Raising chicken in your backyard is all good until hawks start predating on them, becoming a nuisance that you have to take care of. Usually, hawks tend to hunt during the day, which is the same time your chicken will be foraging for small plants and insects to feed on.
If you are not careful, you may end up losing a few chicks with time, seeing that hawks are meticulous hunters. Fortunately, you can always do something to keep the hawks away and protect your chicken. Here are a few things to consider.
Hawks are Smart and Calculating, Don’t Underestimate them!
Before finding and settling on a good solution for the preying hawks, it helps to understand their behavioral tendencies. You need to understand that hawks are smart and calculating.
It would help if you never underestimated these birds’ prowess since they can easily finish your chicken as you assume their innocence. It would be best if you were smarter than the manipulative predators.
1. Have a Rooster
Chicken on their own may not have what it takes to protect the flock because they are not as equipped as mature roosters are. Roosters are built with a protective instinct that comes in handy when trying to wane off the hawks.
If you live in an area that allows the presence of roosters, you can easily keep hawks away from your chicken. You may have to get several roosters if you have a large flock of chicken. This way, you will be protecting your investment.
Whether you choose to use guardian animals, decoys, or sounds, choose an easy and practical method. Below are great examples to consider.
2. Bring in a Guard Dog
Guard dogs are not only good at offering you the much-needed protection you have been looking for. They are known to help deter hawks from getting near your chicken flock by simply standing guard. All you have to do is to train them to protect the chicken under all circumstances.
Further Reading: How to Protect Your Chicken from Foxes
The hawk is likely to stay away from the chicken when it senses the guard dog’s presence. The dogs are generally large and stronger, meaning that they will not fear taking down the hawk when it comes to that.
Certain communities have used guard dogs for hundreds of years to protect their animals because they have great instincts. Even when you do not have a guard dog, a properly trained dog of any breed can also scare away hawks and other predators that could be eyeing your chicken.
3. Use a Coop
This will work for people who have no time to watch over the chicken as they roam around the garden. If you are the kind of person who loves to keep their chicken for eggs and meat, but are either always indoors or work away from home, use coops will be a great idea.
Using a coop does not necessarily mean that your chicken will be confined and thus affect your free-ranging endeavors. On the contrary, investing in coops will protect them from flying predators while allowing them room to move about and scratch as much as they want to.
Have your chicken runs done professionally to ensure you are attaining your goals without jeopardizing anything.
4. Covers Work Great
Always cover the runners if you intend to keep the hawks away. Remember that flying predators will still reach your chicken from above. When creating a chicken house, make sure to bar the top with mesh or iron sheen that blocks such birds’ entry. In case the hawks attempt to swoop down, it is likely to be trapped in the mesh, allowing your chicken room to run for safety.
When using a netting or wire cover, make sure to pick the brightly colored ones as this will discourage the hawks from attempting to come down. Remember, your aim is not to trap the hawks but rather keep them away from your chicken.
You can also use clothe covers for your runners. Make sure to secure them tightly enough such that no openings are left for hawks to sneak and out.
5. Cover all the Feeders
Whenever you feed the chicken, make sure to cover the feeders. Hawks will always target feeders since they know that most of the chicken will hover around the feeders and drinkers.
If these are not accessible to the hawks, then they are likely to stay away. It is better to build enclosed feeders and drinkers where the hawks will not reach with ease. These covered areas are also great places from the chicken to hide in case the runners are uncovered.
6. Noises will Keep the Hawks Away
If you can ensure to use noisy decoys, then you can be sure to turn the hawks away. You should find different sources of noises, and switch them up as need be.
Mix up the radio, wind chimes, and other common noises that will discourage the hawks from getting near the chicken shade. Combine these with flashlights from old DVDs ad CDs so that they can reflect light with ease.
Anything likely to reflect sunlight without causing a fire would be a great alternative. Just be sure not to use mirrors since they tend to heat up and cause fire breakouts, which is not what you want with your chicken.
Reflective tapes can also work very well when it comes to reflecting lights. The fact that they sway around is also good since this will keep the hawks away even more.
7. Use Decoys
Hawks are scared of anything that looks unfamiliar. Using decoys makes them nervous and will keep them away from the chicken house. You should erect scarecrows and other objects that would not be expected to be in the chicken house. Make sure to move the objects around every once in a while to keep confusing the hawks.
Usually, hawks get used to specific items as long as they are stationary; thus, moving them around will keep the hawks confused and nervous, making them stay away completely.
What’s more, choose to use scarecrows that resemble the owls because both birds tend to prey on chicken. Whenever hawks see the scarecrows, then they are likely to assume that the owls are already in for the hunt. Hawks will then turn away because they do not want to get into a fight with owls.
8. Get Rid of Vermin and Rodents
You may be thinking that hawks are after your chicken when they are not. This means that you need to check the area where the chicken hang around.
Ensure that no snakes or rodents like rabbits and squirrels are around because these tend to attract hawks easily. As they come down, the hawks may also prey on the chicken. Clear any unwanted bushes and thickets to minimize any potential danger.
9. Pick Eggs Every Day
In case you tend to leave eggs lying around for a few days, you are certainly contributing to predators that could, in turn, attract hawks around the chicken shed.
Make a habit of collecting the eggs daily to discourage snakes and rats, which could be hunting the laid eggs. Most of the predators preying on your chicken eggs will also disappear when you collect the eggs every day.
10. Consider Electric Fencing
While cost implications will be very high, invest in a good electric fence to keep away any predators’ forms, including hawks. While this may not be everyone’s option, they still work perfectly for those who prefer them.
They may also be inexpensive when you consider the long-term cost because they are likely to serve you longer than most other options.
11. Add the Guinea Fowls in the Flock
Chicken are easy to handle and protect when mixed with other birds. One of the best birds to include with your chicken are the guinea birds. Usually, the birds are noisy and are likely to make a lot of noise whenever a predator gets close to the cage.
If the noise will not be enough to scare the hawks away, guinea fowls are more aggressive than chicken and will most likely attack the hawk, putting up a spirited fight.
This is a great option for any person living in city suburbs; hence you will always be alerted whenever the guinea fowls make a lot of noise due to agitation. You can also rear your chicken with turkeys and geese, which will also serve as guard animals, protecting the chicken from any harm.
12. Paint Eyes on the Coop
Some people swear that painting eyes on coops are on trees that hawks perch on is a great remedy. However, it is important to do it right. You may be forced to make certain observations first before settling on a decision.
Pain the eyes on trees that hawks tend to perch on. If you are painting the coop, choose to do so on where the hawks tend to swoop in.
You can always keep the hawks away from your chicken with any of the above techniques. Choose the most comfortable option for your case.