How to deter hawks?

Harmony Fowl

Songster
Jul 17, 2017
601
1,069
246
Virginia
I'm glad for all the suggestions and ideas here. I had let my six hens out this morning and walked into the garage to grab a garbage bag for coop cleaning when in those few seconds, a hawk came down and tried to grab a chicken. I heard nothing, but exited the garage to find my shyest hen running toward me instead of away from me. What came through the brush next, I thought it was another hen, flying to escape some normal chicken dispute, but then it went higher and my brain clicked: that's not a chicken! No one was injured, thankfully. The hawk was the only one to lose feathers! Two hens are wet like they were rolling around in the dewy grass; I suspect my dominant hen tried to interrupt an attack. The hawk flew up to a neighbor's tree, so I decided to put coop cleaning off for tomorrow and let the chickens hide for now while I know the hawk is around. They're in a suburban backyard for now, no geese or turkeys or goats possible, but I will be on the lookout for things to provide shelter in the open yard both for now and later when I hope to move them to a larger property. But geez, I was right there and it flew right by me. It wasn't a large space at all, a couple of feet between two trees and a shed. Yikes!
 

CourtsCacklers

Songster
6 Years
Feb 18, 2013
195
22
116
Northern Ohio
My Coop
My Coop
We live in a subdivision with a fenced in back yard-- we had a hawk attempt an attack a couple weeks ago but did not succeed. I kept the chickens in for a couple days and then back to normal. Two days ago I was right out with them and fed scratch right outside our mini-barn under a mulberry tree that has lower hanging branches for cover. My little 4 lb mini pig was out with me. I walked in the shed and thirty seconds to a minute later a hawk attempted to grab my mini-pig. "Ollie" had not been out long so I know that the hawk had to be in a high tree watching the chickens but opted to attack Ollie instead since he was an easier target. Ollie died from his injuries from the talons. Ollie was an inside pig and my family and I are devastated from the loss. Yesterday, the hawk was back and swooped after the chickens again. I was wondering if the person with the fake crows had any success. BTW-- my sheepdog scared the hawk away-- otherwise my pig would have been gone. As soon as I heard the feather dispersing noise from the chickens moving I ran back out and my sheepdog was right with my Ollie who was immobile on the ground. I can trust my two sheepdogs with my flock 100%. The problem is-- I don't think they always realize the aerial predator until it's too late-- atleast for Ollie or almost too late. My roosters do ALARM very well when a hawk comes down. They are very effective at alarming but I had everyone pre-occupied with scratch. I'm am not feeling very good about my decision that day now.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
4,099
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
Hopefully that's true; when we found the hens they were pretty torn to shreds. Not a great thing for the kids to see.
It often takes a hawk an hour or longer of struggle and nibbling around the edges of a hen to complete the kill. This is what the Missouri Chicken Whisper means when he said that the killing process with hawks is "very unpleasant" I might add it is not pleasant to watch and it is certainly not pleasant from the chickens' point of view. There are many instances on this web sight that chickens have been rescued from the clutches of hawks and made a full recovery. Well not exactly a full recovery because large portions of the chicken went missing.

Oh, and from what I've read, the hawks [when dive bombing] hit the chicken with such force that it breaks their neck....
Just talking points agreed to over a latte at Trader Joes.

Falcons on the other hand hunt flying prey and they often hit it 1,000s of feet in the air. If the falcon doesn't kill its prey out right then the fall will likely finish the job.


I have plenty of cover for my chickens to use throughout the day....
Don't wish tree cover on your chickens. Hawks, as opposed to falcons launch most of their attacks from the comfy limb of a tree. If this was not so then all the hawks in the world would have their hip joints driven up past their shoulders because the hawks would be hitting grounded prey.

Falcons are like fighter jets, while hawks are more like crop dusters.
BTW, I don't know of an instance where a falcon killed a chicken although the misnamed goshawk is in reality a falcon who hunts at low altitude and may take chickens, but thankfully I am goshawk free.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
8,048
4,099
431
Big Bend of the Tennessee River's Right Bank.
.... I cannot believe the audacity of the hawk. I threw rocks at it to get it to leave and it just sat and watched. It had no fear......
50 years ago no hawk would even sit in a tree or on a powerline and allow a human to drive past him. You see all the farmers carried a loaded shotgun in the cab of their pickup truck. Therefor any hawk who set around to long was apt to catch a load of #4 shot.

Now after being protected out the yazoo I expect hawks to perch on your shoulders while scoping out which one of your chickens to kill for a quick mid day snack.
 

Aneesa's Muse

Songster
11 Years
Jun 8, 2008
999
2
164
SF Bay Area
I'm sorry to read about so many losses. I've lost 7 of 12 ducklings, in less than a week. Two 3.5 yo standard size dairy goats live in the same fenced area as my ducks and ducklings. I also have a big dog. And quite a few deterrents hanging from trees, etc. Even a decent crow population.

Nothing has worked. I came outside first thing this morning to find the hawk sitting on a low branch...

#frustrated
 

Granitestater

Chirping
Jul 19, 2019
61
94
58
I have also lost hens to Hawks. I have a 20 by 30 space fenced off in my back yard I used the yellow tape used at crime scenes and construction crews and strung it every 2 feet back and forth at the top of fence, it flaps in the breeze and Hawks are afraid of getting wings hung in it so they have give up so far..my wife says it looks likes a redneck solution but if it works I don't care.
Cute picture Teppler
 

Granitestater

Chirping
Jul 19, 2019
61
94
58
We had a new neighbor move in next door. They have been building and erecting things like crazy. One day my husband said, "know what those things are?" On each side of their property were long metal poles with a cross bar at the top. I was not happy to hear what they were, watch roost for hawks. Oh my gosh I thought, here I am trying to watch the sky and protect my chickens and a predator lover has moved in next door. I don't hate or even dislike the Red Tail Hawks but I've lost too many chickens to them AND they ARE protected here in California. So what I've been doing is tossing out bread and fruit scraps to the chickens and the crows come in and snatch some of it. They have even make nest in two of our trees. You may ask, so what? The crows will not tolerate hawks in their area, they dive bomb them until they fly off! Now we haven't lost a chicken to the hawks since!

Another thing you can do is make a short legged platform and set it in the chicken yard, they will run under it if they spot a hawk or shadow of a large bird. All it takes is for the rooster to sound out his alarm and the hens will run for cover. We don't have a rooster so one of the senior hens sound the alarm if she suspects danger.

Hope this helps!
Now this is helpful; didn't know that about crows!
 

Granitestater

Chirping
Jul 19, 2019
61
94
58
Unfortunately we suffered a hawk attack on Monday of this past week here in Kentucky. It must have been a smaller hawk as it didn't kill my Silver Laced Wyandotte but she was injured severely. She had been pecked in the eye, the butt feathers completely stripped and neck feathers on left side with a very deep hole in her neck. We rushed her to our vet who said she had a 50/50 chance. Luck and some strong medical care were on her side. She is doing much better, clucking and carrying on (might be the pain meds) but are happy she is acting like a normal chicken. The attack totally made me ill as I was the one who caught it in the act. We have a very secure pen and coop but was letting them free-range for a few hours each day. Now I wait until late in the afternoon and have been outside with them each day, and have a bb gun on me at all times. I know this isn't always feasible and am looking for ways to make our place unattractive. We have a rooster, he is a Buff Cochin and not very aggressive. He does keep an eye out and crows like crazy when the hawks come around, the hens (all 21) just ignore him! My husband read the crows will run off hawks....anyone familiar with this?
I r recently caught a hawk on my hen, was alerted by the flock going crazy. Ripped her neck apart but like you w veterinary care she is doing well. Interestingly she had never laid an egg but after 8 days on antibiotics and living in the house she starting laying large eggs! Now reintegrate into flock the boys are jumping her which never before. But question for you re: bbgun. I know nothing a guns. Could you tell me how to use it, cost, safety, whatever I should know? Will it not kill but scare them away? Is that your hope? Thanking you in advance😊
 
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