Put a cover on coop/run to prevent HAWK kills

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by livemusic, Dec 20, 2016.

  1. livemusic

    livemusic New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Dec 20, 2016
    My gf has lost two hens to a hawk; the one a few days ago was the star of the flock, her favorite. Supreme bummer. I think it was a Cooper's Hawk, I did see it. They are medium size and very agile flyers even in the woods. Not big enough to carry a hen away, they have to eat it where killed. It sucks but it's part of nature and life. However, we can't stand this happening again.

    We can't stand to keep the hens cooped up all the time, so, for a long time, we have let them free range outside the coop into the very large run. The entire run or chicken yard, which surrounds the coop with fencing that is about 6-7 feet tall, and the total dimensions are probably 50' x 150' -- it's large. Too large to cover, it would cost way too much, I did an estimate. So, now we are considering making a covered area surrounding the coop, reducing the dimensions of the run / covered chicken yard. But, how to build?

    For a cover, I have seen people mention deer netting, fruit tree netting, poultry netting. Does anyone have an opinion on what type of netting? I could use chicken wire but it would be too heavy and cumbersome. Whatever netting is installed, I don't think it could be 'flimsy,' as there are large trees right above/surrounding the coop and some small limbs could fall from time to time. Beyond that, what type of fence posts and framing would work?

    I would think the fence posts would need to be maybe 8 feet tall to allow for some droop. Might need to install a few fence posts in the middle for support. Tall 2x4s, I wonder if those would work for fence posts? Would they rot in the ground too quickly?

    Another problem is the large trees. I would prefer to go around them with the netting but I don't know how we are going to pull that off. Might have to just make the covered part smaller and stop it at the base of each tree.

    Anyone have an idea how to build a cover?

    Anyone found a good deterrent for hawks?
     
  2. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

    64
    13
    51
    Apr 10, 2016
    This is a bad year for hawk attacks. We had netting over our secure run. It was pretty flimsy but it was mostly to keep the songbirds out, we thought. There was a hawk nest down by the creek and they would hunt in the hay fields but never came near the house for the couple years we've had chickens.

    Until this year. First time it walked into their covered run when the gate was open and killed one. Next time the gate was shut and it dived right through the netting, ripping a hole in it. Killed another hen. It couldn't get back out; see youtube link below. So get nice thick netting! We did put up chicken wire which was not an easy job. I'll post a video of the torn netting when I get on my laptop.

     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  3. livemusic

    livemusic New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Dec 20, 2016
    Your story is, exactly, as I would expect. I figured one might need to put some type of colored string or yarn or something in the netting every couple of feet or so for it to be visible such that a hawk wouldn't dive through it. What type of netting do you recommend? Did you use 4x4s for your posts? How tall are your posts? Did your netting droop a lot?

    How did you get the hawk out of the pen?
     
  4. livemusic

    livemusic New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Dec 20, 2016
    Your story is exactly what I had anticipated. That if one used netting, you would need to 'sew' a yarn or something into the netting every couple of feet so that hawks could see it and wouldn't dive through it. Any idea of type of netting to use? Did you use 4x4s for poles? How tall? Did it droop a lot? Do you know approximate dimensions of your covered run? It looks big like ours.

    How did you get the hawk out? Birds of prey are magnificent. Protected species but I wouldn't dream of killing one. It's just nature. Sure hate to lose our pets, though (hens).
     
  5. Trish1974

    Trish1974 Chillin' With My Peeps

    520
    354
    176
    Mar 16, 2016
    North Central IN
    I use deer fence over my run, but not the cheap "deer netting" they sell in small bundles in farm stores (although it looks the same). It is what deer farms use to keep their deer fenced in: https://www.deerbusters.com/?gclid=CNvaw-qLg9ECFVQ8gQodXlcE7g (You can find it cheaper on ebay; this is just an example)
    I ran some guide wires diagonal from corner post to corner post and one long line down the center for added stability. It is holding up really well under the few snows we've had. It doesn't seem to hold the snow and bog it down like everyone said it would, and I suspect that it is because it is a different caliber than the cheaper deer "netting". I also zip tied some old CDs to the top, shiny side up, so it was more visible to flying predators. So far so good...
     
  6. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

    64
    13
    51
    Apr 10, 2016
    We did have some metal wires with a green coating that supported the netting across the top of the run. It is 12' x 16'. Supposedly those would have discouraged a hawk from swooping down. I guess the hawk could have sat on the edge of the pen and torn into the netting. I didn't see it happen.
     
  7. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,477
    529
    221
    Jul 19, 2016
    Iowa
    I live by Tons of hawks.My chickens have bushes and trees to hide in.You dont need netting, chickens will naturally stay by bushes to be safe.Ive have not lost any chickens to hawks.
     
  8. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

    64
    13
    51
    Apr 10, 2016
    Master of Clucker, you made a good observation and it is the direction I was going. I plan to put up some ramadas, more places for them to hide. However, they were hiding in their coop this last attack. The dead hen was inside the coop. I did not realize that a determined hawk will walk and stalk its victim. I used to think the same as you.
     
  9. IdyllwildAcres

    IdyllwildAcres Chillin' With My Peeps

    I saw a post on here, somewhere... where they put a tall post in the center of the yard and used electric fence wire(not hot) wrapped around the post then to the fence, then 6 or 8" over and up to the post again over and over until the wire covered the whole yard. The wire was close enough to keep big birds from flying in and the hens from flying out... I bet it cost less than a couple hundred dollars.

    Gary from Idyllwild Ca here
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  10. pnwoldie

    pnwoldie Chillin' With My Peeps

    64
    13
    51
    Apr 10, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2016
  11. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,477
    529
    221
    Jul 19, 2016
    Iowa
    Yes, a hungry hawk will do whatever it can to kill.Large areas of bushes will make it very hard for a hawk to get through the sticks.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by