Deterring a Hawk- Covering A Large Garden

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by france, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. france

    france Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    North East
    Well after 2 years of no predators we have a big old hawk hanging about. I was surprised at how big it is! The day before Christmas he swooped down
    and almost caught one of our two silkies. Luckily they saw him coming and ran into the bushes. Since it was right in front of
    the glass back door we saw the whole thing and have kept them inside their little run since then. Then this morning
    I heard a racket from the big coop and saw the same hawk sitting on the corner of the run. Our run is 90% covered, will be
    100% covered by tomorrow. My neighbor told me the owls and hawks are having a tough time this winter due to a
    draught and less little critters about. Sigh.

    OK my question is about my garden. Our chickens have a large covered run next to the garden. We are in the process of
    building a chicken moat for them to use all year. In the late fall to spring I have a little door I open to give the chickens the
    run of the garden. My garden is not covered. Is there anything we could do to deter a hawk over the garden? It is too big
    to cover with wire mesh or even bird cloth without having to put up posts and make some sort of frame. Any ideas?
    Should we look into trying to put up some boards on concrete blocks to make hiding areas for the chickens?
    Any other advice?

  2. churchx3

    churchx3 Songster

    Mar 30, 2010
    I personally had no problems with hawks or raccoons until it got the past month I have trapped 3 coons and also have two hawks regularly flying over. The only thing I can tell you is that in the warmer months the hawks seemed to leave my chickens alone when they were free ranging. Also I have two pygmy goats that I put out to free range with the chickens and I believe this has helped me somewhat. I never even had to cover their run until 4-6 weeks ago because the foliage from the large oaks as well as an abundance of hawks/raccoons regular food were readily available. Seems the cold brings out the worst in predators at least that is my experience.
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    If the hawk isn't getting dinner from your yard, he may move on.
    My only saving grace here is I have crows that keep the hawks away. I make sure that the crows can find a snack here. Usually I put a small egg on the fence top every day.
    Blue Jays are pretty territorial as well.
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    What size is your garden? You can use bird netting to cover, and it is light enough that you probably need interior support posts only if the garden is very wide. Might want to tie some bright ribbons at various places in the middle of the netting so that the hawks see it.
  5. mediazeal

    mediazeal Songster

    Feb 26, 2009
    How about using PVC and bending it into big half circles to make a hoop house
    You can cover it with poultry netting in the summer and in the winter you could add a sheet of clear plastic to have a cold frame 'greenhouse'
    How big is the garden?
  6. Lesa

    Lesa Songster

    May 28, 2008
    Upstate NY
    My experience is the same as other posters- come spring, the hawks just aren't as hungry... I doubt they would try to take a grown hen, in the warmer months. Encouraging crows is an excellent idea- they hate hawks and will chase them off with regularity. I try to have things the chickens can take cover under-like your bushes. I even have a couple of antique metal lawn chairs that I leave in the chicken area- they look cute and make a good cover. Some people claim some success with hanging CD's. Good luck!
  7. snowflake

    snowflake Crowing

    Aug 21, 2009
    Belding Michigan
    Get a rooster [​IMG] They are great at warning the hens if a hawk is over head and they all listen the the rooster and hide.
  8. france

    france Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    North East
    The garden is much too big to even get bird netting without having some sort of frame to hold it up.
    This time of year snow just kills bird netting even with a frame underneath. I was trying to
    think of something I could leave up year round, or easy to take down when we start gardening
    and the chickens are locked out for the summer. What about strands of rope or wire
    run across the garden with things hanging on them like the CD's or tin foil? I could take those
    down in May when I start gardening. It might make a hawk hesitate long enough for the
    chickens to get under cover.

    I like the antique lawn chair idea. That would make for a handy seat while gardening in the summer.
    Hmmmm you have me thinking of benches and other garden decorations.....I can see me now
    explaining the fancy Pottery Barn furniture set to DH "It's so the chickens have a place to hide
    from the hawks" LOL

    The hawk was pretty big. I was surprised at how big. I do not think he will have much trouble
    with one of my bantams. I doubt he would get the orpington off the ground. We do have a rooster.
    He is a very good rooster watching out for his ladies which does help.
  9. mediazeal

    mediazeal Songster

    Feb 26, 2009
    Quote:He won't have to get anyone off the ground, they kill them immediately and eat them there if they are too big to move.

    I think some deer fence posts could be setup and removed whenever to hold up netting
    or ropes stretched between solid supports to hold it.

    A series of pvc hoop house supports are cheap and easy
    good luck
  10. AllCoop'dUp

    AllCoop'dUp Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Creswell, Oregon
    Not sure how tall your garden post are, but mine are 8ft to keep the deer out. I have suggested in the past to others here that you might want to try running fishing wire back and forth to deter birds of prey from swooping in. I know a Koi farmer who does that over his huge ponds and it works great. Good Luck!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: