How to keep birds of prey away from your chickens?

bird of prey

Raising chickens is relatively easy if you provide the right food, shelter, and water for their needs. However, one complication is the many predators that see your chickens as a feast to be consumed while you are not watching. For predators on the ground, such as foxes or weasels, creating a safe chicken coop is not all that difficult if you keep in intact and watch for signs of entry. 

However, keeping away the birds that prey on chickens, such as hawks and owls is another matter. Because they come from above, you will need to take special measures to ensure that your chickens are safe. What follows are some simple, effective means of ensuring your chickens are not carried off or killed by birds of prey. 

You can tackle this problem in two ways – deter the bird of prey from visiting you yard or stop the bird of prey from reaching your chickens. These two might sound similar but one might be more appropriate than the other depending on the situation in your yard.

 How to stop birds of prey endangering my chickens?

  1. Chicken Tractor 

If you only have a few chickens, consider getting a chicken tractor or portable coop that can be moved around on your property. The coop itself is strong , lightweight and resilient and can be easily moved to fresh ground for your chickens. 

Unfortunately, this will only work if you have a few chickens around the home. For a small number of chickens however, this will work well with a minimal investment.

  2. Covered Run 

This is essentially a roof over the coop and the area around the coop where the chickens are otherwise exposed to birds of prey. You will need to use something strong and inflexible, so that the birds along with the foxes, raccoons, and weasels do not force their way in as well. 

Welded Wire: Welded wire is quite popular to create a covered run as it allows in the fresh air and sunlight while withstanding birds and animals from getting to the chickens. You’ll need to inspect the wire ever so often to ensure that it remains intact. 

Fishing Line:  If you are looking for a temporary way to shelter your chickens from hawks in particular, fishing line will do. Run in a diamond pattern along the top and all but the most desperate of birds will stay away. This is because the fishing line flexes too much for birds to land and try to tear a larger hole to get inside. However, a desperate hawk may try to force its way through regardless.

  3. Chicken Tunnel 

A sort of cross between a chicken tractor and a covered run, this is a covered, tunnel-like structure that allows your chickens to roam inside across your property. You can make the tunnel as long as you desire, and it will be difficult for any predator to get at them. It is more expensive to build, and you will need to inspect it regularly for any holes or entryways, but it is most effective in keeping a large number of chickens safe while allowing them to roam around your property.

 How to keep birds of prey away from your yard?

 1. Pinwheels and Shiny Tape 

You may have seen outdoor pinwheels before, but they are more than simple decorations. Birds are scared of shiny and reflective materials. Metal, solar powered ornament like these they can naturally scare birds of prey away. The sudden flashes of light startle the birds of prey and will help keep them away from your chickens. Pinwheels are also quite durable and only need occasional inspection to ensure they are still upright and working. 

Some cheaper plastic wheels can be equally effective if they are placed in a sheltered area. 

If you have some shiny tape lying around and some sticks and string, you can use that instead of purchasing a pinwheel. Attach one end of the string to the tape, the other to the top of the stick, then plant the bottom of the stick in the ground. Be sure the tape can move around in the wind.

While the pinwheels will not work at night, birds tend to be asleep anyway. However, a dark, cloudy day might reduce the sunlight to the point where pinwheels will not work. So, you may need to employ additional methods just in case. 

Similar to pinwheels, CD’s can be a great deterrent of birds of prey. When the shiny side of CD glimmers and reflects light it will scare away most birds of prey. You can use cheap pie pans that are foil or aluminum as well. 

 2. Balloons 

You’ll want to use balloons that are made with shiny materials not only for their reflective quality, but they are more durable than traditional balloons. Ideally, you’ll want to use balloons with faces and eyes painted on them, so the birds of prey believe that there are other birds of prey or predators about. Tie a balloon or two on the top of your chicken cage and judge the results yourself.

3. Motion Activated Sprinkler

Enjoy gadgets ? Look no further than this Motion Activated Sprinkler. The sprinkler will activated at any time of day to scare away the birds of prey. The water will not harm the birds in anyway but will certainly give them a fright. 

The sprinkler works with 4 AA batteries but will last up to 7,500 activation cycles. 

4. Scarecrow 

This suggestion is old and common because of how effective it is. Create a scarecrow from old clothes and combine the tips above with it. Hang plastic bags around the scare crow so they catch the wind and make a sound. Scatter old CD’s across its body and hang balloons over its head. In our experience, this has been the best method at deterring any species of bird. 

Keeping chickens safe from predators, whether from the air or the ground is no easy task. But you can take steps to help protect them if you choose the right method and build it solid enough to withstand such attacks.

What smells can scare away birds of prey?

There are many smells that can repel birds of prey away from your yard and specifically, your chickens. Garlic, Cayenne Pepper and Peppermint Oil are all known to be offensive to birds and all happen to be organic products. Follow this article to learn more about what smells keep birds away.

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About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!


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