk. When they see a hawk they run straight to their coop, they don't even freeze and look, just run. I walk over with them, and Rooster pops back out, to keep watch with me. When it's clear I walk off with rooster and the girls come back out again. The other 3 girls don't seem to keep as good a watch, but they respond when the others see something.

    The best remedy though, is locking them up, and sticking with them when they're out watching with your own eyes. I'm so ready to knock a hawk right out of the air if he comes after one of my itty-bitty hens. So far, only one has stopped to look, the rest just did fly overs. Today one circled for a couple of turns, then moved on.
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Here's our solution and it works well. Not the prettiest, but oh well.

    We have NO netting across our run as we have fruit trees in the run. We put t-posts in a staggered manner with scare tape from each t-post. Our theory is a hawk CAN come straight down, but it needs a glide path to get out. (especially with prey) So, we blocked the flight path.

  7. henryetta

    henryetta Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    san diego, cali
    Wow, i gotta say this is one of the most interesting posts on hawks i've read. I'll add too that we had a couple of juvanile coopers in our area that really were interested in my chickens for a while. They would swoop down by them as if to spook them and then sometimes just sit just feet from them possibly sizing them up?.. My chickens were larger than them and now i see these same hawks(i believe) having no interest at all.. I sure hope that stays. I did see a huge redtail cruzing very high above us the other day, being followed by our resident crows..(as we now call them..brother crow..lol ) The crows also chase our coopers away, but im still always on the look out too... Very interesting thread..
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You can try creating places for your chickens to find shelter from this type of attack. Some folks place pallets or plywood up on cement blocks for a place to duck and cover.

    Do you have a roo? If not, this may be a wise investment. A good roo will sound the alarm in time for hens to find cover, if you have provided cover for them. Also, the larger breeds are less likely to suffer this type of predation, as well as darker colored birds.

    Southern States has life-sized Great Horned Owl decoys on sale right now. I've heard these will deter hawks, as they are natural enemies. The decoys look very real!

    I would not, under any circumstances, shoot at them with a gun. Big fines and possible jail time if discovered, no matter what the DNR might have told you.
  9. quailraisingMan

    quailraisingMan Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 16, 2009
    Cage or strips that tangle the hawk like some people mention and use, since the hawk can only go so low to grab without falling to low to the ground and still have the airstrip in front to fly back up ( cause that would damage their wing if they hit something since there no way to fly back up, same with eagles whom would risk losing the prey rather then have injuries to the wing). but seriously don't harm any wildlife animals, especially if its a hawk, its sad already that there number is depleting so fast, no need to aid in ending the entire species.
  10. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Hawk and eagle vision is such that the twine or line zig zagging across a yard or a pen is only a deterent. Their vision allows them to see the 'webbing' from great distances and they can change their 'focus' enough that they rarely hit such things. It's especially good to hang things in/across it, but raptors will see the twine or whatever without it.

    //edit// I went back and re-read, but unless I missed something, there isn't anything here about caging or entangling any hawk or eagle so I don't understand that reference quailraisingman. Really 99.9% of the people here caution against harming any of them and encourage deterrents only. When someone does mention something more drastic here, the overwhelming response from other forum members is to find other ways to discourage hawks and protect chickens other ways. The twine across a pen is a deterrent for exactly the reasons you mentioned and people just want to show the beautiful things that they really don't want chicken on their menu and they should move on to other prey.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
    1 person likes this.

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