Keeping hawks out

Pghelp

Songster
Jul 4, 2018
197
295
146
Greater Bay Area, Vallejo, California
My son built a new chicken run for us which contains 2 coops, one for the venerable ladies and one for the young ones. It's 4x2" welded wire 14 gauge, sides, roof, and extended apron. For the first time I feel the flock is truly secure. You can use netting but that won't stop raccoons and other predators who see the chickens as their tasty treat. We have a pair of hawks who nest annually in our neighbor's tree. For me the limit was when my pullets were about 8 weeks old this summer and one of the young hawks learning to hunt swooped in and landed in the plum tree right beside me. I was yelling and waving my arms (living scarecrow, y'all!) and it looked at me like I was there for entertainment. My son started on the new run a couple of weeks later.
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rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
13,340
25,085
842
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
For me the limit was when my pullets were about 8 weeks old this summer and one of the young hawks learning to hunt swooped in and landed in the plum tree right beside me. I was yelling and waving my arms (living scarecrow, y'all!) and it looked at me like I was there for entertainment.
Yeah even having a human around isn't going to scare off some BoP. We had an owl just hanging out about 10' from the run at one point, watching us walk around, and another time a hawk went flying by hubby while he was outside next to the run (by that point the run was netted, and the hawk veered off sharply when it got close to the netting).
 

marylou442

In the Brooder
Oct 22, 2018
6
29
28
Mount Lemmon, Arizona
I live on a beautiful piece of private property surrounded by national forest on top of a mountain. I have had chickens for 4 years. Our forest is loaded with Hawks but they have never killed any of our chickens. Our 3 coups are right next to our log home and both home, greenhouse and coups are built up against a large hill in somewhat of a circle. Our coops are surrounded by mountain lion proof sturdy metal chain link fencing and our chickens have plenty of room to hang out in their large open air and sunny yard that is only accessible for hawks and predators from one small segment of the large circle. The hawks soon figured out that they can not swoop down into the chicken yard without slamming into the side of the mountain!

Having the coops etc. close to our cabin is very helpful because we can hear disturbances right away. A few weeks after we put our chickens in their new home, I was having my morning tea and I heard Mr. Peepers not crowing but almost screaming at the top of his lungs ( Mr. Peepers is my very first rooster that I hatched myself...I named him Mr. Peepers because when he hatched he was wet and mad and peep, peep peeped non stop until I was able to warm him up in a towel with a gentle blow dryer.) He was my very first hatch ever and I didn't know they all react that way at birth...okay back to the story.... I heard Mr. Peepers crowing in a strange bellowing blast , almost like the horn on an old time antique jalopy/horseless carriage . It definitely got my attention! I ran out in my nightgown to see what was going on and across our road was a fairly large, growling Bobcat on one side of our dirt driveway and Mr. Peepers on the other side of the driveway; puffed up 3 time bigger than normal with all the hens lined up 2 by 2 behind him. It was definitely a standoff between Mr. Peepers and the Big Bad Bobcat. I ran down the outside ramp ( half naked!) waving my arms and screaming at the top of my lungs and throwing every hand sized rock I could pick up, at the salivating bobcat. Finally, after what seemed like 15 to 20 minutes of Mr. Peepers bellowing and me screaming and throwing rocks at this bobcat, he finally turned around and slowly started walking back up his side of the hill. After taking about 10 steps, he turned around and took one long last look at me and Mr. Peepers. I could tell he was thinking to himself..."Maybe I could take them both out and get those juicy, clueless hens after all".....so Mr. Peepers and I both screamed at him even harder and I threw bigger rocks and Mr. Peepers puffed up his chest so much bigger I was worried he would burst himself!!

Finally, with complete disgust, that bobcat turned back around and slowly went up the hill and disappeared and never looked back AND never came back either. That was our one and only bobcat incident and it was 10 years ago! Word gets around fast in a small mountain village not only with the residents but apparently the predator population as well!

Mr. Peepers began strutted around the yard like a proud, handsome soldier coming home from war, surrounded by adoring and grateful hens and I went back to my cold tea and almost passed out from the realization that I could have easily been eaten or at least severely thrashed by a very large bobcat! After I threw up what little breakfast I had left in my stomach, I thanked God for extending grace and protection to brave Roosters and crazy chicken ladies....can I get an AMEN!!
 

lutza

In the Brooder
Aug 19, 2020
2
10
21
Interesting thread! We're in a Midwest suburb and have had a few different hawk visits and even a bald eagle circling nearby. A hawk once buzzed my head as it bailed out of low hanging spruce branch near the run. Anyway, before we got our chickies we started noticing the different squirrel noises when a hawk was around - there's a sort of warning cry they send out. Then I noticed the bluejays have some particular behaviors as well when hawks are near. Now with chickens in the yard, every time I hear the bluejays, I go to check on the chickens. If they're not hiding, they are usually super alert, heads high, and like statues. So then I will throw shelled peanuts on the shed roof near the chicken run. The bluejays love it and hang out for a bit. I'm also hoping to attract crows. Crows and bluejays are fearless when it comes to chasing away hawks. So, either I'm building an army of hawk-chasers or the jays are playing me for free peanuts. We'll see.
 

Lazy Layers

Chirping
Apr 21, 2016
17
62
92
Frog Pond, NC
My Coop
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.
Somehow you need to net over the top of your run/yard. Sounds like you've thought of everything else. Good luck.
 

KGandE

Chirping
Dec 21, 2014
16
4
77
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.
Sorry about your loss. We lost a fantastic and do a hawk year ago, and I still feel terrible about it anyway, we did put up the hot netting and so far have had success with it. I have to mend it from time to time, but it does seem to provide a deterrent at least. With the cold weather coming it will get a real test soon. Haven’t tried the owl, but did try the reflective tape. It did not seem to have any effect on anyone, it was just annoying and ugly. It also was hard to put up, at least the stuff I got, just kind of came on a roll it was not sticky and I had to tie it in knots around trees and stuff. Most of it came down and I did not replace it. I like the idea of the concrete reinforcing wire. Good luck, hope the rest of your birds stay safe
 

Vicker

Songster
Jun 28, 2014
147
247
133
Texas
Ugh, I have only seen owls decapitate Owl decoys aren't going to deter a hawk; these birds aren't generally active at the same time of day to have much experience with each other. Crows and hawks are natural enemies, though. Since using LIFE-LIKE crow decoys and adding black chickens to the flock, I have not experienced a single "hawking". I saw this tip and tried it after witnessing crows chase a hawk away that had landed near the coop. I've since seen crows chasing hawks over the entire property. I suppose the effectiveness of crow decoys and black chickens depends on how aggressive the crows are in a particular area. Luckily mine are super heroes. Now to prevent further losses to owls, I just had to start ensuring that the birds go in at dusk and then close the door. I had an owl go inside a small door and pull one out at night.
 

Mistycarmony84

In the Brooder
Aug 25, 2020
17
16
23
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.
Get a few black australorps; hawks think they are crows and will stay away.
 

CassieD

In the Brooder
Apr 12, 2020
22
23
26
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.
We have tons of hawks flying around at all times. We also have owls at night but the girls are locked up. Our coop sits inside a fenced area right next to our garage. We have hawk netting (not standard bird netting you would use in a garden to protect your tomatoes) stretched/secured over the top of the whole thing although there’s a little gap at the fence. I have a bunch of shaggy bits hanging around the gate to discourage anything with wings.
We’ve had this set up for a year come February and so far so good. The netting can cover a really large area, ours is only 15’ x 5’ so it was easy to hammer in nails and attach the netting.
 

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