Keeping hawks out

Stephanie8806

Chirping
Feb 18, 2019
217
234
91
Central Washington State
As to keeping out hawks/other flying raptors....

I think even with flashing/flapping things, it is best if you change it up.

The same old, same old... and after a time they get used to it. But then I think I have an insanely high number of raptors.
Thank you for your input! Although I “only” have two hawks frequenting our coop area, no one can advise better than people who deal with them a lot!

I’m hoping that the aviary netting tangle factor is sufficiently discouraging, until I can get around to planning something more sturdy/permanent.
 

Stephanie8806

Chirping
Feb 18, 2019
217
234
91
Central Washington State
We have alot problems with hawks as well but usually they take the whole body I find that fake owls help a lot but make sure you move them time to time
Thank you for your experience! I think what spurred these attacks was the super heavy fog we had that day. I’ve been told by a few people that hawks will often attack chickens and just eat the heads in an effort to shut them up... apparently the noise and general commotion chickens makes interfere with the hawks hunting. Which was likely compounded in the fog. Which makes sense.

Maybe I’ll try all of it 😂
 

Stephanie8806

Chirping
Feb 18, 2019
217
234
91
Central Washington State
Would have to be a pretty big hawk and a pretty small bird for a hawk to be able to take off with the whole thing.
Good point. All my birds are pretty big too. I don’t have any bantams. They are all full sized, dual purpose, cold hardy birds. But hawks seem to be pretty strong for their body size anyways. Who knows! There is always “usual” behavior, but just when you think you know what an animal will do, it tends to surprise you.
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
Jul 26, 2008
32,344
62,172
1,392
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
Good point. All my birds are pretty big too. I don’t have any bantams. They are all full sized, dual purpose, cold hardy birds. But hawks seem to be pretty strong for their body size anyways. Who knows! There is always “usual” behavior, but just when you think you know what an animal will do, it tends to surprise you.
Very true... and it isn't always just one predator...

The hawk could kill it, eat a bit, then something else come by and carry it off.
 

littledog

Songster
Aug 7, 2011
334
1,330
247
Puget Sound area, WA
We've lost two to hawks - we used to let them free-range under supervision, thinking that no predator would try to get them when we were right nearby, but we were wrong! The first time all we saw was a pile of feathers, so just guessed it was some bird of prey, but the second time Mr. Dog was just a few feet away! His back was turned, and he heard the loud flapping of large wings. He assumed it was the rooster, but when he turned around there was unmistakably a hawk flying away with one of our hens in its talons. So I can attest that hawks CAN carry away a normal-sized chicken. This one was big, a body about as big as the rooster, with about a 4-foot wingspan.

Needless to say, we don't let them range any more! The poultry wire over the top of the run seems to be doing the job. One time a walked out there in the evening and there was an owl sitting on top, trying to figure out a way in. It didn't even fly away when it saw me - I was able to get pretty close! Beautiful animal, but I'm happy for it to stay away.
 

BiddyBiddy

Songster
May 12, 2018
106
182
142
North Carolina
Hey there all! This week we lost two chickens to a hawk, both decapitated, one in the run and one in the coop through the chickens door. We are sure it was a hawk. Part of our run is going to be able to be completely closed off, but for the rest I’m entertaining several options for the other portion of the run. I’m here to see what actually works and what isn’t worth the time or money.

Our run has 9 foot high fencing, with no roof or barrier over the top apart from the branches of a MASSIVE Douglas fir that cover the open air part of the run(roughly 25’x18’). The tree is the reason we haven’t had hawk trouble until now, I think, as a hawk isn’t able to fly and dive like it normally does. Because of the steep grade of our landscape, heavy winter snowfall, and asymmetrical layout of the run, installing actual fencing or solid roof would be incredibly complicated and cost prohibitive.

We are going to be hanging aviary netting of some sort, but I have also been reading that reflective tape products and owl decoys can have a decent effect on deterring birds of prey. Have you had luck with any of these methods, or any others?

We live in the mountains, the coop is off grid, the coop itself is extremely well built and only needs a change in location of the chicken door to become essentially bear proof. And although not ramshackle, the run is a bit more of a little rustic construct. We do free range our birds and have never had problems. I’m about as “okay” as one can be with the idea that sometimes predation is going to happen, but I’m annoyed that it happened in the run, and simply infuriated that the coop became compromised. Just trying to do my best to keep their home sacred and increase the protection in their fenced run.
I have aviary netting over my run and it works great! It’s pretty sturdy and has only broken when a decent sized branch falls on it from surrounding trees. But it’s easy to repair. It’s been 3 years now and it’s still going strong. Maybe a bit easier to tear now but I seldom have to fix any holes. I got mine on Amazon and was about $50, but that was for a 50’ x 50’ net. I live in an area where hawks are very active and see them eyeing my girls from just above in the trees at least once a week (and that’s just ones Ive seen while doing chores outside) Haven’t had one loss yet! I’m definitely happy I got it.
 

CampDandT

In the Brooder
Oct 11, 2019
6
10
21
We have a hawk that lives down the street at the park. It sounds like we live in two very different environments (we are in the Midwest suburbs) but we’ve seen them out and had our girls attacked twice.

From our experience, the owl decoys don’t work. We actually had a hawk perch on the head of the owl decoy and it had only been up for a few days. Similar to the reflection of the CDs, Mylar balloons work surprisingly well. We had scored a few leftover from a party and tied them in various places in our backyard. I do think they worked for the time they were inflated. Not sure if it’s the constant motion of them flailing in the wind, the shiny reflection or a combo of the two but it seemed to keep them away.

Since then, we haven’t had any problems but also have limited the free range time when the cover in the yard is pretty nonexistent during the fall/winter.

Good luck! I walked in on a hawk mid-lunch and it stared at me with evil eyes. Didn’t even flinch when it saw me. Just stared me down.
 

ItsAWonder

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2020
8
48
28
I have absolutely no experience, but from my research, I built a scarecrow and move her around the chicken run every other day. I also built my run along the fenceline of our fenced in portion of the back yard, and have 3 big dogs that are in/out all day/night, at no particular time, so there's no schedule on that. And the neighbor on that side has their dog chained up out back and is barking all the time. And I have a whirlygig on the corner fence post that is also shiny. From my research, these things are more deterrent than the fake owls, and the scarecrow was free and fun to build. I also planted a barberry bush and a juniper inside the run (so far) to give the chicks some cover. Until everything is complete, I am also out in the run or working in the yard when weather permits, which is also a deterrent. We do plan to build a chicken wire cover once we get the hen house built. Best wishes.
 

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