re: ravens & crows


8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
Marin county, California
We only have 4 chickens and they're backyard chickens, plus our backyard isn't very big and has much tree cover. However, I do see hawks in our area A LOT when I'm driving. Around our home there are lots of black birds that I assumed were Ravens (I didn't realize they were different from crows till reading something on this board about it).

What I'm wondering is if my back yard might be pretty well protected from Hawks since the Ravens or Crows (not sure which and don't know how to tell when they're up in the tall redwoods) all seem to hang out back there a lot? Do I need to worry much when they're out loose in the yard on their own? I don't always sit out there with them. Here is a picture of our back yard (if the link works right) :

any advice appreciated....
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Take every precaution you can. One morning I heard crows going nuts near my house. A hawk had landed in the tree beside my house and was checking out the chickens. The crows were raising cain but the hawk wasn't giving up. It flew off only when I went outside.
Ok, thanks! Hmmm, well my secondary plan was to get a raven statue and put it in the yard on a fence, but perhaps that's not going to do much then, based on your comments.
Crows and ravens keep on guard for hawks, and will get really loud if they see a predator. If the predator doesn't give up, and the crows/ravens have a nest in the area, they can attack. Given that your hawk seemed undeterred by them, and since your chickens probably don't know to run for cover when the crows get angry, they're probably not enough to keep your chickies protected. Some folks on here keep netting over their chickens' pens. Since you've got them loose in the whole yard, you're at more of a disadvantage. You might want to only let them free-range when you're there to herd them back inside if you see trouble.
What a pretty yard!

i'm not sure you can count on crows or ravens to keep hawks away from your yard. And your yard is too big to cover it all with aviary netting. Were it me, i would keep them in an enclosed pen unless i am there to supervise. But that's just me. Many people feel it is an acceptable risk to let their chickens free-range and the chickens probably prefer the freedom. Do you have a rooster to keep an eye out and warn the girls?
Actually, we've noticed our 4 free ranging girls just freezing in place (like for a minute or so) when they spot a hawk - is that because instinctually they know the hawk doesn't "see" non-moving prey?
I've also got a few chickens under redwood trees and lots of ravens/crows. I see hawks and all the time, I've seen owls and eagles on occasion near by. I also see groups of ravens/crows chase off hawks, in fact there's at least 2 raven/crow nests in my neighbors oak tree about 100 ft away (mostly up). I let mine free range while i'm home and then lock them up in a hardware cloth enclosed run/coop while i'm away, as I've also seen or heard, within 2 miles of my house: raccoons, dogs, coyotes, bobcats, skunks, house cats, vicious attack squirrels, etc.
I lose more birds to ravens than all other predators combined. I've watched ravens hopping alongside full grown ducks pecking at them, they'll snap the heads off smaller chickens in a heartbeat, and kill quail through 1"x1/2" wire. Worst part is, in Alaska, ravens are protected. My birds have to be kept in covered runs all of the time. I can't even allow them out while I'm doing chores because the ravens aren't even scared of people.

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