Best HAWK deterrent for Chicks?

sarahandbray

Songster
5 Years
Aug 12, 2014
677
63
123
**cross posted in Coops and Predators--looking for as much input and tried & true suggestions as possible!!**

We have our first flock of chickens ever--and are loving being chicken owners! Chickens are 7-weeks old and have been out in their coop for 2 weeks. They have a 10'X10' coop, a fully covered 12'X8' chain link dog run (with chicken wire on top) and a 40'X40' electrified poultry netting pasture around the whole thing.

We REALLY, REALLY want pastured chickens and were hoping to add another 164' section of PoultryNet fencing in the spring for them. The PoultryNet has successfully kept out all 4-legged animals, which is great, since we have coyotes, foxes, raccoons, dogs, etc., but a hawk got one of our Barred Rocks chicks yesterday.

What can I do to keep them away? Would be willing to get other small animals to keep in the pen--guinea hens, small goats, etc., but am not sure if I want to get an outside Livestock Guardian Dog, though there is a Great Pyrenees rescue organization near me.

Short of covering 1600sf with bird netting and making the whole set-up a pain to move, what else can I do? Can I use rubber bullets or bean bag bullets to scare them off but not harm them? I realize they can't be killed. I am going to take a photo today to save in case I need to send it to the DEC. Think they would do anything since this hawk is a known livestock killer?
 

boskelli1571

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 7, 2011
3,768
1,475
381
Finger Lakes, NY
Hi there,
I would stay away from rubber bullets and such. They might cause the bird enough harm that it could die. Hawks will easily take chicks and young pullets. Large chickens are usually another matter. We have a pair of redtails that live in our back woods, they circle the girls but have never taken any
fl.gif
. If you intend to pasture your birds, I suggest making several 'shelters' to which the girls can run if they see a hawk. Something as simple as a tarp stretched over a pole and tethered to the ground, 55 gall. plastic drums cut length-wise and ends removed. Anything that will provide cover. Also, stringing wire, fishing line, string in a hap hazard manner across the run area making it impossible/difficult for a hawk to manuver (sp.?) and take a bird.
Good luck with your ladies!
yippiechickie.gif
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,719
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
I raise young chicks (120 this year) in a pasture with essentially no loss to hawks. For actual chicks the front line defense is the mother hen. The linebacker is the rooster that not only backs hens up, he will actively get between hawk and chicks. The biggest dog in fight are my dogs that run to alarmed chickens and go after hawk once they line it out. Lots of cover helps.
 

MeepBeep

Songster
5 Years
Short of covering the whole pasture, as said above randomly strung string/rope over the area help... To make it more effective hang stuff that is reflective and catches light (CDs, gems, aluminum foils, small pieces of mirror, aluminum pie tins, etc...) and/or hang things that flutter in the wind, like flagging (surveyors) tape, or something similar on the strung ropes... Might look ghetto or hillbilly but it works and will disorientate the hawks and they will usually stay clear of the area...

Guineafowl will help at alarming for danger (they do this VERY WELL) but they won't stay confined to a mere fenced area, you need a covered area or they will fly over the fence and roam... A good sized rooster will also help as he will alarm and also his size and stature is sometimes enough to keep the hawks at bay...
 
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keesmom

Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 28, 2008
10,710
4,644
531
MA
I haven't found anything other than a covered run effective for hawks around here. Sure I can go for long periods of time without incident while free ranging, but at some point they locate my birds. One February we were targeted by a very hungry juvenile Cooper's hawk. Took out my largest LF Wyandotte rooster one afternoon with talons through the skull, and a week later flew in the 12"x12" chicken door into the coop to get a Hamburg hen.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,373
17,719
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
I haven't found anything other than a covered run effective for hawks around here. Sure I can go for long periods of time without incident while free ranging, but at some point they locate my birds. One February we were targeted by a very hungry juvenile Cooper's hawk. Took out my largest LF Wyandotte rooster one afternoon with talons through the skull, and a week later flew in the 12"x12" chicken door into the coop to get a Hamburg hen. 


Goshawk rather than juvenile Coopers?
 

keesmom

Free Ranging
12 Years
Jul 28, 2008
10,710
4,644
531
MA
Goshawk rather than juvenile Coopers?
Didn't appear to be a Goshawk. It was small, with little breast streaking. Juvie Goshawks seem to have the streaking throughout the belly. The most common hawk species I see in town are Cooper's. Second is sharp-shinned. Then red tails and goshawks. Occasional bald eagles.

I don't have any pictures unfortunately. This happened several years ago when my oldest was in infant. I was changing him when I heard the ruckus outside. When I got out there it was too late to save my rooster.
 

LPike04

Hatching
5 Years
Dec 5, 2014
1
0
6
We've lost two medium sized hens to a very large Cooper's hawk. My husband was out early this morning and observed it ignoring the nearby gray squirrel (which are abundant in our wooded acre near the coops). We have 3 coops and a mixture of hens, rooster, geese, ducks and turkeys. We plan to string fishing wire and reflective materials today. Also going to scatter corn to encourage the crows back now that the garden is closed down.
 

CliffB

Songster
5 Years
Oct 5, 2014
1,358
294
201
Georgia
We've lost two medium sized hens to a very large Cooper's hawk. My husband was out early this morning and observed it ignoring the nearby gray squirrel (which are abundant in our wooded acre near the coops). We have 3 coops and a mixture of hens, rooster, geese, ducks and turkeys. We plan to string fishing wire and reflective materials today. Also going to scatter corn to encourage the crows back now that the garden is closed down.
We had a Coopers Hawk take two of our chicks and when it came back a few days later for more the squirrels were running around just 10-15 feet away from the hawk without the slightest worry.
 

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