Chickens Predators Stories from Our Nest

Hawk Prevention

Yesterday, the girls were tormented by a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk for a few hours.  Either myself or one of the contractors would chase it away, only to find it returned and perched upon the coop.  Finally, I had remembered something that I had seen and learned about from Terry Golson during her Chicken Workshop.  She had strung old CDs across her pullets’ open top run to ward off flying predators.  It had worked beautifully.

I took a long piece of twine and strung it between two trees across the top of the my coop.  From that string I hung 5 shiny round CDs from separate pieces of twine.  I was glad to see the hawk sat perched high in a nearby tree but did not venture to the top of the coop.  Finally, I was convinced that it had given up and flown away realizing that my chickens were not going to be dinner.  Or so I thought.
This morning as I was still getting ready, I heard one of the contractors calling for me.  I went outside and there, high up on a dead branch in a nearby tree, was the hawk.  The chickens were sounding the alarm and I could not believe my eyes.  As it preened itself, it was getting ready for its next meal.  Then I heard a second hawk in the yard.  “You’ve got to be kidding me”, I thought as I racked my brain for another solution.  It was not a good scene.  The chicken alarm was going off and the girls were all scared for their lives in the coop.  
I went into the garage and grabbed the beach blanket.  I covered the run and then I coaxed the girls out with treats.  It worked.  No longer seeing each other, the chickens quickly became side tracked and the hawk left. About an hour later, I uncovered the girls.  The hawk did not return today.  The girls did not free range.  Everyone was safe and Fifi finally did lay her first egg.  
  • Smart! We have never had hawks problems. Only foxes >=(

  • Today my husband was painting the garage and a hawk came swooping down and grabbed a squirrel. When I am lucky enough to have my own hens I will have to remember all this information. Thank goodness the girls weren't hurt or worse.

  • A cheap way to cover a run is with wildlife netting. It is a thin plastic netting that you can get at Lowes hardware and I think home depot. The rolls are 7'x100' and run $22-$24. It will not keep a climbing predator out, but will deter birds of prey. The netting also works well as a snake snare when placed around the outside of pens/lots.

    ~~Matt~~

  • Yikes, From Beyond My Kitchen Window! Poor little squirrel.

    Thank you once again, for your great tips Matt. I am so glad to have you as a resource. Great advice!

  • Yeah.. we have 4 hawks and a couple of bald eagles that frequently fly over. The guineas always spot them, even when they are a tiny speck way up in the sky. They sound the alarm and everyone goes running for cover. They keep sounding until the coast is clear.

    We have a lot of hiding spots for the chickens (under grape vines, tall grass, small trees with a "hang out" area they etched out themselves, the ever favorite.. flee to the patio and simultaneously poop, and an area they used to use when they were babies that's like a shade cloth tent of sorts.).. we included a line of trees into their pen. Small trees that hawks are to big to perch in (for now), area under the coop to hide in.. and shrubs to use for cover as well.

    Very glad the hawks moved on! Hopefully they don't return!

  • Oh.. I meant to ask you… any good spots for info on worming chickens? I found some "milky" looking gifts and with all of the wild birds.. I think they may need to be wormed.

  • Hi Anne,

    Worming is a very interesting subject. Some people worm their flocks regularly and others do not unless they actually see worms in the chickens' poop. As preventatives I add food grade diatomaceous earth to my chickens' food (2% of total food). I also feed them weekly organic plain yogurt with live and active cultures. In addition, I add apple cider vinegar to their drinking water (1 tbsp/gallon). Some treat the worms as well with cloves of garlic in the water and the food grade diatomaceous earth. To add, some people swear by feeding their chickens raw pumpkin seeds.

    Here are some links that may be helpful for you:

    http://web.uconn.edu/poultry/poultrypages/diseasefactsheet.html

    http://poultrykeeper.com/common-articles-to-all-poultry/health/worms-in-chickens-ducks-geese.html

    One wormer often used, not sure if its approved for use in chickens. After the last treatment, I would not eat any of the chickens' eggs for 14-30 days.

    http://www.arcatapet.com/item.cfm?cat=15109

    Hope this helps, keep us posted!

  • We had two hawks circling above our backyard Sunday before last. Just going round and round. I had been letting the girls out to roam….they love to go up the hill and into the woods behind the coop. I always stayed right with them up there. I haven't let them out since reading your posting. If these are the same two hawks I don't think my presence would make a difference. And, now our little dog passed away so we have no free ranging protector! Will you still et the girls out in the future?

  • Oh Debra, such sad news about your dog 🙁 At this point, no I will not let them free range. I just love them too much and could never forgive myself. The hawks are especially numerous because this is their migratory season. Cape Cod is a very popular stop over for many birds moving between the North and South. It happens twice a year. Perhaps, under very close supervision after migration, I will let them out again. For now, they are not too happy with me, but they are alive and being spoiled with fresh organic goodies from the garden.