How to Protect Your Chickens from Hawks?
Some of the most ferocious and daring predatory birds are the hawks. They hunt for prey during the day. This is the time your chickens are out of the coops to look for food and water.
With their keen eyesight, hungry hawks will do anything to feast on your birds. A hawk can perch and hide high in a nearby tree to ambush your chickens when they least expect. It will use its strong talons to snatch a chicken, carry it away or kill it upon impact.
If a hawk manages to take away one of your chickens, rest assured that it will be back for more. This means you will have to find a way to keep them off your flock of chickens.
Also Read: How to Protect Your Chickens from Foxes?
Since hawks are some of the wild birds under the protection of federal law, you are not allowed to harm them physically no matter how many chickens they snatch from your flock. But you can prevent them from devasting your flock using one or all of the following simple tips:
1. Use a Chicken Coop
Free-ranging is increasingly becoming popular among chicken keepers. It helps your chickens supplement their usual diet with worms, grubs, and herbs. However, free-ranging exposes your chickens to all types of predators including aerial ones such as hawks.
When in the open spaces, chickens become easier targets for hungry hawks. To protect them against all predators, you need to connect a run to their coops. Runs are safe and provide enough space for your birds to run or roam freely without the fear of being attacked by flying predators.
Likewise, you can introduce movable tractors to keep your chickens safely confined while enjoying your pastureland.
2. Bird Netting Over the Run
Chicken wire does not provide enough protection to your flock. Ground-based predators may even rip through such barriers to steal your chickens. However, it makes a great overhead cover to keep your chickens safe from hawks and other aerial predators.
The bird netting option (using a chicken wire) is a reliable deterrent, especially if it is orange in color. Hawks can easily see an orange bird netting over the run and avoid diving through it in an attempt to reach your birds. For maximum protection of your backyard flock, make sure to cover the run securely.
3. Provide Enough Cover
In case you use a chicken run to contain your birds while roaming the yard, ensure that it is well covered. A secure cover over the run will prevent hawks and other flying predators from swooping inside.
Therefore, use hardware cloth or chicken wire to provide an effective barrier between your chickens and predators. Shade cloth can also be a better choice of cover since it provides protection and shade for your flock of birds. Regardless of the material you use as cover, make certain it is secure with no gaps that can allow hawks to fly through.
4. Protect the Chicken Feeder
Feeders should be covered to protect chickens against attacks from flying predators. Hawks are much aware of the chickens’ vulnerability during the feeding time. This is attributed to the fact that most chickens lower their heads when eating or drinking.
It is also at this moment that they are bunched together. This overcrowding in one place makes them unable to escape easily when a predator attacks because they get trapped within their own crowd. A secure cover over the feeders will keep them safe from hawks. Covering feeding structures provide a safe haven for chickens to hide from aerial predators.
5. Get a Rooster
The presence of a rooster can deter hawks since they are wired to provide protection to the rest of your flock. A rooster provides a natural way to keep your chickens safe.
These male chickens are usually fierce protectors that can be aggressive at the slightest provocation. Not even a daring hawk will want to engage a rooster in a fight let alone trying to attack other chickens.
6. Get a Guard Dog
Invest in a large and well-trained guard dog to watch over your chickens. Large guard dogs can be a reliable hawk deterrent since they play a similar role to roosters’. One advantage of dogs is that they are larger, stronger, and faster than roosters. Besides, dogs are not easily threatened by flying predators such as hawks.
7. Make Some Noise
Just like other birds in the wild, hawks dislike a lot of noise. But they will eventually get used to the noise if they don’t see its impact on them. Make sure to use different sources of noise at different times to scare off hawks.
Radios, wind chimes, and other noises will discourage hawks from stealing your chickens. To make the noises more effective, combine them with powerful bright flashes of light.
8. Use Shiny Objects
Shiny objects can serve as flashing deterrents for hawks. This option is the most cost-effective to keep your chickens safe from hawks. For instance, the Nite Guard Repellent Tape can provide a heavy-duty reflection that causes hawk-deterring noise.
Usually, the tape produces a combination of bright flashes and unpleasant loud, cracking noise that effectively frightens hawks, leaving your chickens safe and sound.
9. Make a Scarecrow
A scarecrow can be a great decoy if you utilize it appropriately. Scarecrows have strange, scary shapes that make most animals nervous. In this sense, scarecrows will confuse and keep hawks or other predators on guard.
To ensure the effectiveness of your scarecrow for some time, you must make the habit of moving it around as frequently as possible. If not, hawks will get used to them and stop feeling threatened anymore.
An alternative to scarecrows is the predator versus another predator approach. A good example is an owl which is typically an enemy of the hawk. The two will attack each other, especially when water and food are scarce. So, you may use a large owl decoy (scarecrow) to deter hawks.
Hawks are notorious aerial predators that can wreak havoc to your entire flock of birds if not prevented at the right time. Even though these birds of prey are protected by federal law, you can keep them off your chickens easily.
The tips mentioned above will most likely help you protect your flock against aerial predators which include hawks.