How to protect your flock from Hawks

We have a family of Hawks that live on our homestead.

Before our chickens moved in, we loved watching the Hawks swoop down and catch squirrels and mice. The Hawks will perch in the trees and eat their prey. It really is amazing to see the circle of life in front of you.

Now that we own chickens I HATE HAWKS!!! My neighbors think I’m crazy clapping my hands and yelling at the trees to “Get out of here!!”

I have done some research on methods to help protect my flock from those pesky hawks. I hope that you can use some of these methods to help yours as well.

Buff Orphington

Buff Orphington

-Chicken color- If you know you have a hawk problem before you have chickens, do some research on the type of chicken the best suits your needs and has a neutral color. I went with the Buff Orphingtons. I chose then because of their sweet demeanor, large size, and their coloring helps them blend into their surroundings making it hard for the hawks to see them.

 

Owl Decoy

Owl Decoy

-Owls – Hawks and Owls are natural enemies. Keep a plastic decoy owl near the coop/ foraging area and most Hawks will stay away.- -Over head protection Hawks don’t like to fly into areas where they cannot escape easily.

 

 

Chicken-Coop jpgZig zag string across the top of your chickens run or fenced area. White string works the best because it is easily visible.

 

-Chicken wire or netting over the run can reduce a Hawks desire to fly into that area but a determined hawk can easily tear through netting, so chicken wire is definitely recommended. Side note- Chicken wire is meant to keep chickens confined, it is NOT made to keep predators out.

 

pennant-48962_640-Pennant flags – you know those cute birthday strings with the adorable little, multi-colored flags hanging from them? Well, apparently those cute little decorations worry the Hawks when they flutter in the wind.

 

IMG_20140509_165859-Dogs – Hawks aren’t stupid. They know they can be eaten. If you have a dog that you know will not eat your chickens, allow it to spend time in the yard with the flock. Guard dogs are a great asset to any homestead.

 

IMG_20140516_155334-Rooster- If you haven’t considered it, a rooster is a great protector. Roosters are known to fight to the death to protect their flock. They will also scream out warning calls if they see something suspicious.

 

00H0H_irqf5a1SjrK_600x450-Guineas- Guinea birds are noisy and they are down right annoying when they see something unusual on THEIR property. Guineas will sound the alarm a the slightest suspicion. They have also been known to fight to protect their flock and property against snakes and mice. They also LOVE ticks and other bugs. If you can deal with the noise, Guinea birds make a great addition to the homestead.

-Hiding spots Be sure to plant shrubs where your chickens will be hanging out. They make great hiding spots. I recommend planting multi-purpose landscaping such as blueberry or mulberry bushes. This provides hiding spots and food!

-Laundry! – I have my clothes line in my chickens foraging area. This gives my chickens a visible barrier and also makes the hawks nervous about easily escaping. The laundry fluttering in the wind also causes the hawks the avoid the area.

IMG_20140507_104541The best protection I give my chickens is my presence. Most hawks avoid human contact, although some are known to be very arrogant, like the Cooper’s hawk. I spend as much time in the yard with my girls as I can. I am sitting in the yard now writing this entry as they peck at my toes. Oh look I’m doing laundry too, multi-tasking at its finest!

If you have a concern with hawks, or any other chicken predator, take some time to determine which species of hawk, or other predator, you have. Knowing your enemy is your best defense.

Do you have any tips or tricks? Please share them with me by commenting.

 

 

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