How to Keep Large Predatory Birds & Owls Away From Chickens

By Zach Lazzari

Chickens are threatened by numerous predators. Raccoon, weasels, foxes and coyotes will target chickens from the ground, and hawks, owls and large birds will pose a threat from the air. Protecting your chickens from predatory birds is possible using several techniques. Know the laws regarding predatory birds as many are protected; killing the birds is not an option.

Bird Decoys

Place an owl or hawk decoy near the chicken coop to deter predatory birds. Birds are territorial and the decoy will claim the area. Decoys are not foolproof but they do provide an easy line of defense. Place the decoy in an area where the chickens will not see it clearly. The decoy may make them nervous and draw aggression out of a rooster.

Netting Options

Cover your run with bird netting. Netting is inexpensive and stops birds from diving into your chicken run. Netting is easy to hang over a small or moderately sized run but it may not work on a large run. Netting is also ineffective for free-range chickens. Bird netting is available through most hardware and landscape/garden stores.

Get a Rooster

Use a rooster to guard your hens. Roosters will fight to protect your flock. When an owl or hawk enters within range and attacks hens, the rooster will take action. Keep several roosters for flocks of 15 or more birds.

Check your local city and county codes regarding roosters. They are not allowed in many urban areas.

Ground Cover

Let your hens roam in areas with bushes and shrubs on the ground. The plants provide ground cover and obstruct the view of predatory birds. The plants also draw insects for feeding and provide shade during the hot summer months.

Night Lights

Owls are nocturnal hunters so a night light will deter them from the coop. Lock down the chickens at night when owls are active and leave a nightlight on the outside your coop. Do not leave the light on inside as it will interfere with the chickens' sleep habits.

Roosting Spikes

Remove the elevated roosting options around your coop with spikes like those found on many power poles. Predatory birds will roost in high trees and on your gutters. They will observe the chickens and plan their attack. Place the spikes on any areas where you see the birds.