How using deer netting can deter hawks

Hawks are a big problem in many places. Even small hawks like the red tailed hawk can be found in urban areas. Especially now that the weather is breaking and everything is hungry! We've had hawks fly down into the chickens run and walk right into the coop. Of course this never ends well for the chickens, especially the bantams. 

Deer netting over chicken run to keep hawks out.

Unfortunately not every coop has a run that I can put a roof on. We've started adding deer netting to the tops of these runs and it's really helped to deter the hawks.

I prefer to put a solid roof on the run to keep out both predators and bad weather. That's not always possible, so sometimes you need to trick the predators. Oh sure, a hawk could rip through that netting but chances are they won't even try.

Covering the chicken run with deer netting to keep hawks out

It's quite simple actually. Simply purchase a roll of deer netting. The last one I bought was under $20. It only took 1 roll to cover 2 runs. I unrolled the netting and secured it to the fence all around the top with zip ties. I place the zip ties about every foot along the top of the fence. You can place them closer though if you want. 

If your coop is central to the run you can just drape it over the top. You may have to prop the netting up in the middle if you have a huge run. In the image above you can see how I simply added an extra tall fence post and secured the netting to it. This keeps it from hanging down in the middle. I also cut small slits in the netting for the fence poles to come through. It's kind of hard to see but I'll add a picture...

covered chicken run netting hawks

Now keep in mind that this only helps to keep out birds like hawks. They see the netting and usually don't even try to get through it. It's a visual deterrent more then a physical deterrent. Obviously other predators can rip through it if they try. This is by no means a predator proof run! If you have hawks near your coop you're probably keeping a pretty good eye on them anyway, this is just one more tool to keep the hawks away.

deer netting to deter hawks

We did this for the first time about 4 years ago when we had a turkey vulture attack our call ducks. We haven't had a problem in that pen since however the uncovered pen has had 2 hawk attacks. Interesting thought isn't it? The pens are across the yard from each other.....approximately a football fields length apart. Such a simple and cheap method to protect from aerial attacks.

This works great all year long but if you live in an area where it snows, winter can be a bit of a problem. Most of  the time when it snows it will simply fall through the netting or blow off with the slightest breeze. If you have freezing rain or one of those really heavy, wet snows it can cause a problem. 

Bird netting over chicken coop with snow on it.

The weight of the snow and the net being frozen can actually cause it to rip. If you shake the net gently it will help dislodge the snow, but try not to shake it too much in the case of freezing rain. They can still take a lot of weight even when frozen, but you want to be careful because who wants to be out repairing a net in freezing rain? 

If the netting does tear, I repair it with tiny zip ties and just zip the ripped spot back together

Other hawk deterrents

There are several other things you can do to keep the hawks away from your chickens. I have a set of predator 'eye' balls. These are basically beach balls that are colored to look like giant eyes with a reflective sticker in the center of the eye. You're supposed to hang them from the trees above the chicken run. They came in a pack of 3, but you don't need to hang  them all together. I have one in the silkie run and the others where the flock free ranges. I haven't had a hawk attack in the yard since getting these.

Hawk deterrent ball hanging from tree above chickens

Many people have good results with hanging CD's, wind chimes and reflective spinners above their chicken run. The motion and reflection when the wind blows keeps hawks away.

I've heard to string fishing line across the top of the run to keep hawks out, but I've never tried it. The theory is that the hawk will see the string and think it's a solid barrier and not even try to go past it. If you try it, let me know how it works for you!

Of course the safest method is to always supervise your chickens when they're outside...however, this is a good deterrent for those times when you simply can't be there. I have a few more ideas to keep your chickens safe from birds of prey. Those will help you whether the problem is hawks or eagles.

Want to know more about raising chickens? Check out my most read chicken keeping articles!


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1 comment:

  1. This is such a great idea! Thanks for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop!