Do Hawks Eat Chickens?
You must have heard poultry owners complaining their chickens have been attacked by hawks. But do hawks really eat chickens? If yes, then is there any way to protect chickens from this deadly hunter? Today I’m going to break down this topic and clear all of your queries.
Hawks eat chickens. In fact, they are among the favorite diet of hawks. If hawks find any chicken roaming openly, they will surely attack it. At first, they will target the chicken, then swoop down and attack it with full force through its sharp talons. After that, they carry it somewhere else to enjoy it in peace.
In this article, I will give you a closer look at how hawks prey on chickens so that you can identify a hawk’s attack. And if you have noticed this predator in your area, how you can protect your chicken. So, stay tuned till the end to learn how to keep your chickens safe from deadly hunter hawks.
How Do Hawks Prey Chickens?
Hawk hunt in daylight. To look for prey as they fly high or sit on a higher tree. As soon as they notice one, they will swoop down and attack it with full force.
They use this same approach for chickens. Whenever they trace a chicken, they would observe its movement. Focusing on the target, they would wait for the right time and opportunity to attack. As soon as they get the opportunity, they instantly attack it with full force.
They use their sharp curved talons to give deep wounds on the back and breast of the chicken. It’s like stabbing the chicken with a knife. Then they use their force to squeeze their prey to confirm its death. Sometimes, they would even start eating the dying ones.
All this happens in just a blink of an eye. So the victim doesn’t get enough time to give any reaction or defend itself.
Hawks usually kill chickens in the first hit. So you will not find any clue of scuffling or fighting at the spot.
After killing it, hawks usually prefer to take it elsewhere, like high trees or mountains, so that it can enjoy its meal in peace. If it’s not small enough for them to carry, they will start eating it on the ground.
Hawks are one of the most intelligent and clever birds. When they have succeeded in hunting a chicken from a poultry farm, there is an absolute chance that they will come back for another one.
So if you have detected any hawk attack in your poultry, assume that that predator is going to attack again. Before that, make sure you have taken enough safety measures to protect your chickens.
Tips To Protect Chickens From Hawks?
Have you spotted any hawk flying overhead or sitting in any nearby trees? If you got some guest birds of prey in your area, it’s a big threat to your flocks.
Seeing some running chickens would be more than tempting for a hungry hawk. As per their nature, they will definitely take advantage of it.
So you have to systematically plan and take enough security measures to save your chickens from flying predators like a hawk.
According to federal law, anyone is not allowed to physically warm any hawk or other birds. So how to protect chickens from hawks?
Here is a list of some effective tips to protect chickens from deadly hawks:
1. Adding A Secure Cover
Keeping chickens in an open place means inviting predators. It becomes much easier for a hawk to hunt a chicken when it’s roaming openly.
So first, what you have to do is put a secure cover between the hawk and your chickens. There are some options for that.
If you don’t let your chickens graze and keep them in a small coop, then make sure all sides, particularly over the top of the coop, are protected with a cover. You can use a plastic cover that comes with holes for the top of the hen house. For the sides, you can choose a colorful rope net.
It takes some extra effort to protect free-range chickens. You can use a colorful rope net (particularly eye-catchy bright colors like orange or magenta) over the top of the area. It will prevent hawks from swooping down and attacking your chickens.
Make sure the cover’s holes are not too big so that a hawk can come through.
2. Securing The Feeding Area
The hawks are clever. They observe their prey’s movement and wait for the right opportunity to attack.
When chickens eat, they need to keep their head down. So it is the perfect opportunity for a hawk to attack chickens.
To protect chickens from such situations, you can keep the feeder inside the hen house.
If you let your chicken graze in any open area, you have to cover the feeding space so that hawks can’t see your chicken during feeding.
3. Using Deterrents Of Humans And Animals
You can use deterrents for those animals that hawks are scared of, like Owls or Eagles. This will make the hawk feel like a rival is already there. So they won’t want to encounter it.
You can also consider scarecrow. But as it doesn’t have any movement, it won’t take long for the clever hawks to figure this out.
4. Using Shiny Stuffs
Sometimes shiny pieces of stuff can be an effective way to keep hawks away. You can hang CDs, DVDs, or tape that will reflect sunlight.
This would work on migratory hawks. Local hawks that always see these things would get used to it. So this trick won’t work on them.
5. Using Noise
It is said that hawks get irritated by loud noise. Though some poultry owners say so, there has been no research on this. So it’s totally up to you whether you want to implement this trick or not.
But let me assure you, it actually works with wild hawks. Because they are not used to it. This trick won’t work with urban hawks.
Don’t use the same sound over again. Instead, switch the sound after a few days.
The most effective way to ensure the highest safety of your chickens is to combine all the above tips altogether. Securing run and feeding areas and using noise, sound, scarecrows, and deterrents of Owls or Eagles altogether will definitely keep hawks away from your chicken.
Chickens are among hawks’ favorite diet. As opportunities, they will surely attack any chicken roaming openly.
To save your chicken from this deadly predator, you need to take enough security measures that would protect your chicken and, at the same time, won’t hurt hawks or other flying predators.
In this article, I’ve covered some mostly used and effective ways to keep hawks away and protect chickens. Consider these tips whenever you see any hawk flying over your head. Hope it helps.