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!