Our First-Year Redneck Backyard Hawk Deterrent Disco Cone!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Grizzly Mills, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. Grizzly Mills

    Grizzly Mills Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2012
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    So, winter's here and everything's finally winding down around our place. We had a fantastic first summer with our girls, 4 beautiful Buff Orpingtons we got as chicks back in late February. They had fun helping dad in the garden, chasing cabbage moths and scratching out earthworms.
    Anyway, I wanted to post on here about something I made to deter hawks at our place. We live in northern Colorado, on the plains but not far from the mountains and have a pair of red-tailed hawks who live nearby, also a pair of nesting bald eagles who've been around lately. Our girls free-range all over our property (2 acres with several outbuildings and plenty of fresh green grass), at least when we're home and able to keep an eye on them, when we leave we put them away to keep them safe from predators. After a close call this summer where I heard a commotion in our driveway and looked out the kitchen window to see Sophia and Blanch race across the yard raising a ruckuss and a hawk flapping up after he tried to get one of them, I decided I had to do something because I refuse to lose one of those girls.

    I worked a stint this summer a few months at a Ranch store and bought some hideous inflatable yellow balloon with reflective eyes that supposedly works to ward off hawks and other birds of prey (blank stare).... (crickets). Anyway I decided I'd rather have a tacky yellow balloon hanging in our yard than having our chickens killed. It seemed to do the trick, the hawks who usually hang out on telephone poles near our place seemed to disappear and I rarely heard them calling from nearby properties. The problem with the balloon was the wind we have here, which we get a lot of, and a lot of times gusts up to 70 mph, more than once I could be seen running across the neighbors field chasing that thing. I decided I would take the reflective eye aspect of the balloon and make something that would hang more permanently from the eve of our barn. I went to Michaels and got a cardboard cone, about 14 inches tall and maybe 5 inches wide at the base (I would suggest getting something more permanent and weather resistant but I was experimenting and will use better supplies when I have to replace the one I have), a few bags of those small 1" mirror tiles, and some construction adhesive from Lowe's. Came home and basically tiled those little mirrors all over that cone then hung it like a windchime so it could spin in the wind. It works like a charm. I haven't seen one hawk since, now I'm not guaranteeing this will definitely work but it seems to work for us. I watch the girls closer when it's cloudy but when the sun shines you can see reflections all over our property, and what's great is the angle of the cone angles straight up into the sky and spins around casting reflections all over.

    I'll have to take a photo of it when I get a chance, it's nothing aesthetically pleasing but better than the ginormous yellow eye balloon, I plan on making a few more before next summer and putting them on other corners of the property. Hope this idea might help someone else. It's worth a try.
     
    2 people like this.
  2. aafairchild

    aafairchild Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 24, 2012
    I would love to see a pic of this. I have red tails here in TX as well and have lost a couple of young chicks. My older hens are a bit too big to be interesting to most hawks, but I love this idea. I have tin pie plates and kids pinwheels stuck all over the place and this sound like it might work better. Please post pics when possible.


    Thanks
    Alice
     
  3. Grizzly Mills

    Grizzly Mills Out Of The Brooder

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    Northern Colorado
    [​IMG]
    Like I said, it's not aesthetically pleasing but it does the trick. I think I'll make nicer looking ones this spring. Hope this helps. Make sure you hang it so it can spin easily.
     
    3 people like this.
  4. DawnB

    DawnB Chillin' With My Peeps

    What a great idea...how did the cardboard cone hold up to weather...do you think the foam cones would be too heavy with the tiles?
     
  5. ladybirdb12

    ladybirdb12 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow what a great ideal, I just got my chickens about four weeks ago ..been using fishing line, but they are not free roaming ..
    You know maybe you can make these and sell them ...just an ideal, ask your place that you buy feed and see if you can sell them ....:)
     
  6. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    Ditto on it being a great idea. I was just outside listening to the hawks,and hoping for the best. I am going to make a few to hang!
     
  7. mrsteiner

    mrsteiner Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 28, 2011
    Davison, MI
    What an awesome idea. The reflections don't bother your chickens?
     
  8. SallyinIndiana

    SallyinIndiana Overrun With Chickens

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    I will look into making some for my run area. Thank you for a great idea.
     
  9. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northeast Texas
    Does Dancing With The Stars know that you are making really cool looking mirror disco cones that are in direct competition with their mirror ball trophy?? [​IMG] You could start a new TV show titled "Chickens Dancing Without Hawks Or Eagles" [​IMG]
     
  10. Grizzly Mills

    Grizzly Mills Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2012
    Northern Colorado
    It's holding up so far but we don't get much moisture in our neck of the woods, I would imagine it'd get kind of soggy if it rained a lot, plus we have it hanging beneath the corner of the roof which overhangs our barn pretty far. I'm thinking I may replace the cardboard cone idea with an upside down plastic funnel this spring, one of those long narrow ones, or at least something shaped like a cone that's plastic. I wouldn't imagine foam being any heavier than the cardboard actually, that cardboard cone is pretty thick. The foam one might actually be lighter and I like the weight of the cardboard one with the mirrors on it (they add a lot of weight), it doesn't swing around violently in the wind we get here but is light enough to spin in a gentle breeze.

    As for it scaring the chickens, I haven't noticed it bothering them at all. They roam around the yard like they don't even notice it, but I would imagine hens would get used to it if it freaked them out the first time they saw the reflections. The best part about it is how it angles upward, so the reflections shoot pretty high up on any structure walls, you could probably adjust this by hanging it higher too, or getting a cone with a broader side.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2012

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