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.




8 thoughts on “How to protect your flock from Hawks

  1. Not sure if you received first time -how much string do you use on your run to keep hawks out? apparently I do not yet have enough as my girls go out

  2. I have a small flock of chickens and a large presence of hawks. The screeching of the hawks lets me know they are around but what I have learned, this is not the hawk looking to attack the flock. They are simply announcing their territory to other hawks. If you look around you will most likely see another hawk in the area. I have lots of trees and plenty of shrubs for protection. I have a covering “tented” over the pen area and whites string everywhere, “zig-zagged” in all open areas. My biggest concern is Raccoons and rodents, My coop is wrapped with 1/4″ wire cloth and the coop itself sits on fence material laid flat on the ground so they can’t dig under the walls. The chickens free range during the morning hours when the hawks are most likely to be present but we keep watch and our Yellow Lab is a great “chicken tender”. I’m still learning and open to suggestions about “coons” and rodents.

  3. Have had chickens for 7 years and hawks fly overhead, sometimes hunting. Had a hawk fly over my head, under the branches of a tree, over the fence for the run trying to get my girls. He wasn’t successful.
    Tonight was the first time I was really scared for my girls. A hawk was overhead and the girls ran the fastest I’ve ever seen them run to the coop. 2 of my roos went in with the girls. Had a third roo crying alarms
    The hawk disappeared. Then it reappeared out of a small tree by the roadway, flew into a large wild blackberry bush, rustled about then exited with a small bird in its claws.
    All my girls were safe and sound inside the coop.
    Their coop is under an oak but doesn’t seem to deter the hawks.
    Going to try the owl and the string on the run. In the mean time the girls won’t be free ranging for a few days.
    This was too close for comfort.

  4. I just lost a hen to a hawk I was very upset when my friend yelled and the hawk was casually plucking her feathers out to get to her meat. I did not want her life as a good layer and a friend to go in vain so I cleaned her and froze her. I will probably give it away as I don’t think I could eat her. Your advice gave me a way to scare a hawk away and I pray it works! Thanks I now have owl decoys out, owl sillowets out and lots of shiny things out to scare them away.

  5. Chicken hawk just got one of my chickens here in Florida they are all over, if you are outside and see them i use a small air horn any thing around you will be running very loud even my dogs go running

  6. Similar to string- I use bright orange flag tape, strung throughout the pen area. Put this up after I looked out to see a red tail sitting on top of its prey- one of our chickens. It was bold did not scare right away, then when it did scare off it sat in tree and watched until I got close to it. Flag tape moves around easily with wind- which I like. Hawk did come back several times, but finally gave up. Be aware- flag tape can tear if not tended to, and chickens can get caught in it. Now to solve the problem when they are free ranging. I’m glad I read this as I was going to get a hawk decoy rather than an owl- knowing the two are enemies I may get one of each to keep the owls away also.

  7. I use silver or gold cd’s hanging from bushes or trees and when the wind blows and the sun shines they have a really great reflection. I also buy mylar silver colored balloons at the dollar store and tie them around where my bantams free range.
    Hawks are worse during fall and winter because all the leaves are off the trees and there are not many birds around so they look for chickens.

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