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Protecting Laying Hens From Hawks

Some of you saw on my Facebook fan page that a huge hawk swooped down from the sky, right in broad daylight with the kids playing outside, and killed one of our laying hens.

The remainder of that day until we locked the hens up, the children took turns jumping and waving arms and screaming at the hawk, who continued to circle the hen house, while I researched how to protect laying hens from hawks.

The first thing I found was that hawks are federally protected and a person should under no circumstances send her 14yo son out with a b.b. gun to persuade the hawk to vacate the premises, and if a person HAD unknowingly done that, she had better high-tail it out there and order a “cease and desist” order pronto!

After I may or may not have nearly violated a federal law, I read that once a hawk finds a food source, it will return every day until, one by one MY food source would be gone. (Where’s the federal protection for MY egg source? HUH? That’s what I want to know!)

Sure enough, the next day the hawk was back WITH A FRIEND! I considered this a direct challenge and personal affront, so I girded my loins and used all my internet research to create this:

Mr. Balloon Head

Short of keeping my chickens penned up or getting an elephant sized dog, a helium balloon was the most reasonable recommended deterrent to hawks. It seems they think the bobbing head is really a human standing guard. (Word is still out on whether they think the human has a b.b. gun.)

Since we are cheapskates, we used regular balloons leftover from a birthday party, which still bob and sway with the wind, and we move Mr. Balloon Head every day so the hawks won’t figure out our little scheme.

Since Mr. Balloon Head came to live in our chicken yard, we haven’t had any more chicken attacks!

Take THAT federally protected chicken killers!

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Comments

  1. Love it! Hope the hawks give up soon!

  2. Hilarious! I think you should attach the b.b. gun to the arm of your balloon man. ;)

  3. Im sorry you lost one of your hens, but this post is so funny! I couldn’t stop laughing as I imagined everything happening. :)

  4. oh my word, so glad you figured something out

  5. You’re crackin’ me up here…now what do you do about rouge FOXES. I had one chase my hens to within 2 feet of my boot before he looked up and saw me standing there – in spite of my shouts of “Hey You… Fox, Get Outta Here!” all while I was shaking in those boots! That was last fall and the rascal took an unknown number of our laying ladies…Would Mr. Balloon Head work for that???

  6. Sorry you lost your hen :o( I know how attached the kids can get to them. We just built a huge coop and run for our 16 hens that we got in May. We live near a wildlife refuge here in MN, so we have a ton of wildlife. Eagles are our main predator! We got a roll of “Deer Guard” plastic netting and a roll of stretchy rope. We zig-zagged the rope across the top of the run posts and then laid the the netting on top, row after row. Then we fastened the rows together with twist ties. The cost of that addition was about $20.
    Another option to try is to take fish line and run it from tree to tree above the run. The sun will reflect it and the birds will stay away because they’ll think it’s a net of some sort. I’ve seen hotels do it over their pools to keep the birds out. Works great and is cheaper yet :o)
    Best wishes :o)

  7. If your chickens are in a open top fence you can run fishing line back and forth across the top. Criss cross it and that will keep the chickens safe.

  8. My Dad is both a falconer (has a hawk and a falcon currently) and pigeon raiser. Its funny to hear when he has coopers hawk’s come and pick off his pigeons, all the while he has a hawk of his own not 20 feet away! He still tries to protect the pigeons and scare off the hawk. Ironic. Sorry you had to loose a hen but i have some empathy for the hawk. It doesn’t know better!

  9. We too are having problems with big birds and our chickens! We have had a huge owl stalking our chickens (and we didn’t even think about using a sling shot to sling marbles at it to persuade the federally protected owl to leave.) It too came back another night and brought a friend!! We lost about 4 chickens to it we think. We do keep them penned up but we have a few renegade chickens who find ways to sneak out, and those are the ones that were got. Its hard to loose an animal!

  10. Yeah, here in Australia you aren’t supposed to kill snakes because they’re protected. You’re supposed to call a snake catcher or something.

    Well if we called a snake catcher every time we saw a snake he would end up living at our house!

    People in suburbia probably don’t kill them, but rest assured people in rural areas can generally be found giulty of such crimes.

    I’d rather be giulty of killing a snake than have said snake bite my child, thankyouverymuch

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