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How To Protect Chickens From Hawks

How To Protect Chickens From Hawks

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Hawks are a real problem across most of the US. And the worst part is that there usually isn’t any sign that they have been around. You will put your chickens up one day and notice that one is missing. There is no blood, feathers, or even much noise when hawks swoop in. No matter if you live in a hill country or a big city, hawks are always a problem. Today we are going to talk about how to protect chickens from hawks. 

How To Protect Chickens From Hawks

Here is a list of the best tricks to deter hawks from your flock. You might find one method works better for you or a combination of a few. Without further ado, here is they are. 

Don’t Free-Range

The first step in how to protect chickens from hawks is not to let them roam. If chickens have no covered areas to hide, hawks will take advantage of this. Free-ranging with known predators is a recipe for disaster. When your hens have a place to run to for cover, hawks might try to seek out easier prey. 

Covered Runs

If your chickens only stay in a run, you might want to consider covering the run. A cheap and effective preventative is using netting to protect chicken from hawks. You can buy aviary netting in most feed stores, and you can replace it if it gets damaged. You could also cover your run with chicken wire, which is a little sturdier and rustproof. 

Our favorite solution for any run is the Noa Store Net Netting for Bird Poultry Aviary Game Pens. Not only is this netting effective, but it’s also cost-effective. This netting is by far the best solution for how to protect chickens from hawks. 

Reflective Objects

Hawks have fantastic eyesight. This also means that their eyes are sensitive to bright objects. If you have old CDs, now is the time to put them to good use. You can put old CDs, mirrors, or even reflective tape on top of your run to keep your hens safe. The reflective materials are perfect to hawk proof chicken run. 

They even make Bird Blinder Repellent Pinwheels that move and spin for the best blinding reflection. You can put these all-around your coop and even on the roof to keep hawks away. 

Roosters

If your county allows it, getting a rooster is the best protection. Most roosters take their jobs seriously as protectors of their girls. Your roo will stand watch all day and warn the hens of any danger approaching. With these calls, your hens know to duck for cover. While roosters won’t be much in physical protection, they are great for guarding. 

Watchdog

Another option is training a dog specifically to watch your hens. Doing this has its own risks, as your dog might turn on the chickens. Having a dog in the yard is effective in scaring hawks away. But there are no guarantees that your dog won’t attempt to get your flock as well. The solution to this problem is keeping a dog in the yard with an electric fence around your flock. Your dog quickly learns to leave the chickens alone, and the dog still serves its purpose. 

Fake Owls

You might be wondering how to scare hawks away. One of the best ways to do this is to get a fake owl. Great horned owls, in particular, are a competing predator to hawks. Putting a fake owl out in the yard tricks the hawks into thinking the owl claimed the hunting area. Just remember to move the decoy from time to time. Otherwise, local hawks will catch on that the owl is fake. 

Using a device like the Dalen Natural Scarecrow Device has added movement. The head is designed to move in the wind to give an owl’s appearance on the lookout. Once a hawk sees movement, they quickly move on to another area. Another bonus is that they will repel rats, mice, and other small rodents. 

Scarecrows

Another way to protect chickens from predators is by putting out a scarecrow. When predators of all kinds see the scarecrow, they will think it is a human. And no smart predator will go in for the kill with a human right there. But like with the fake owl, you will need to move your scarecrow regularly. If it sits in one area too long, the wildlife will figure out your ploy. 

And the best part is that this method is cheap. All you need is a bit of fabric stuffed with bedding to make the head. You can use an old long-sleeved shirt and pants with sewed up ends and stuffed for a body. Then put it all together on a fence pole, and you are all done. You could even get creative and add a face, hat, or hair for a charming look. But hawks won’t care about all that. It would be more for aesthetic reasons for your backyard oasis. 

Wind Chimes

Wind chimes are for more than just telling the changes of the wind. You can put wind chimes around your chicken run and along the fence to deter most predators. Hawks, in particular, have sensitive hearing, and wind chimes hit notes that scare them away. 

For the best results, you might want to change out the chimes from time to time. You could use musical chimes or a classic barnyard clanging cowbells. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like as long as it’s loud. 

Feed Inside

Chickens are their most vulnerable when they are eating. Feeding your chickens in a covered area or inside the coop protects them from aerial attacks. While this method doesn’t keep hawks away, it does give your hens a safe place. 

Loud Poultry 

If your city doesn’t allow you to keep roosters, you may check other birds’ laws. Guinea fowl and guard geese will serve the same purposes as roosters. They are always on the lookout for danger and will sound the alarm at first sight of it. While these birds are fantastic alarm systems, they can also be bothersome to neighbors. So you will need to be considerate when using this method. 

Painted Eyes

And our last trick on how to get rid of chicken hawks is painted eyes. Yes, you read that right. Painting large eyes around your coop could scare away hawks. No one is 100% certain why this works, but there are a few theories. The best explanation is that birds of prey see the eyes getting larger and think another bird is coming at them. They don’t want to collide with another bird and fly in the opposite direction. 

This could be especially true if the other bird is larger and possibly more dangerous. So paint some eyes on all sides of your coop to scare off hawks. The eyes don’t have to be complicated. Simple googly eyes painted in black and white are proven to be effective. You could even up the ante by using Rust-Oleum 214944 Specialty Reflective Spray to give your eyes a glowing effect. Any eyes you paint with reflective properties added will grab the hawk’s attention and steer them away. 

Will These Tricks Permanently Get Rid Of Hawks?

Once a hawk has staked his claim to a hunting territory, it is hard to get rid of them. They don’t give up their hunting grounds easily either. Doing a combination of these tricks could protect your flock against all future attacks. 

In time, your local hawk might even give up trying to get to your flock. They will stick around for other prey in the area but won’t try so hard at getting a chicken. But don’t let your guard down. Once a hawk sees an opening, they will go for it. 

How To Catch A Hawk Killing Chickens 

First off, it is illegal to catch or harm hawks. Hawks are federally protected, and if you get caught, you will receive a fine and a misdemeanor. But if you consistently use the tricks mentioned above, hawks won’t think your flock is worth the effort. 

Can I shoot a hawk attacking my chickens? Again, the answer is no. Shooting and killing a hawk is illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. If you catch a hawk carrying off one of your birds, it is best to leave them alone and up the preventative measures. 

Some backyard chicken owners swear by water guns. But even if you scare them off, if they got their talons on your bird, it’s too late. Most chickens can’t recover from wounds that deep and severe. You also run the risk of provoking them enough that they attack you. It’s not worth the risk to stop a hawk. 

Our Final Thoughts

What is the best way to protect chickens from hawks? The best protection is to prevent situations where your chickens are left vulnerable. It is much easier to prevent an attack than it is to stop one. Using one or multiple hawk proofing hacks could save your flock. 

Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!

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