Protecting my chickens from hawks??

Discussion in 'General Chicken Discussion' started by BruceH, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. BruceH

    BruceH Foodstr2

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    I have a chicken tractor (just uploaded pics) currently housed inside a 50'x100' fenced run. We leave the tractor door open so the birds can hunt for bugs in the run and eat the grass.

    Problem is the hawks which like to help themselves to some of the tasty, uncooked Kentucky Colonel's treats....

    I'm on a tight budget right now, but I DO have 5 10' fiberglass poles, 150 feet of wire and about 10 miles (only a *slight* exaggeration ... there's at least 2 miles on the spool) of nylon string.

    My idea is to install the poles vertically along the center of the 100' run, evenly spaced; then, string the wire from the front-to-back, fastening it to the top of each pole; and THEN, use the nylon string (tied to each side of the fence and going back-and-forth over the poles/wire) to make a "hawk-proof tent" over the entire run. (I just don't have the $400-$500 for netting right now.)

    What I don't know is the spacing needed between nylon-strings to prevent hawk swooping. Would 6 inch spacing work? 4 inch?

    Anybody know or have any input?

    Thanks!

    Bruce

    PS - I'm aware that I'd still have the "ends" of the "tent" open for possible intrusion, but I've got enough string to handle that, if it proves a problem!

    PPS - I already spent $1,400 on the fencing to protect our $40 worth of chickens from dogs .... HEY! Doesn't THAT qualify me for government work??
     
  2. LittleWings

    LittleWings Backyard Breeder

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    LOL I think that does qualify you for government work. And if you run out of money, just borrow some more and let your kids pay for it. :D :mad:

    I have not had a hawk problem in the city. It sounds like that should stop them from swooping into the run though.

    Good luck. And thanks for the morning laugh!
     

  3. Apyl

    Apyl New Member

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    I have read that weaving fishing line across the top of the run at 1 foot intervals can deter hawks.
     
  4. BruceH

    BruceH Foodstr2

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    Fantastic! That would take all the work out of it! Maybe I'll do 8" just to be safe.

    Thanks for the post!

    Bruce

    [​IMG]
     
  5. BruceH

    BruceH Foodstr2

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    Great idea on the streamers! (I did run across that in my "suggested reading", at the bottom, when I originally posted). Do you know if streamers come with some kind of "self sealing" to attach them to the string? or am I on my own figuring out how to keep them in place?

    I appreciate your help and the links you sent!

    Bruce
     
  6. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    Our garden center had four different kinds of reflective streamer. Some had a tape others were to be tied. You could use a whole punch and thread the line in.

    Best of luck.
     
  7. BruceH

    BruceH Foodstr2

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    Thanks for that! At having to run about 125 times, back-and-forth, along the hundred foot length, I think threading them in would be too time-consuming ... and, I'm thinking they'd bunch up at the fence because of the slope in the string. The sticky tape would work well, though!

    I appreciate your time!

    Bruce
     
  8. Cooped

    Cooped New Member

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    I live on the high plains with lots of hawks. My 3 roosters are very good at sounding the alarm and rounding up the hens whenever danger from above appears.
     
  9. jennifer

    jennifer New Member

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    I was in the yard and actually saw a small hawk try to take one of my hens. It couldn't handle the weight and almost as the hawk landed the rooster jumped at it and the others fled as well as himself. I worry about that too.
     
  10. BruceH

    BruceH Foodstr2

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    Unfortunately, my rooster is small and a scardy-roo, so, he's not much help. I'm hoping to rebuild the flock this Spring, so I'm looking for the least expensive way to protect them (with materials I already have....)

    Hope your hen came out of the attack OK!

    Bruce



     
  11. henlopen

    henlopen New Member

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    Bruce, I'm in the same situation with hawks. I've thought about many ways to control them. The deer fencing is usually 2 X 2 inch square. With anything spaced that close I worry about a wet snow taking it down. The fishing line on a 4 " spacing sounds good to me and may not present the snow hazard. I have heard that the hawks will fly underneath a cover if given the chance so total coverage I guess is the way to go.

    Good Luck, Rick
     
  12. BruceH

    BruceH Foodstr2

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    Sounds like you may be right about deer fencing and snow, Rick. I hadn't thought about that. If it's dirt-cheap, I'll look into it and save the multi-day work stringing my nylon, as we have very little snow here in N. Texas.

    From what one responder told me, 4" spacing isn't needed. He said one foot, and I'm going to try 8" just to be safe.

    However, if you reread my plan, my problem is going to be SPACING the strings along the wire. Going to see if pet stores sell UV-stabilized, small diameter, plastic aquarium air hose ... which I'll cut into 8" lengths and insert the top wire through (all 125 of them!). Hopefully, that'll keep the cross-strings properly spaced.

    Thanks for your input and deer fencing idea!

    Bruce
     
  13. Sundancers

    Sundancers New Member

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    It may also help to know which hawk(s) you have a problem with. The Chicken hawk is the unofficial designation for three species. (cooper, red-tail and sharp-shinned). Then again it may not be a hawk at all.

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Coopers_Hawk/id

    Just food for thought...

    Best of luck.