Advice on stopping hawk from killing chickens
I live on a beautiful homestead and had have free-ranging Bantam chickens and guineas for years. As expected, predators occasionally kill a chicken but the birth ratio has been much higher than the deaths. Until this spring.
A hawk or pair of hawks have begun targeting our Bantams. Repeatedly we have seen a hawk swoop down and take off with a half grown chick. Some of our hens have lost their entire brood to the hawks. Today I witnessed a hawk attacking a full grown hen. Yelling, I ran towards the hawk and it flew away empty taloned.
The whole flock is very nervous. All morning my chickens have been constantly sounding the hawk alarm call and the chickens stay in hiding under the house and in sheds. They now live in constant fear of death from the sky.
I would appreciate advice on what can I do to discourage visits from hawks. Is shooting the hawks the only option? I know the hawks probably have their own offspring to feed. I admire their hunting skills and know they are an important part of the food chain. I would freely give them all the mice and wild rabbits they could catch, but I don't enjoy losing dozens of my chickens to them.