Protecting from hawks?


Chicken Fan Club President
Premium Feather Member
16 Years
Jan 18, 2008
SE Massachusetts
Has anyone ever had any trouble with hawks? Just wondering cause I just saw one circling overhead and I've been seeing a lot more lately** but this one worried me because he was circling for kind of a while before my dog came out from under the bush, you could tell he was looking for lunch and if I had had chickens, my precious little babies would have been it. :(

**There used to be a lot but they left for a long time but I guess are back**

I'm also worried because while we have a lot of plants next to the house and we're set back in some woods, the front lawn is wide open and, considering there really aren't many other wooded or open areas besides the pond and cranberry bogs nearby, we're kind of prime habitat for a lot of animals, unfortunately. Used to love it but not if we're getting chickens.

I guess my question is how do you even protect from hawks, if possible? Obviously it's not exactly feasible to put netting across the whole yard but maybe I could put a crate or some ort of little shelter down there for the chickens to run into if they're way down in the bowl and not near any hiding places?

As mentioned, we also have a dog, and he does bark at people walking by/is pretty protective so I'm hoping he'd extend that to chickens but I'm not sure.

I told the dog there was a hawk and he didn't come out till the second time I said "hawk" but the hawk did move to over the trees instead of our lawn then left.

The dog does NOT know what hawk means but he knows "squirrel" "bird" etc and he knows a worried tone when he hears one plus I'm mean and always go "whats there?" "who's that?" etc. So I'm hoping maybe he can learn "hawk" or at least a general "danger" for all the predators but we'll see. He's half Pyrenees though.

But the problem I had was he was pretty paranoid and looked around the yard, even checked around the corner, but I could not, and can never, for the life of me get him to look up and actually SEE the hawk so he decided nothing was wrong. Now, if the hawk actually came down, I'm sure he'd react, but hopefully he would notice things beforehand.

Though hopefully even just his, and my own, presence will be enough to deter predators.

Obviously though the dog is not the only or even main line of defense and I hear some predators can be really bold so how do I protect from that?

Besides keeping them in a run their whole lives.

I should mention that too actually, I'm aware of the dangers of free ranging but would love to try it. I know I'll probably inevitably lose some birds but I'd like to do whatever I can to prevent that.

The large breed chickens really shouldn't be a problem. I would worry more over raccoon, foxes and neighborhood dogs. Unfortunately because of dogs, I do have to keep mine in an enclosed run 24/7. If those aren't a problem for you then you shouldn't have much of an issue as long as you take special precautions while they're babies. A rooster would make a good warning system and places nearby to find cover will make the flock feel safer.
Thanks for the tips!

We do have raccoons and foxes but I've never really seen them and I think we only have one fox family. Might not even be a family, might just be one silver fox. He's the only one I've ever seen. Though obviously even just one could be bad.

We don't have loose dogs but I do worry about the other predators.

Now, do they attack during the day and in the wide open too or is that more of a nighttime or trying to get into the coop type of thing?

Unfortunately, despite having almost 3 acres, we're the only one that does and surrounded by condos and houses, including neighbors only a few feet away in the back, so I think roosters are a no go :(

We're technically allowed them but I doubt the neighbors would appreciate that hahah
They're usually a night time or a twilight hunter but its not unheard of for them to hunt earlier so it may be best to provide a run for them. That way you can better control when they come and go, and if you have think you're not going to be there before dark to put them away, they have somewhere safe to be scratch around without being stuck in the coop. Just train them to return with food, otherwise they will push later into the evening before heading back and the predators will find them.
That makessense, thanks again for the info :)

I definitely plan on having a run anyways but just dont want them there all the time, you know?
We have, I believe, a couple hawks obliterating my flock. At first we thought it was a fox or coyote. My girls are going on lock down tomorrow. After a few days, I'm hoping the hawk will move on to better hunting grounds. For now, I am devastated.


I am hoping my adultish kids' old ikea umbrellas will provide a little shelter while chickens are free ranging for short periods. Perhaps the eyes on the umbrellas will scare the hawks too?
Following up to the my post about using the umbrellas with eyes...It worked until yesterday twilight. No chickens lost , but the biggest hawk I ever saw landed in the yard when the chickens were out. They dove for cover and I ran toward he hawk and he did take off. However, he flew back and landed on the chimney and was not scared away by our frantic waving of sticks. We tossed a pine cone and he dove for it. Flew off, but then was back later on the streetlight across the street. Not timid at all. Chickens are under lock and key again.

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