Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

I have to say, for the record, that every time I go out into the yard, this thing gives me a start.  The dogs spent fifteen minutes barking at her when I first put her out.  The chickens?  They couldn’t care less.

But the lady-scarecrow seems to be doing her job quite nicely; since she has been in the yard, the neighborhood hawks have not.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I like to think my well-dressed friend has something to do with it.

We’ve had our flock for about a year now, and in that time, there have been a couple of isolated scares that mainly consist of the girls taking successful cover, and me running and screaming like a psychopath through the yard to spook those crafty hawks off.  But then, all of a sudden, about a month ago, the attempts began to happen frequently–almost once a day.

That’s when I saw this:

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

The view from our ‘chicken yard’ of our neighbor’s big tree.

Don’t see it?  Let’s look closer:

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

Well, looky-there.  Those hawks went and built themselves a little penthouse with a view.  Of my chickens.  That dark mass in the tree is a big, fat hawk’s nest.  *&#$*%&!!!!

Immediately, I went online and started researching how I might be able to thwart their efforts without bringing harm to them or to my chickens (hawks are federally protected animals and killing or even hurting them comes with a hefty, hefty fine, at the very least).  I have always admired the red-tailed hawks around here–I find them to be incredible birds and wouldn’t ever dream of harming one–I just wish they’d take their incredible somewhere else at the moment.  So that’s what I was after in my research: hawk deterrent….come on, internet!

The best, most reliable deterrent I found, of course, was to completely pen in your chickens.  This is a no-brainer, and in an ideal world, I would have a big, spacious, fully-enclosed, state-of-the-art free-range yard for my girls, but as I live in the suburbs, I am not allowed to build this sort of structure, and I am not willing to keep them cooped up in a tiny run.  So that’s out.  Beyond the no free-ranging option, the internet was rife with suggestions about small modifications you can make to your chicken yard that may, or may not help deter aerial predators; among these are things like setting out an owl statue (as birds of prey are territorial and will often steer clear of another bird’s property), putting out flags or banners in the chicken’s area that will flap in the breeze, stretching string across the chicken yard with streamers attached (though I feel like this poses a threat to any hawk that gets bold enough to still attack–it seems likely that it could get tangled in string or wire that is implemented like this), and I even read one account of someone having success hanging a disco ball in the chicken yard.  I’m not going to lie, I heavily considered the disco ball.  I might still put up a disco ball.  I think the question is, why wouldn’t I put up a disco ball in my yard???

Ultimately, I found many accounts of scarecrows working.  Theoretically, hawks won’t attack with a person standing in the yard (of course, there are exceptions to this rule, always), in fact, there has never been an attempted chicken-murder while I was in the yard–it always happens when I am inside at my computer (probably on Facebook), and when I hear the chicken alarm call, I go tearing outside usually just in time to see the hawk flying away empty-taloned.  I like to think that my presence in the yard helps.  So the theory is that if you make a scarecrow, and move it around every couple of days in the yard, the hawks will believe it to be a real person.  This was definitely worth a try, in my book.  It would be inexpensive, quick, and hey, it sounded fairly logical.  Game on.

I decided, ultimately, that I would use a mop as the backbone of my scarecrow.  Why?  Because, digging way back into the depths of my childhood memories, I vividly recall the decorative scarecrows my mom used to make at Halloween–always a Mr. & Mrs. Scarecrow, and the Mrs. always had mop hair.  Little did she know it, but my mom had her finger on the pulse of cutting-edge scarecrow-building.

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

I attached the mop to two 4 foot garden-variety garden stakes.  The first was attached lengthwise, to give the scarecrow appropriate height, and also to have a ‘stake’ end to be able to drive into the ground.  I attached it with two pre-drilled screws along the length of the mop handle.  The second stake would be attached perpendicular to the mop handle, to act as arms.  It was secured with one pre-drilled screw right into the center.  To keep the ‘arms’ from pivoting too much, I then secured the intersection with tightly-wrapped wire:

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

Next, I took some plastic sheeting (leftover spray-paint tarp) and bunched it up and stapled it to the mop handle in such a way that it would give her a bit of shape–I knew I was going to put her in a dress, so she needed to ‘fill it out’ up top, and then have a bit of petticoat action going on below.  I then arranged her ‘hair’ into two ponytails, securing them with twine.  Finally, it was time to dress her; I selected an old dress, button-up shirt, hat, gloves, and neckerchief.  I stapled the shirt and gloves into place, but everything else seemed to stay put well-enough to leave alone.

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

This is when I decided that she needed some accessories….I planted a little red hanging bucket with petunias and moss and stapled this to her hand, and at the same moment, decided I wanted her to be holding a bit of her skirt (I like that she looks like she’s dancing, but really, this is purely scientific–the skirt billows more in the breeze like this–more predator-spooking action!).  And finally, I felt like she needed some sparkle (again, to deter hawks), so yes, I gave her some earrings.  What.

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

The girls approve of my accessory choices.

Is this a fool-proof predator-deterrent method?  Probably not.  But scarecrows have been implemented by farmers to spook birds for thousands of years.  So I’m giving it a go.  As I stated before, it could just be coincidence, but I have not seen a single hawk since putting the lady-scarecrow out.  I move her a bit, every morning when I go to let the girls out (as allegedly, if you leave it in one place, the hawks will get used to it and no longer see it as a threat).

At the very, very least, I get a good laugh from it every time the Texan goes into the yard and has a heart attack because the creepy thing has moved again.  Good times.

Scarecrow Hawlk Deterrent from Farmhouse38

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55 thoughts on “Scarecrow Hawk Deterrent

  1. Jennifer Galbraith April 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm Reply

    I absolutely love this!

  2. hopefarms April 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm Reply

    I’m again in awe of your crafti-ness. You are hereby declared my hero. I’m SO going to make one of these. She might be a little bit red-necked-out, too – but so apropos as we ARE in podunk North Carolina.

    You go with your scare-crow girliness. Hope those Hawks keep their incredible-ness away…..

    • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 4:42 pm Reply

      Me, too! It seriously seems to be working….I don’t want to get cocky….but…. 🙂 Thanks, Sheila! 🙂

  3. Nancy April 4, 2013 at 4:40 pm Reply

    I swear, that is the purtiest scarecrow I have ever seen! Nice job! I would love to have one here but the wind would blow her into next week so we just continue the psychotic waving, running, shouting bit.

    • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 4:45 pm Reply

      Hahaha, yes!!! Being the crazy chicken lady definitely helps, for sure! 🙂 We get really strong winds here every once in awhile, and I’m sure she’s gonna struggle…. or at least give us some petticoat sightings!

  4. Michelle April 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm Reply

    I am totally going to do this! We have Red-shouldered Hawks nesting in our woods. It’s wonderful to know they’re out there, until my girls start squawking and the boys sound the alarm to take cover. I wonder if the resident fox will also be put off by a scarecrow?

  5. Joyce April 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm Reply

    Hahaha! Your posts always give me a good laugh. Thanks for sharing your cute scarecrow 🙂
    (btw, your chickens have such nice fluffy butts!)

  6. Tammy/Our Neck of the Woods April 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm Reply

    This is just too cute! I love how you made it look feminine and pretty. I’ve never seen a scarecrow like this before! She is adorable. I hope she keeps the hawks away from your precious chickies!

    • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply

      Thanks, Tammy–I hope it works, too!! 🙂

  7. home, garden, life April 4, 2013 at 6:41 pm Reply

    Your girls are runway beautiful, dear one. And of course the scare-girl is splendidly outfitted to foil those hawk attacks. Why not pin a few small bells underneath the hemline, so they can tinkle in the breeze…perhaps another deterrent. When I was a teen, we would attach bells to the underside hem of our skirts at holiday time and when we strolled the halls of high, oh what a festive jingle we all made. Good luck! Diane

    • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 7:52 pm Reply

      Great idea, Diane! I think I am going to try that–I was also thinking I might find some little mirrors and hang them somewhere on her to bounce some light around. Pulling out all the stops!!! 🙂

      • home, garden, life April 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm

        Excellent idea! Did you keep your line crystals up in the yard after Easter? They might help too. Your girls look like they are shampooed and blow dried every day! Kudos! When do we see photos of your kitty enclosure?? Diane

      • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

        Soon! I promise! 🙂 Yes–the bunting is still up from Easter–I’m hoping it does double-duty and helps in the hawk department, too!

  8. Cinda April 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm Reply

    I love your fashionable scarecrow! The red tail hawks here in Northern CA are hounded by very persistent crows! I wonder if some strategically placed faux crows might also help?

    • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm Reply

      You know what Cinda–the crows here do a pretty decent job chasing the hawks off, as well! In fact, many times, I have been alerted to the hawks’ presence by the crow alarms going on outside–love them crows! 🙂

  9. Kylee from Our Little Acre April 4, 2013 at 7:08 pm Reply

    I need to get out my scarecrow again this year!

  10. julieadolf April 4, 2013 at 7:26 pm Reply

    Kate, why is it that every project you touch oozes adorableness?! I love your scarecrow lady–she is just splendid! Who says you can’t scare away hawks and look good doing it, too?! The details are precious! Hope she keeps those hawks away.

    • farmhouseK8 April 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm Reply

      Hahaha!!! Julie–you know me–if I’ve got to put up a scarecrow–it darn well better be cute! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  11. Jen Morris April 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm Reply

    That is the most adorable scarecrow I’ve ever seen! We don’t have hawk problems here but I’m tempted to make one just for the cute factor.

  12. Lynn April 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm Reply

    How cute! Love that scarecrow!

  13. Tina Anderson April 5, 2013 at 12:33 pm Reply

    As with all your ideas, I find this to be both functional and adorable, not to mention hilarious! As a new personality in the farm yard, I feel Mrs. Scarecrow deserves this publicity and major kudos for protecting the fluffy butts! Well done Mrs. S! …and Kate too! 😉

    • farmhouseK8 April 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm Reply

      Why, thank you Mrs. The-Anderson-Family-Farm-Project! Me and the (slightly creepy) scarecrow appreciate it immensely! 🙂

  14. Laurie April 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm Reply

    Perfect! We had heard hawks around, but hadn’t seen them… and in the evenings when I get home from work and let the girls out to forage a bit, I hadn’t worried much. Then, last weekend I was doing some work in our garage with the doors open and heard the alarm. I went around to the back yard and found all the girls hanging out under bushes, and here came a young hawk soaring over the yard. She met up with a larger hawk who had apparently been stalking quietly in a tree nearby and they both flew off. Time for a scarecrow. 🙂

    • farmhouseK8 April 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm Reply

      Oh no!!! Yeah–might be worth a try, for sure!!!

  15. Lisa @ My Ordinary Country Life April 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm Reply

    She is precious!! What a great idea! Can’t wait to make one of my own….thanks for sharing.

  16. Charlotte Zweigoron April 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm Reply

    This has me thinking that a girlie scarecrow might be a cute addition to my yard!! And, I don’t even know what I’m doing here! I am a paper crafter (cards and altered objects) who happens to love those black and white chickens like you have but owns only one small pooch named Sara Lee (’cause nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee). Hawks have been known to carry off small dogs like my little Chihuahua mix so we keep an eye out for them… and their shadow on the ground as they fly overhead… I’m not sure how I got here but I love your blog and your babies and the faceless Texan we hear so much about!! Carry on!!!

    • farmhouseK8 April 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm Reply

      Thanks, Charlotte–I always enjoy your comments! Thanks for following–love the pup’s name! 🙂

  17. Luisa April 6, 2013 at 10:53 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh…she is a sassy one! Seriously adorable. I’m glad you posted this. We will be getting some hens soon and the hawks here are the only predators I was concerned about. We live on a small lake and they are always flying over searching for fish dinner. I even went out and bought one of those ugly garden owls…but your scarecrow is waayyyy better!

    • farmhouseK8 April 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm Reply

      Oh, cheers to getting hens! Yay! Yeah, the hawks are really the only thing we have to worry about around here, too–our dogs do a really great job of keeping everything else outta here. Best of luck!!! 🙂

  18. Jeanne Brandt April 10, 2013 at 2:24 pm Reply

    I just found your blog – I live in Yucaipa – not a real long way from Los Angeles. I was actually born in LA – can’t wait to follow you!

  19. From a Montana Front Porch April 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm Reply

    YES!! YES!! YES!! I WILL have one of these!!! Thank you Kate! ~ Bobbie
    PS, the next time you decide to purge your wardrobe of adorable dress’ just remember that I think we are the same size! 😉

    • Jeanne Brandt April 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm Reply

      She’s adorable! I’m going to make one – blue jays eat EVERYTHING!! I wonder if it will deter them!

    • farmhouseK8 April 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm Reply

      In my dreams I’m the same size as you!!!! 🙂

  20. Mike the Gardener April 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm Reply

    That has to be one of the nicest scarecrows I have ever seen

  21. City Boy Hens April 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm Reply

    Hi Kate,
    Great post! Just remember that the hawks will become bolder when they have young to feed. I’ve had 2 hawks circling my backyard for the last month looking for chicken take-out dinners!
    City Boy Hens

    • farmhouseK8 April 15, 2013 at 10:31 pm Reply

      I know! That’s what I’m worried about with that darned nest up there. We were getting attempts quite frequently there for awhile….but knock on wood, none since the scarecrow went up–but I diligently move her every morning and am also very present in the yard….so we shall see….thanks for the input–and thanks for following! 🙂

  22. Emma April 16, 2013 at 1:49 am Reply

    I Have Got To Get Myself One Of These!!!!!!!!!!!!ect!

  23. TikkTok April 16, 2013 at 4:15 pm Reply

    I’m in ♥♡♥♡♥♡♥!!

  24. Emma April 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm Reply

    Wile your at it, you can use you ultra creativity to make a dog of some kind. That would hawk-proof your yard for shore! And if you do that, please show me how to do it! Those darn crows are taring up my garden! Do you have crows?Or any tips on how to stop them? We had this tragedy last month. There were some crows in the garden and somehow, Cindy snuck up on them and got one. I was so sad. But those crows didn’t learn there lesson. But a dog in the yard full-time would work.

  25. Holly April 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm Reply

    What a ‘lively’ Lady Scarecrow! I am going to make one of these for my chicken yard! I might have the hubby bury some pvc tubes randomly in the yard so moving her every day is really easy. I love how you dressed, accessorized, and posed her!!!

    • farmhouseK8 April 17, 2013 at 7:29 pm Reply

      Thanks, Holly! Good idea with the pipes!! 🙂

  26. Jodi August 6, 2013 at 3:41 am Reply

    the loveliest scarecrow I’ve ever seen. I’m going to try this out. I have a crow problem, did you know those buggers eat chicken eggs? Grrr! I was wondering why egg production was down with my hens…For the moment the flat red mylar helium balloons are deterring them so far. Anyway, thank you for the tutorial, vey cute! Stop by and say hello to me. Miss Jodi

    • farmhouseK8 August 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm Reply

      Thanks, Jodi–good luck with those crazy crows! I will definitely pop in for a visit. 🙂

  27. Lila Wiese September 18, 2013 at 11:39 am Reply

    This is such an adorable idea. I’m wanting to do it, but before I do I have a question. Now that it’s been a while, can you tell me what it’s been like weather-wise. Do you have to bring her in (garage, shed or something) when it rains? I’m trying to picture how this would look after a rain or several. Thanks!

    • farmhouseK8 September 18, 2013 at 3:16 pm Reply

      Thanks, Lila! We’re in Southern California, so we definitely have pretty mild weather and that helps with the lifespan of things like this. I only just put her out this past spring and we truthfully have not had a lot of rain since then. That being said, until very recently when we gave up our back lawn to be more water-efficient, she was getting heavily drenched every other night by our sprinklers (she would be completely wet from this). She’s kept her shape nicely (though she’s definitely a bit more weathered now–bleached by the sun, etc–which I actually kind of prefer), as I used plastic tarping as her underskirts, etc. I have yet to see how she does in really rainy weather. I may bring her in–not sure, honestly!! Wish I could be more helpful! 🙂

  28. Rebecca of South Alabama September 20, 2013 at 11:46 am Reply

    Rebecca of “Sunny Brooke Farms.”
    I Love this idea. An Ole’ fellow once told me to leave a radio playing in the yard where the chickens range and you will never have to worry about “HAWKS” again, so far (2 years) and they keep flying high and leave my gals and guys alone. Mine were being grabbed up like fly’s until I did this…Good Ole’ Gospel singing and the gals LAY LAY LAY, hehehe….give it a try too…………..HAPPY FARMING Y’ALL…………Love in Christ.

    • farmhouseK8 September 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm Reply

      LOL–Great idea! Wow! Thank you for sharing, Rebecca! 😀

  29. Norma Trent June 5, 2014 at 4:01 am Reply

    I’m planning on doing one, only I have an old clothes line in the lower end of my yerd and am placing her there like she is hanging up clothes. maybe an old apron, table cloth, pillow cases, and have to have some big “drawers” lol. I wonder about using swimming noodles for the arms so I can maneuver them to be on the clothes line? anyhow, love the look and will post a pic when I get it done. thanks.

    • farmhouseK8 June 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm Reply

      Norma–sounds absolutely adorable!! Can’t wait to see!

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