What keeps hawks away?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Amarisus, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Frost Homestead

    Frost Homestead eggmonger

    Jul 9, 2011
    Lago Vista, TX

    We've got our fair share of hawks around where we live but they don't come anywhere near my property. We have a big chicken-friendly Golden Retriever that keeps 'em safe.
  2. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    At any given time we have ten to twenty crows in our yard and I'm sorry to say they do not deter the red-tailed hawks that want to eat my chickens. The crows will fuss when the hawks come around, so they are kind of an early detection system if you're paying attention, but they do not keep the hawks from roosting in our oaks and plotting a chicken dinner.

    The only way for the chickens to be truly safe is, as was mentioned, to keep them in a covered run.

    That said, I let mine free-range under supervision. I don't have a rooster, but the hens will call out in a specific way when they sense a hawk around and when I hear or hear the piercing cry of a hawk, that I rush them back into their pen.

    Cover does help, if the birds have time to run to it. But it will only take one mistake or one straggler and that will be that.

    This week the hawk visits have been more sparse; I agree with the comment that they may be busy mating right now - but I know they'll be back [​IMG]
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011

    Coopers hawks certainly will kill a full grown chicken. They're just to big for them to carry off, so they pluck and eat them on the ground. I've lost a few birds to juvenile coopers, and they were quite small, but still well equipped enough to do in a 2 year old broody Chantechler (which it ate on the ground), and one of her chicks (which it took with it when I disturbed its dinner) :/
  4. wvtim

    wvtim Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2012
    I have had more trouble with the coopers hawks than any other bird of prey. I see Red Tails but have not had one attacks my chickens - yet.
  5. Roark

    Roark Out Of The Brooder

    We've had Red Tails in abundance for quite a while and most recently noticed a young bald eagle. The Red Tails regularly take rabbits and small rodents from around our yard (a couple of acres of open ground pretty well surrounded by old growth hardwoods). Our hawks will find a nice high limb to sit on and the only way we notice them is when they pounce, or when other birds give warning. Robins have a very distinctive warning cry for example, but of course that only matters if you are outside too. There is also an owl in the nearby woods, but we don't know the type beyond HUGE. We also have noticed a total disappearance of rat burrows that used to constantly appear near compost and wood piles, so you kind'a learn to take the good with the bad.

    I trust ravens even less than hawks, and they are a lot smarter than other birds. They are the racoons of the bird world, and will study things to figure out how to attack. I have no personal experience with them and chickens, but anything that can take out a hawk is never gonna make me feel safe about them being around my chickens. The crows are a pain in many other ways, so I would tend to avoid encouraging them as well. I've seen the eagle take a huge rabbit right on our neighbors lawn, and he didn't seem the least bit interested in flying away to eat his score, even though it was well within his capability. Much to the dismay of the little girls, and the delight of the little boys, in the vicinity, he was happy just sitting in the middle of the lawn and shredding the rabbit while everyone stood at a distance and watched. I would say that the individual animals are adapting to their dwindling habitat by getting more comfortable or bold in their interactions around humans. This is certainly true with our deer from the adjacent State park, that has only very limited hunts, and is grossly over populated. You could literally walk up and club these deer with a hammer they are so used to being around humans.

    A friend a few miles down the road has had hawks attack his run cover while he was in the run, so I would have to repeat the obvious refrain - nothing short of a covered run, and a well covered one at that, is fail safe. Ours is 30'x40' and my roof is cattle panels tied end to end and tensioned by the two outside post 2x6 runs that join them together. The two opposite lines of posts are tensioned and kept plumb to force an arch in the cattle panels by crossing side to side with four lines of s/s braided wire with turn buckles. I also have a 2x8 ridge beam under the panel joints and 17 ga. galvanized stucco wire over all of that. The sides are 8' tall to enclose a mini orchard of dwarfed fruit trees, and they get the same treatment. Just outside of that we're installing a 30" electric coon fence and maybe a few more wires on the run itself. Anything worth doin' is worth over doin' right?
  6. Chickiee

    Chickiee Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you're interested in planting for chicken free-range predator coverage, I recommend "Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful Chicken-Friendly Yard" by Jessi Bloom. It's very helpful in sharing what plants work well with chickens. I checked it out from the library, but ordered my own copy because it's a keeper!
    1 person likes this.
  7. LoweBow

    LoweBow Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 26, 2012
    The Great Horned Owl will absolutely run off hawks and/or kill them. I have a pair of plastic owls on posts near my building and coop. Not saying it will run all off, but birds of prey will not hunt over each other....especially a hawk over an owl. cheap insurance and helps w/ alot of other garden pests....
  8. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    Mar 20, 2012
    I agree that the chickens will never be completely safe unless they are in a secure coop and run. If you are going to free range, make sure there are lots of bushes and cover for them to hide in. Hanging cd's are supposed to work, although I have never tried that. Also, some places sell ribbon made for keeping away predators that is shiny and crackles in the wind. I think that might scare the chickens though lol
  9. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    Well the crows help to a certain extent here but they soon get bored of chasing the hawks off and go off somewhere else. We have a pair of redtails that have been stalking the heck out of my birds for the past 3 days now. These same hawks killed my duck on thanksgiving day last year. Your best bet is to stand out there with the birds and waive a pitch fork around like a raving lunatic. The 2 here are very smart and not the least bit scared of me or my pitch fork. They start out a ways away from the yard, then one comes flying by screaming to distract the chickens and the other one (I call him silent bob) swoops in quiet as a mouse. The silent one takes down the prey and then his buddy joins him for the feast. It's the biggest challenge I have had to face with having the chickens free range.
    1 person likes this.
  10. BirdyMe

    BirdyMe Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had Broad-winged hawks nesting in my backyard a couple of years ago. I absolutely loved them- but I was aware that as soon as the babies started learning to hunt, they would likely go after my bantams. So, I started taking in roosters that nobody else wanted. I ended up with 10 or 12 roosters- all of which would make a racket if they saw a hawk in the sky (or a leaf, or a butterfly...). They could get noisy sometimes, and I did have a few mean ones, but it worked beautifully! I never lost a chicken to those hawks. Two of the baby hawks come back every April, and the roosters still take care of the flock. My geese also do a good job of letting everyone know when there's a predator about.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by