Updated at: 06-06-2023 - By: Jane Brody

Chicken protection might be complicated if you have hens and want to keep them safe from a variety of predators.

And that’s especially true when dealing with hawks.

I know what you’re thinking: “When do hawks hunt chicken?”

What you’re looking for is shown here.

While hawks tend to prey on chicks in the morning,. Hawks are opportunistic predators, though, and will prey whenever the opportunity presents itself. Even so, hawks select helpless and unprepared prey. Therefore, they will attack a chicken going about her daily routine, when she is most likely to be sleepy and defenseless.

When Do Hawks Hunt

This article will provide extensive coverage of the topic.

What exactly are you going to learn?

Topics are as follows:

  • Typically, hawks don’t go out hunting until what time of day?
  • Would an adult hawk bother to attack a chicken?
  • Do you think a hawk will keep coming back for more chickens?
  • If a hawk attacks your chicks, may you kill it?
  • If you want to protect your hens from hawks, here’s what you can do.

If you want to know everything there is to know about hawks hunting chickens and how to keep your own chickens safe, you’ve come to the right place.

Do you like it?

Okay, let’s begin!

When Do Hawks Hunt? 

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Hawks often hunt in the early morning, around lunchtime, and again in the evening.

Hawks, unlike certain other types of raptors, are nocturnal, meaning they cannot hunt when it is completely dark outside.

Hawks, on the other hand, have exceptional vision and prefer hunting in low light conditions.

What this means is that most hawk assaults take place at either dawn or dusk.

Inasmuch as the vast majority of hen owners let their chickens out to roam free in the morning.

As a result, most hens go out foraging in the morning and spend the day in relative slumber.


Most hawks attack the chickens in a narrow window, say 9 -11 am. 

Hawks, on the other hand, are extremely adaptable raptors that can hunt for long periods during the day.

This is especially prevalent during the winter months when food is scarce.

In the case of hawks, this may be the case during the migratory season when the birds must cover great distances.

In the summer, hawks tend to hunt first thing in the morning and then rest on a perch until well into the evening.

A hawk, on the other hand, almost never lets its easy prey get away. And so,

A hawk will take time out of his busy schedule to deal with a chicken that is acting too casually even at lunchtime. And devour that cute tiny thing.

Chicken-keeping novices frequently ask:

Will a Hawk Attack a Full Grown Chicken?

Absolutely, that will be the case.

It is common for hawks to swoop down, take the hen, and return to their nest with her.

Everything occurs in a matter of seconds.

As a result, “a lost chicken” is frequently all that can be said after a hawk assault.

A hawk, however, has a maximum lifting capacity of only 3 pounds.

If a mature chicken weighs more than that,


The hawk may make a calculated move to devour the chicken on spot. 

The chicken is typically decapitated by the hawk’s keen talons during such a hunt.

Once the feathers have been carefully removed, the raptor may chow down on the meat.

It’s possible the hawk simply picked over the carcass of a dead chicken, if the remnants are dirty.

Given the difficulty of successfully capturing a hefty chicken.

Hawks rarely prey on adult chickens unless they are particularly hungry, inexperienced, or young males.

Yet, it is not uncommon to see a hawk pursuing a chicken.

In fact, the name “Chickenhawk” is commonly used to refer to three separate species of hawk in North America.

All of these things:

1. Sharp-Shinned Hawks

These hawks have adapted wings for swooping through tree canopies, and they call forests and marshes home.

The sharp-shinned hawk is unique among hawks in that it often stores its prey for later consumption.

And so,

Just one chicken can provide you with enough food for an entire day.

2. Cooper’s Hawks

These are found in areas with plenty of deciduous trees and therefore an abundance of prey.

A farm-raised chicken, on the other hand, is both simpler and more satisfying to hunt than lizards or tiny birds.

3. Red-Tailed Hawks

These birds can soar thanks to their well adapted wings, and they prefer wide open environments like deserts, meadows, and pastures.

However, prey is scarce in such locations.

And so,

Chicken coops are common hunting grounds for these hawks.

Will a Hawk Keep Coming Back For Chickens?

Yes, that is very likely to happen if the hens are located in the hawk’s domain.

Hawks usually stay away from populated places.

When a hawk has no other available food sources, however, it is more prone to act outside of its supposed range.

Because of this, most reports of hawk attacks on hens occur in the winter or during migration.

A hawk that lives in the region will definitely come back for more chickens, but a hawk that is just passing by might not.

Sometimes, passing hawks find a permanent home near a chicken coop or bird feeder.

This is common practice while pursuing a chicken is simpler than pursuing other forms of wildlife.

A hawk hunting your chickens is something you should try to prevent.

Now, if you have hens and you spot a hawk in your neighborhood, you need take precautions.

For their sake, I’m sure you’d want to keep them safe.

And I know you’d do everything in your power to make this happen.

For this reason, one might wonder.

Can I Shoot a Hawk Attacking My Chickens?

Don’t even think about it.

It is illegal to capture, hunt, damage, shoot, cage, or poison a hawk due to the “Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA),” which protects raptors.

In addition to misdemeanor penalties, the infraction carries a maximum fine of $15,000.

Further, hawks are harmless birds of prey.

They have an innate need to pursue chickens.

You can’t kill a hawk with a gun, but you can prevent them from swooping down on your crop fields.

To put it another way, the hawk may be made to cluck like a chicken without really sending it out with the hens.

Let’s have a look at several solutions to the problem of hawks stealing your chicks.

How To Protect Chickens From Hawks?

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You can do this by:

1. Covering the Chicken Spaces

Hawk assaults on chickens are more common when the birds are out in the open looking for food.

As a result, protecting the chicken coops against hawk attacks is as simple as putting up a roof. So,

  1. Install hardware cloth over the coops or get a chicken tractor that can be moved around. Covering meshwork openings should never be more than half an inch in diameter.
  2. Cover the tops of chicken feeders with metal.
  3. Make sure your netting is secure enough to keep out hawks if you must use it.
  4. In order to deter the hawk from going after the hens in the first place, you need invest in some bright orange covers.

The chickens can be safeguarded from predators by the use of double-sheeted cages.

In an effort to deter predators from chickens, some farmers apply an electric shock to the cover, but I wouldn’t encourage it.

2. Getting a Guardian Animal

  1. When a hawk is spotted, a rooster will start making a lot of noise to scare it away. To protect the chickens, they sound an alarm and lead them to safety. Therefore, a rooster protects his flock from hawks.
  2. Great Pyrenees and other trained dogs will not only keep the hawk away from the chicken, but they may also fight the bird if necessary. In addition, hawks typically avoid areas with dog odor because they find the scent offensive.
  3. The same is true for donkeys and Guinea fowls, which scare away hawks.

3. Using Intense Light

Hawks will avoid any area that has reflective surfaces or bright lighting. To keep hawks at bay, try:

  1. Using materials with a reflective surface, such as aluminum foil or reflective tape.
  2. Adorning tree branches with dusty CDs and broken mirrors.
  3. Putting up rods of lighting capable of producing optical illusions.

4. Making Excessive Noise

Hawks are easily annoyed, especially by loud noises. Then use a radio, wind chimes, or something else to get your message through.

To avoid monotony, switch up the noise patterns every few days.

5. Employing Decoys

Wherever there are owls, hawks will look elsewhere.

Hawks can be scared away with the use of scarecrows or life-size owl figurines.

However, you need to continuously shifting their roles in order to maintain credibility.

6. Removing Perches

There should be at least 9 meters between the coop and the nearest perch.

Your hens will have more time to run and hide if you keep them at this distance from the hawks, who hunt by remaining perched and swooping down from above.

7. Creating Shelters

The chickens will be safe from a swooping hawk as long as there are bushes around.

Furthermore, coops for chickens should not be too small.

Chickens who are unwell or dying should be removed from the coops to prevent further attacks.

Another way to protect chickens from being eaten by hawks in the morning is to keep them inside overnight.

8. Adopting a Black Chicken

Given that hawks have a strong aversion to crows, having black chickens can greatly decrease the likelihood of them being eaten.

9. Seeking Assistance

The best course of action, if the hawk persists, is to contact the local wildlife authorities.

Chickens should be protected from predators like hawks by being housed in a coop that you construct yourself if at all possible.

Yes, constructing a coop from scratch might be challenging.

You have no idea what to do or where to begin.

You could learn how to construct excellent chicken coops by consulting the book “Building a Chicken Coop.”

You can learn more by visiting this link.

(You’ll be taken to a page where you may buy it and find out all the details.)

Now for the exciting part

In addition to being immediately available for download and use, you also have 60 days to evaluate its usefulness.

If not, your payment will be refunded.

I think a two-month guarantee is a fair deal all around.

When Are Hawks Most Active?

Hawks are diurnal, meaning they hunt during the daylight hours.

This suggests that they are more active during the day.

In order to make the most of their keen eyesight, hawks prefer to hunt and be most active during the day.

Hawks have eyesight eight times more acute than the human eye.

Prey capture is largely visual, therefore it stands to reason that they would be most active during the day.

Do Hawks Hunt At Night?

There is a common misconception that hawks only hunt at night, however this is not the case.

Because of how well they can see during the day, they may avoid going out hunting at night.

Hawks have greater vision during the day, making daytime hunting more successful.

In addition, hawks are considered diurnal because they prey during the day.

Therefore, if you are wondering if hawks are nocturnal, the answer is yes.

That being the case, the correct response is “no.”

Night-hunting birds, like owls, are active only when it’s dark outside.

Nocturnal animals are those that actively seek out prey after dark.

Hawks were primarily diurnal hunters.

You might be interested in reading an essay I wrote in which I compare and contrast owls with hawks.


Hawks are known to target hens around noon.

But they can stay out all day hunting and are formidable foes for a full-grown chicken.

If a hawk attacks a chicken coop once, it will likely return to do the same to other chickens.

The only way to stop a hawk attack is not to shoot the hawk, but to take precautions.

In order to prevent your chickens from being attacked by wild animals, you should construct a chicken coop.

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