If you have hawks swooping down and carrying your hens away, you might be wondering if getting a rooster could solve the problem.
Roosters and hawks are both majestic creatures and in a fight between the two, it can be difficult to pick sides. Who will win in the fight between a rooster and a hawk? It can be difficult to answer this question.
In this guide, we compare a hawk and a rooster. We also tell you if getting a rooster can keep your flock safe. We will also cover topics like how to keep your hens safe from hawks.
Can A Rooster Kill a Hawk? (The Short Answer)
A larger, determined rooster can easily drive a hawk away. However, a large hawk, such as the ferruginous hawk, can easily kill hens and roosters. Roosters are fairly strong birds, but they may not be able to match a large hawk’s size, strength, and other superior statistics. At the most, a rooster might try scratching and pecking at a smaller hawk. This might injure the predator slightly but not enough to kill it.
Can Roosters Keep Hawks Away From Your Hens?
You might have seen videos of large roosters killing small hawks. There have also been instances where a determined mother hen has protected her eggs and chicks from hawk attacks. Two roosters can easily drive away a hawk that has come to prey on their flock.
The thing is: roosters and hawks come in different sizes. Most species of hawks are large birds of prey. They have sturdy and robust bodies, sharp talons and beaks, and strong wings for soaring and flying. They also have sharp eyesight. The species known as the red-tailed hawk is also called the chicken hawk for a reason – it is one of the biggest predators of free-ranging chickens.
Some large roosters, like the Brahma roosters, have large, plump bodies, sharp claws, and powerful beaks for pecking. They can easily take on predators like weasels, skunks, and other common chicken predators.
In some cases, larger Brahma roosters could easily scare away a small hawk by pecking or flapping at it. If you have two large roosters in your flock, both the boys can easily keep your girls safe from hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey. Alert roosters also constantly scan the skies and sound an alarm when they see aerial predators like hawks circling overhead.
However, smaller roosters may not be a match against the powerful hawks. After all, hawks are huge birds with immense strength. They can easily attain speeds of 150 mph while diving. They can dive down onto your free-ranging chickens and quickly scoop one away. A rooster cannot match the hawks’ speeds as it cannot fly and may be caught unaware during a hawk attack.
Will a Rooster Protect Against a Hawk Attack?
Hawks, as mentioned above, are immensely powerful birds. They have sharp eyesight, which they use to scan the ground below while flying. They swoop and dive down, easily catch a chicken, and carry her away.
An alert rooster will keep scanning the skies for such birds of prey. If it sees a hawk, it will raise an alarm and alert the hens to run for cover. He might even walk back and forth and flap its wings continuously near the gathered hens until the danger has passed. In this manner, an alert rooster could save his hens from aerial attacks by birds like owls, eagles, and hawks.
However, if the rooster is distracted or not paying attention, it might not be able to prevent a determined hawk from carrying away one of the birds.
Will a Hawk Kill a Chicken?
Yes, large hawks can easily kill chickens. They are carnivorous birds that eat small animals and birds.
Hawks have sharp eyesight, which enables them to spot their prey easily from miles away. Once a hawk spots a free-ranging chicken or a rooster, it can dive down with tremendous speed, grab the target with its sharp talons, and easily fly away with it. Often, the impact or force with which the hawk attacks the chicken while still flying can kill the chicken on the spot.
Most hawks will eat the chicken elsewhere, which is why chicken keepers often do not even notice their birds missing if they have a large flock.
How Do You Treat a Chicken Attacked by a Hawk?
If a human shoos away the hawk mid-attack, or your rooster comes to the hens’ rescue, you might save the birds, but they could still sustain injuries.
Firstly, the attacked chicken will be in shock and might not move. It will be paralyzed. Secondly, the hawk’s talons and beak could result in feather loss. The force with which the hawk attacks can also leave open wounds and injuries on the bird.
It is important to separate the injured hen from the remaining flock. Chickens tend to show cannibalism and will attack their injured flockmate. The smell of blood can set off a feeding frenzy in the flock. That is why it is important that you move the bird away from the other hens.
You can take the bird to the vet or administer some first aid at home. Here are some steps you can take:
- Place a gauze or bandage around the open wound to prevent bleeding.
- Once the bleeding stops, spray some antiseptic spray, such as chlorhexadine 2% solution, on the wound.
- Make sure the injured hen eats and drinks. If it has stopped eating, give it some powdered vitamins and baby bird food. You can use a dropper to feed the bird.
How to Prevent Hawk Attacks and Keep Your Chicken Coop Safe?
Here are a few tried and tested means to thwart hawk attacks:
Get Adequate Roosters to Protect The Flock
Roosters are natural protectors of hens. They are always on alert and keep scanning the skies for aerial predators. Once a rooster spots a hawk, an owl, or an eagle, he will raise an alarm. He will gather the hens in one spot and walk around them while flapping his wings until the danger has passed.
If you have more than one rooster, they can all attack the hawk and drive it away before it can hurt the birds.
Get a Guard Dog
Dogs are great at keeping all kinds of chicken predators away. Keep a dog breed such as the Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyreness, German Shepherd, or Border Collie. With some training, your pet will instantly alert you to predators with its barking and it might even run and chase the hawk away.
Use Shiny Surfaces to Scare The Hawks
Shiny and reflective surfaces like mirrors and tin foils tend to scare hawks, as they hate their bright flashes of light. Attach glass bottles, tins, etc. on and around the coop’s roof to deter hawks from swooping down on your birds.
Use Noisy Objects
Hanging some noisy objects around your backyard can also deter hawks. You can also invest in some ultrasonic bird repellents that emit shrill frequencies that only hawks can hear. They are a safe and humane way to keep hawks away from your chickens.
Use a Scarecrow
You can make a DIY scarecrow with old clothes and place it near the coop. You can attach shiny and noisy objects on the scarecrow to further scare the hawks away. Keep moving the scarecrow around the coop every few days to protect the hens from all sides and also to ensure that the predators do not understand that you are trying to trick them.
Place a Fake Owl on The Coop’s Roof
You can buy a realistic looking owl to attach to the coop. This will ensure that hawks do not land anywhere near the hens since they are afraid of owls. Again, you may want to keep moving the owl every now and then to make it appear alive.
Cover the Chicken Run
Place some harware cloth or mesh roof over the coop’s run to prevent aerial predators from swooping and attacking your hens. You can also plant large trees that provide natural shelter to the chickens’ run and also keep the predators from seeing your birds when they forage.
Place the Chickens in the Coop
While free-ranging chickens tend to be healthier and tastier, they are also more susceptible to hawk attacks. Keeping them cooped up can protect the birds from eagles, hawks, and owls.
Keep Waterers and Feeders Where Hawks Can’t See Them
Hawks tend to attack chickens while they are engrossed in eating or drinking. Relocate the feeders and waterers to a covered area to keep your hens safe.
Conclusion – Can A Rooster Kill a Hawk?
Roosters can protect hens from hawks by sounding an alarm and keeping them together until the danger has passed. Some larger roosters also peck and flap at hawks to scare them away.
However, a large hawk could easily carry away a small rooster.
You can try securing your chickens’ run, placing noisy and bright objects around the coop, and train a couple of guard dogs to keep your hens safe from hawks.