encouraging crows???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by canesisters, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2011
    I may be way off here but I was wondering if there were ways to encourage crows to hang around.
    I have a large flock (gang, I think) of them that wander around over the 4 or 5 farms around me. When they are around, they give the hawks all kinds of grief - [​IMG]. I've never seen that they have any interest what so ever in my chickens. So I was wondering if there were any ways to encourage them to spend a little more time in my area. Sorta like feral, flying guard dogs.
    1 person likes this.
  2. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    I don't know why you would want to. They kill chicks and half grown chickens, steal eggs, eat your poultry and pet food, and take off with any small shiny objects that you leave laying around. Crows are loud and the noise they make is rather unpleasant.

    At least the hawks take chickens and leave you the eggs and feed. It is only a very few breeds of hawk that will kill chickens. Most of them don't. The hawks help to control vermin, which crows do not do.
  3. ChicksandWeeds

    ChicksandWeeds Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2012
    Northern California
    i noticed when i had a compost pile with kitchen scraps that they like it ....have some around, but not too close to the coop and covered run ....
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    They seem to ignore my chickens but I'm outside so much they are very skittish. I agree - the hawks that are also around seem to become scarce when crows are about. I have no love for crows but I'll take them over hawks when it comes to my chickens.
    1 person likes this.
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    I agree with redsoxs. And will add this. Crows in my opinion don't run off hawks so much as they act like a neighborhood watch volunteer.
    Notice that anytime a small flock of crows is feeding there is at least one and sometimes two or more sentry crows perched high up and close by. When crows see or hear a hawk the whole flock goes into bloody murder mode, thus spreading the alarm to near by wildlife, your chickens included. It is therefore to the hawks' advantage to hunt where the crows aren't. Just my 2ยข worth.

    Oh yea, and by the way. If you are into growing your own fresh vegetables be careful about attracting crows. They can (not saying that they will) cause more damage to your home based food supply than a hawk will.
  6. harveyhorses

    harveyhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2010
    The crows in my area do not deter hawks one bit, They are load, and the hawks just ignore them. They will go after young/small chickens, tear your garden up, along with any birdfeeders you might have. They also harass my old cat.
    There were 6 crows on the ground around my bird feeder and two hawks in a tree not 50 feet away.
    I hate crows.
  7. jdywntr

    jdywntr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    You can offer corn, even dried cobs for them. If they are naturally in your area, you may not need to offer feed to them.

    Here, the crows take off after hawks whenever they see them. I have watched the crows going after them in the trees and then chasing them over several acres until they go down the other side of the mountain and I can't see them anymore. I have had hawk attacks and losses but I'd rather deal with the crows ( who I have never seen land on the property or anywhere near the coop) and deal with potential egg/chick problems. I have 13, now six week old ducklings that have been out with mom since 1 week old and the crows still never bothered them.

    I sent my geese to freezer camp and now the chickens will alert to the cry of the crows when they are going after something.

    If I had to, I would put out feed in order to encourage them to stay but they are around here in droves. I'd rather potentially lose some eggs or chicks to crows than a grown bird to a hawk.

    I think a flock of crows is called a murder. Weird.
    1 person likes this.
  8. Nambroth

    Nambroth Fud Lady

    Apr 7, 2011
    Western NY
    My Coop
    I see a lot of both sides for crows, so I will attempt to touch on it all. It is unhelpful to lump all crows together as 'always this way' because it's simply untrue!

    Your, or anyone else's experience with crows will vary depending on the local crow population and what they are used to.

    Not all crows are going to be hawk deterrents. Just as not all crows are going to ruin everything on your property. They are wild, intelligent animals and they develop very strong habits that different from region to region and neighborhood to neighborhood.

    Urban crows tend to be very human-savvy. They usually don't have to deal with as many predators and may be very blase about hawks.
    Suburban crows tend to be a mixed bag. They are used to people, dogs, noise. There are also a lot of hawks in suburban settings, and it just really depends on what the family unit of crows that you have around thinks of hawks! Some have learned to hate them, while others don't care. It also seems to depend on the species of hawk in how they react.
    Rural crows are generally the most likely to have smaller family units and are the most likely to not only warn about hawks, but actually drive them away-- especially during breeding season. Rural crows tend to be the most spooky around humans and our pets... rural crows may have been shot at.

    The effectiveness of crows, and other hawk-hating birds such as jays, magpies, mockingbirds, and a few other songbirds, depends on your ability to observe these birds and react accordingly. If this sounds like too much work, then you should invest your efforts into more concrete ways of deterring hawks, such as a covered run for the chickens. But, using cues from wild birds can be helpful in some situations.
    Try to observe your local birds, and how they react to predators. Around here, the crows, jays, catbirds and chickadees will start screaming when they see a hawk, or a ground predator. They are often my first indicator that something is wrong, as they have better eyesight than we do. If you are keen on letting them help play sentry, then it's worth it to spend a little time to get used to their calls, and which ones mean "Danger".

    Crows have a fairly large range. Unless you own over a hundred acres or more, it's likely that any crows you see have your property as only part of their range. Therefore the first thing to understand about crows is that they will not always be there to 'help'. Even if you encourage them to visit often, you will have lapses in 'crow surveillance' and it's important to remember that their 'help' should only be part of your protective measures for your birds. You should never rely on crows alone to protect against hawks!

    Depending on the species, crows tend to enjoy nesting in conifers, especially pines. Nesting crows on your property is a good thing as they will rarely tolerate a bird of prey in the area while they are raising young. Young crows are predated on by raptors such as hawks and owls regularly, and crows will very often mob, harass, and otherwise carry on if there is a hawk in the area where they are nesting.

    If you want to encourage crows and jays, here are some tips:
    • - Choose a crow feeding area away from your home and chicken coop/outbuildings. This should be a location where items put out for the crows can be seen from the air. I use an old woodpile at the edge of the woods.
    • - Offer foods that crows enjoy, such as leftover bones and meaty scraps from your dinners, nuts, etc. Meat and peanuts are some of their favorites. Try to avoid human junk food, salty, fatty, sugary things... in excess... it might be tempting as a way to get rid of old bread and such but these items are especially bad for wild animals in any quantity.
    • - Don't offer eggs (if you have old eggs, your chickens would love them, no need to waste them). You don't want to teach crows that your yard is a source for eggs! That is a whole other problem.
    • - If you do offer food, consider putting it out only early in the day so that the crows have a chance to find it and clean it up. You are NOT looking to accidentally attract other predators to your yard, like raccoons, stray dogs, bears! The first few times you may need to offer these foods while there are crows around so they see you putting them out. If the food isn't cleaned up by the crows by nightfall, consider discontinuing this practice, because you could make things worse by encouraging nocturnal predators into your property.
    • - Be aware that crows are smart, and opportunistic. If you give them easy access to your eggs, they can and will steal eggs. If you give them easy access to baby chicks, they will eat those too. Do you know of many predators that don't delight in baby chickens though? I don't! Nearly everything loves a chicken nugget sized meal. If you protect your chicks and eggs then you should not have this problem.
    • - Remember that each situation is different. These methods may work beautifully for some, and not at all for others. Use common sense and observations to figure out what's working, and what isn't.

    Crows have a very keen memory, and will not only have they been proven to remember individual humans faces, but they remember which ones were unkind to crows in the past (and which ones put out yummy treats). They teach this to their offspring. Therefore it is important not to accidentally teach them something you don't want them knowing, such as 'this is a good place to get eggs'.
    3 people like this.
  9. Haunted55

    Haunted55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2012
    Central Maine
    Nambroth, this is an excellent post! I live in a very isolated and rural setting and have used the crows as indicators of of raptor activity for years. I have even seen the crows diving at a bear that was too close to their nest. They can be loud, but in my opinion, that is a good thing. If the crows are screeching there's a very good chance there's something out there you might not want around. I have never had problems with crows in my gardens, bears, moose and deer, never crows.
    1 person likes this.
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    Here is a good link to help us understand the relationships between crows and hawks, and crows and falcons.

    About the first minute of this video shows a hawk being harassed by just two crows, notice the wing shape, wing diminutions, and the body size difference between the hawk and the falcon. Also look at how hawks want to stay close to the trees and hug the cover, this is because hawks can maneuver through and between branches and trees by virtue of their broad wings with large control surfaces. A hawks' wings generate a lot of lift at relatively slow speeds. In other words, by comparison to the falcon the hawk flies about as well as a hot air balloon. The two crows easily sends the hawk packing. The falcon on the other hand uses a fighter pilot tactic called trading altitude for speed, and speed for altitude.

    The final part of the video shows a peregrine falcon harassing about 30 oops... better make that 29 crows.

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