How To Protect Chickens from Hawks?

Chickens are a prime food source for many a predator, and poultry owners often have their hands full at ground level trying to keep foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and opossums from getting their paws on the flock. Flock owners must also be wary of predatory attacks from the sky. Here is how to protect chickens from hawks.

Protecting chickens from hawks includes providing adequate cover in the coop and chicken run using monofilament lines, welded mesh, and strong netting. Adding reflective, deterring visual elements such as CDs, Mylar tape, and scarecrow owls works well with a rooster and guard animal combo.

Many products on the market can be used to help keep hawks away from your chicken flock. Stereos blasting predator calls and hawk distress calls on a loop can scare even the bravest bird away. Add some motion sensor technology to your security setup, and your chickens’ chances of survival increase exponentially.

How To Protect Chickens from Hawks

Chickens, especially free-range ones, are always at risk of being attacked and killed by predators. Foxes and raccoons are their worst enemies on ground level, and hawks pose the biggest threat from the sky.

If you’re experiencing problems with hawks attacking your beloved chicken flock, try the following methods to minimize attacks from the eagle-eyed enemies swooping from above. We don’t raise chickens to become fast-food treats for sky predators!

Federal law (Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918) protects hawks and other migratory birds from being shot and hunted, so please think twice before taking matters into your hands. Killing hawks left, right, and center may lead to serious consequences.

Rather, beef up your chickens’ security by implementing some of the hacks listed below.

Red shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) Flying fast down toward its prey

Use Monofilament Line and Reflective CDs as A Deterrent

Hawks have excellent eyesight, and when they see a monofilament line (heavy-duty fishing line) from above, they are wary of entering a space as they instinctively know that the risk of entanglement is real and poses a threat to being caught.

Criss-crossing monofilament line across the chicken run and hanging reflective CDs onto the lines do wonders in keeping hawks circling above rather than swooping below. The reflective light from the spinning CDs acts as a deterrent to the hawks.

Alternatively, you can add Mylar tape and shiny windsocks to the CD mix to ensure a constant source of flashing reflective light. Place them along the top of the run’s fence line or nice and high on your chicken’s coop.

Provide Adequate Cover for Your Chickens

Providing cover for your flock to run to and to hide underneath is critical when the shadows of the hawks zoom large across the dirt. Start by planting trees and shrubs close to the chicken run, which will provide cover to the chickens in time of need.

Protect the coop by adding or building it from strong wood, and use welded mesh instead of normal chicken wire (ground predators have no problem maneuvering through and past the flimsy wire), and be sure to fit the coop with a sturdy roof with strong locking mechanisms.

When a coop is completely covered with secure materials, the opportunistic hawk has little to no opportunity to attack and steal your chickens. When you let your chickens free range, ensure that there are enough areas for the chickens to run to and hide under when under attack from above.

Take care when designing your chicken run. Use sturdy, welded wire mesh fencing with small openings of 1 inch in diameter to enclose the run and ensure that the design offers no opportunity for ground and sky predators alike.

Plant the mesh fencing a couple of feet deep into the ground to keep ground predators at bay. If you use a net to cover the chicken run, make sure that it’s a bright color, such as orange, to give the hawks a clear indication that there is no entry into the run without running the risk of getting entangled.

Get a Rooster to Protect Your Chicken Flock

If your flock of chickens is rooster-less, it may be time to bring in the original chicken bodyguard. The instinct of a rooster is to protect his hens. When danger presents itself in any way, shape, or form, the rooster’s job is to call out to his hens, sending them running to safety.

A rooster is the original first line of defense and will add to the general security systems of the coop. Check with local authorities before adding a rooster to the flock, as some areas have laws that don’t allow a rooster to be included in the chicken flock setup.

Cover The Chicken Feeding Station

Hawks are clever, and it’s your job as a chicken owner to outwit them if you want to protect your flock. Hawks frequently target the food source of chickens, not because they want to eat chicken food, but because they realize this is where the tasty chickens congregate during lunch and dinner time.

Relocating the feeders and waterers inside the coop instead of out in the run will drastically reduce the chances of hawks getting to the chickens in what should be a relaxing experience when having a bite and a drink.

If your coop design doesn’t allow feeders inside, consider building a separate feeding station in the chicken run. The feeding station should be covered and ideally add extra hiding space should a hawk scout the layout from above.

Employ The Help of a Guard Animal

Employing the help of a guard animal to help protect your precious chickens from attacks from predators is a wise move on your behalf.

Dogs specifically trained to be guard animals will add an extra dimension to the overall protection of the flock, and they will defend the coop from ground and air predators.

Here are a few dog breeds with a proven track record of guarding farm animals:

  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Komondor
  • Pyrenean Mastiff
  • Akbash
  • Maremma Sheepdog
  • Anatolian Shepherd
  • Tibetan Mastiff
  • Kuvasz
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Puli

Adding a goose to the poultry flock can increase the muscle of the group, as geese are adept at protecting themselves and making a big racket when spotting intruders.

Install Bird Repellent Products

Installing visual bird repellents is an effective way to keep all sorts of predatory birds away from your land and, more importantly, your chickens. Erecting a scarecrow can do wonders to repel birds from attacking.

Adding bird scaring devices, such as predator eye balloons, can save the lives of many a hen. Scarecrow owl decoys can also help hawks think twice before lunging for your feathery friends.

Keep Hawks at Bay by Using Auditory Scare Tactics

Many chicken owners have found that apart from the typical visual hawk deterrents, using auditory scare tactics works a treat. Hook up several speakers close to the coop and let the music flow. The music is recordings of predator calls mixed in with the distress calls of a hawk.

Wind chimes and bells activated by the wind also stop hawks from approaching the flock.

Install Outdoor Solar Lights Around the Coop

It’s a well-known fact that hawks hunt during the daytime. Installing an outdoor solar motion sensor security light will add a layer of hawk security to your chicken coop setup.

Fitted with an LED security light that responds to a smart motion sensor, the light will turn on when movement is detected and turns itself off after 30 seconds when no movement is detected.

Guard Your Chickens When They Free-Range

If you don’t have a secure chicken run and let your chickens free-range during the day, you must watch proceedings when hawks are around. Guarding the flock while they enjoy time in the field ensures that hawks won’t attack as easily as they would when your bigger-than-a-chicken figure is not around.

Ensure that any sky predators are aware of your presence by moving amongst your chickens armed with a walking pole and whistle. Should you spot a hawk circling above, get your chickens to safety and free-range another day.

Do Black Chickens Keep Hawks Away?

There seems to be a belief that including a black chicken in your flock will magically keep the hawks from attacking your chickens. The reasoning behind the belief is that the black chicken resembles the arch-enemy of the hawk, the crow.

Ask any chicken owner who has lost a black chicken to a hawk attack if it works, and you will quickly realize that this is a myth at best. Hawks use movement and perceived vulnerability when formulating an attack, and the color of the chicken won’t stop an opportunistic hawk from attacking.

Rather, implementing some of the above safety measures will result in safer chickens.


Keeping hawks, and other predators, from your chickens will be a constant battle of cat and mouse. A predator will strike as soon as you let your guard down or present a sliver of opportunity. By

implementing as many of the safety measures above, you gradually increase the overall protection of the flock.


How To Keep Hawks Away From Chickens (8 Tips) | Pet Keen

5 Ways to Protect Your Chickens from Hawks – Hobby Farms

Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (

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