How To Keep Hawks Away?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by justmejulie, Oct 6, 2017.

  1. justmejulie

    justmejulie In the Brooder

    Jun 24, 2015
    This morning we had our first experience with a chicken hawk.

    We live in a suburban area, with a small coop and four chickens: 2 barred rocks, a golden sex link and a white silkie. Luckily, we were right by the window and saw the hawk drop down, so we ran outside and shooed it away. At first we were scared because we could only find one chicken out of the four, and lots of feathers on the ground. It turns out that the one we found ran into the coop, and the other three found hiding spots around the yard. We are scared that the hawk will come back soon.

    As far as protection goes, we allow our chickens to scratch around the yard during the day, and keep the coop open for them to lay as they please, and then lock the pen up around 7pm. We have two boxers and two cats that get along with the chickens, and we usually let them out every few hours for a half-hour to an hour, or until they scratch at the door.

    We have tried keeping the chickens in the coop, but they throw a huge hissy fit and squak until they are let out. We don't want our neighbors to file a complaint about noise. I looked into a net, but the way our backyard is set up it wouldn't work. Is there anything, such as a fake-owl or something along those lines to keep away hawks? We love our chickens dearly and don't want anything to happen to them. Any help or ideas will be greatly appreciated
    penny1960 likes this.
  2. MillersFarm

    MillersFarm Easily distracted by Chickens

    Jun 3, 2016
    Lewiston NY
    We have a breeding pair of red-tail hawks whose been nesting very close to our chickens. And so I've found that putting up fake crows or owls on our chicken fencing/coop tend to scare them away. other than that theres really no way to get rid of them.
    penny1960 and justmejulie like this.
  3. Dayrel

    Dayrel Songster

    Mar 18, 2017
    Losing chickens occasionally to predators is the price of free ranging. A good quality covered run is the best way to protect them while allowing them more room for exercise and to act like chickens.

    I use a chicken tractor and supervised free ranging which is a compromise to allow fresh greens for my girls while keeping them protected, but it isn't for everyone.
    penny1960, sourland and justmejulie like this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

    Glad you didn't actually lose any birds. It'll probably be back.

    I free range also and have lost a couple birds... 1 maybe even to a crow.

    I have heard, but no personal experience... that a fishing line tied across will help detour them.

    My hawks are not always here and only occasional visitors. So I take the risk. But I completely understand why some cannot let their birds range, their risk is MUCH greater. And that might even vary by season.

    You will have to decide which is actually in your best interest. The birds will protest especially if that isn't their norm, as they are creatures of habit and change is upsetting. However, if that's what you need to do to save their lives.. they will get over it and adjust. There are things you can do to make the run more entertaining like a compost/scratching section. And if you do need to go that route, there is no need for guilt about locking your birds up. It after all it is to protect them. I did think about that fake owl, but wondered if it would stress my birds always thinking a predator is lurking. Especially because I wan't to keep away the rats. The bobble head owls would be best IMO, as birds simply aren't easily fooled for too long by something that doesn't ever move.

    Best wishes finding your solution and figuring what works best for you! :pop
    Farmer Connie and justmejulie like this.
  5. Molpet

    Molpet Crossing the Road

    fake owls and reflective tape did not seem to bother my hawks.. neither did an air horn blasted every time I seen one.. the dog is the only thing that deters my hawks
    justmejulie likes this.
  6. Zoomie

    Zoomie Songster

    Dec 6, 2015
    Mora, NM USA
    Simplest is to keep the chickens in the run. There really isn't any fool-proof way to keep hawks from flying to whatever part of the open sky they want to fly to.

    I *have* to keep my chickens in the run or I would quickly lose them all to the many predators I have here, right next to the National Forest. But that's OK. The chickens are fine, they have plenty of room, and I can enjoy the hawks and wildlife.
    sourland and justmejulie like this.
  7. peckpeckpeck

    peckpeckpeck Songster

    Aug 3, 2017
    Aloha OR
    Hawks are scary & so glad all your chooks are safe!

    We had a scare of a cat, herd of dogs & a hawk within 1 week. We added a fence & put up some bird netting here & there but there's no way to keep the whole yard (1/3 acre) netted. So now we keep the girls locked up unless we're here to supervise.

    For sure, the girls squawked up a storm :mad::barnie:mad: for a couple weeks & we were also scared that the neighbors would complain. So we went around & asked if any of them heard & were bothered by the noise & luckily they all said no. It did help that we buttered them up with promise of eggs in their future!

    You can try the owls & move them to different places every couple days. Someone said stringing fishing wire with tennis balls across any open areas helps since it limits the space hawks have for diving in & out.

    For me nothing beat the security of being close by, so that's what I chose.
    I notice now after about 1-1/2 month that the chickens only squawk if they can see me. When I move away from the windows, they quiet down & do their own thing -- the smart scheming buggers!!
    Good luck!
    justmejulie likes this.
  8. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Crowing

    Dec 20, 2008
    Central Ga.
    I have probably lost 4 or 5 birds over the years to hawks. Every time it was a Coopers hawk which I found surprising at first. I even saw one in action on my backyard security camera which was enlightening to say the least. I interrupted a hawk battling with my rooster. (The hawk was winning). A determined and experienced hawk will get one of your chickens. A younger inexperienced one is generally not as much of a threat. Obviously if you are there you are not going to let the hawk kill your chicken, but most times you go out after the fact and see the hawk fly up at your approach. (They will generally return to a kill as long as it is still edible. ) I know the hawks are smart and will actually wait til they see you go before they attack. I still let them out every day. I am not going to let them languish in their pen if they can be out in the sunshine... but it is a reality of chicken keeping. You can minimize exposures and provide lots of cover but still here and there the hawk might get one. They especially like young pullets which I found out the hard way. I used to fly roller pigeons which I gave up because of the hawks. They were far more aggressive with the smaller albeit faster pigeons. They are amazing flyers too. Roosters help. A smart dog will recognize them as a threat. Lots of cover. Lots of obstacles for the chickens to hide under... But nothing is foolproof except keeping them in their pen.
    Mahen100 likes this.
  9. I tend to agree with you. Crows don't even help unless both you and the crows are present when a hawk attacks. in this case the screams of the crows can alert you that something is amiss and a quick response on your part can save the day as well as a hen.
    hawk sitting on owl.jpeg
    peckpeckpeck and Dayrel like this.
  10. GldnValleyHens

    GldnValleyHens Crowing

    Apr 21, 2017
    Dear justmejulie, I sympathise with your problem, for I have the same one!
    Last year our fav bird, a Buff Laced Polish was murdered by a Red Tail, and we have had repeated attacks since, luckily no birds have been killed, but with another polish, a silkie and bantams, not to mention my ducks, they are at serious risk. It seems to be the same hawk every time too, hanging around.
    This is what I suggest, at least what I plan to do if I had time, to grab a shotgun and shoot at the blasted thing, not hitting it but scaring it so badly it hopefully won't return. Obviously in a suburban place, you probably can't shoot off a gun, so what I do and my best advice is to let the girls out when you are home and keep a close eye on them if possible, and rovide areas of cover so they can hide if a hawk does come, and lock them up when you leave.

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