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How To Keep Hawks Away From Chickens (8 Tips)

Nicole Cosgrove

Providing your chickens with a free-range environment is beneficial because it ensures your chickens have enough area to roam and stay healthy. Unfortunately, free-range chickens have unique challenges, especially where predators, such as hawks, are concerned.

If you have a problem with hawks, don’t fret. Although hawks are a real concern for chickens, there are things you can do to keep these pesky predators away from your flock. Below, you will find 8 tips for keeping your chickens safe from hawks. Scroll down for more.

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Top 8 Ways to Keep Hawks Away From Your Chickens:

1. Add a Rooster to the Flock

Roosters are much meaner than chickens, and they are much more vocal too. As soon as a rooster spies a hawk, it’s likely to start squawking, alerting the other chickens that there is a predator in the area. Some roosters are even known to stand in front of chickens to protect the entire roost.

Because roosters offer such good natural protection, adding a rooster to your flock is one of the best places to start when it comes to protecting your chickens from hawks.

hens and rooster
Image Credit: klimkin, Pixabay

2. Get a Black Chicken

In addition to getting a rooster, you can add a black chicken to the flock. No, black chickens are not any more aggressive than a regular chicken, but the black coloration is likely to deter hawks from coming near the roost. That’s because hawks are enemies of crows, which are also black. Adding a black chicken to the roost may confuse hawks and make them think that a crow is in the area.


3. Get a Dog

Dogs are a surprisingly great deterrent against hawks. Not only do the size and sound of dogs scare hawks away, but the smell of dogs is overwhelmingly unpleasant to hawks. Most hawks are unlikely to swoop at chickens if they know a dog is in the area.

It’s important to let your dog out at different times of the day for best results. As we learned above, hawks are intelligent and figure out your schedule. If you only let dogs out during certain points of the day, the bird will know when to strike.


4. Hang Up a Scarecrow

If you don’t want a dog, you can try hanging up a scarecrow instead. Scarecrows have been used for scaring away predatory birds for a long time. You will need to change up the location of the scarecrow every now and then so that the hawk doesn’t realize it’s a phony.

scarecrow
Image Credit: Tracia, Pixabay

5. Hang Up Shiny Objects

Hawks do not like bright lights. If you hang up shiny objects, the shiny object will reflect the light into the sky, allowing it to blind and deter any hawks in the area. You can use old CDs or reflective tape to get the job done.

If you choose this method, make sure that you do not put any old CDs or mirrors in an area where the chickens can get to them. These materials can be harmful to the chickens. So, elevate them on a high surface so that they deter hawks without injuring your chickens in the process.


6. Hang Up a Decoy Owl

Owls are one of the most common predators of hawks. Because of this fact, hawks absolutely detest owls. You can purchase a decoy owl and hang it up around your chicken coop to scare any hawks away. Much like the scarecrow, change the location of the decoy owl so that the hawk doesn’t discover it isn’t real.


7. Cover Feeders

One place where many chickens are victims to hawk attacks is around the feeder. Hawks are intelligent enough to know to wait and time their attacks precisely. Hawks quickly figure out that feeders are the prime location to attack chickens since the chickens are out in the open and not paying attention to their surroundings.

Because feeders can be such a dangerous location for chickens, make sure all feeders are covered. Better yet, place the feeders in a location where the hawk cannot get to the chickens. That way, your flock can eat in peace without the threat of a hawk attack.

chicken coop
Image Credit: Pixabay

8. Provide Cover

The most effective way to keep your flock safe is to provide it ample cover. If able, consider getting a chicken coop complete with mesh wires and a roof. If the coop is completely covered, the hawk will have no way to attack the chickens.

Of course, you don’t want the coop to be small. Make sure that it is large enough to provide your flock enough area to roam safely and happily. If you do not have a large enough coop, just make sure that you provide little safety areas that your chickens can run to and high under in the case of an attack.


Understand The Hawk’s Predatory Tactics

red hawk hunting in the lake
Image Credit: Pixabay

To protect your chickens to the best of your ability, it’s important to understand how hawks hunt. Only by understanding the hawk can you best keep him away from your chickens.

The first thing to understand is that hawks are relentless hunters. If there is food, hawks will attack and hunt just about anywhere. What this means for you is that putting the coop next your home or by the road won’t scare the hawk since it will attack just about anywhere.

That being said, hawks definitely prefer easy targets. Some of the easiest targets that hawks seek out are animals in open locations. In other words, a chicken that is tucked deep in the woods is relatively safer than the chicken that is out in a field by itself.

Putting your chickens in the woods is not enough for keeping hawks away, though. Hawks are incredibly intelligent. They will easily find where your flock is located and pick up on any schedules involving your chickens coming out, getting fed, etc.

Even though hawks are higher up on the food chain, they are not without predators themselves. Other predatory birds, such as owls, eagles, and crows, are known to attack hawks, which makes hawks afraid of other predatory birds. You can use this fact to your advantage.

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Conclusion

It’s in the hawk’s nature to attack chickens. Since you can’t change the bird’s nature, you will need to adjust your coop to keep your entire flock safe. By using the 8 tips above, you can help protect your flock from any predatory hawks.

For the best result, try to use more than one of these tips at once. For example, cover feeders, use scarecrows, and get a watchdog around the same time. By using multiple tips at once, the hawk will think twice before attacking your flock.


Featured Image Credit: bryanjohnson1956, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.