Just wondering if anyone has tried this. We've had to keep our hens in quite a bit recently because of the hawks. My husband wants to put up a platform feeder and some crow decoys in hopes that crows will hang out in our yard and keep the hawks away. I'm not totally against it, but I do have some concerns about the crows possibly uprooting newly planted seeds, and I'm not sure if their presence would have any effect on the chickens. Does anyone have any thoughts on this idea?
for some reason we have had a few ravens hanging out this spring, never really have had them in the past..however..they aren't actually in the yard, but more in our woodsy areas..maybe cleaning up dead animals from our hard winter?
Bloom where you are planted.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
we are having an unusually cold spring, we got 4 " of snow last weekend and have 5 to 8 " in the forcast for this week..tu and wed..of course last year we lost all of our fruit buds to 20's on Mother's day weekend..so...I hope that doesn't happen this year..at least they aren't likely to bloom early this year !
Bloom where you are planted.
I used to feed a crow population that was living in the woods near our cabin at a holistic retreat center. We weren't growing anything so I can't speak to that problem. We also had a bird feeder and there were plenty of other birds around. I would feed the crows stale bread from the kitchen and chicken bones and roadkill that I would harvest from the nearby country roads, mostly squirrels. We just set the stuff on our railing and they would take it. They would follow us whenever they would see us. They are very smart and you might be able to feed them away from your gardens and still gain advantages and not have them pick at your plants. There were still hawks in the general vicinity.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
@ Brenda: Don't feed your fruit trees yet...that will encourage them to restart growth.
@ Crows. Yes, they are smart birds. Our neighbor feeds them, and when he leaves in his truck, they follow him. (I can tell where he went: if he goes to the village, they will stay with him...if he crosses the bridge to go to the city, they will be back in 3-4 minutes)
I used to feed them kitchen scraps where I used to work. I was the only person there who did NOT have to clean my windshield when I left. LOL
We have a group of crows in the neighborhood. One neighbor makes a point of feeding them. I have watched (we also have red tail hawks and red shouldered hawks) closely, as we now have ducks.
The crows do seem to help. They harass the hawks when the latter are nearby, they sometimes just watch the ducks. They have an early warning system for the hawks as well. I toss some extras out for the crows now - and they have not bothered my plantings at this point in time.
I suspect, though, that different groups of crows may behave differently.
neighbors keep crows here too (south-central KY). i'm pretty sure they just toss out some small scraps of raw beef (from bones when splitting some out for the dogs) out in the barnyard. occasionally they toss out some corn or other small seeds (they keep quite a few feeders stocked in the winter months for the other local birds). they keep quite a lot of fowl so hawks are a concern of theirs (red-tailed is protected here and they are not allowed to shoot). i've heard quite a few good stories about crows and always try to make friends with them.
i don't know about whether or not they pull up seedlings... the neighbors keep a garden near to the barn, so if they'd had that problem in the past, i doubt they'd continue to encourage the crows. they have specifically mentioned to me that they keep the crows around as an anti-hawk measure.
He was probably warning his friends/family. Though it just sounds like "Caw Caw" to us, I'm sure that there are intonations/frequencies and other features that turn it into communications within the flock. "He's got food." probably sounds different than "He's got a Winchester."
Wow, learn something new every day! I havent heard of crows repelling hawks before. I know that we have hawks and others in the area - red kites for sure and other birds of prey. We've had ducks for a few months and no problems with birds of prey or crows, although sometimes tiny songbirds do raid the feeder. We recently got chickens, in a large static run, and the crows are really bothering them, 3-5 crows sit on top of the fence posts all day and wait for food and swoop down into the run, then scatter when they hear me coming. Today we got a rooster in the hope he will keep the crows from annoying the girls too much.
I have three neighbors down the road with chicken pens. The same pair of old hawks have lived for 25 years over a tree a couple hundred feed from the first pen, but have never attacked the chickens. Instead, the hawks feed out of a 12-acre pasture that I own.
Hawks normally feed on field rodents and baby snakes. I read that they attack chickens because they lack food.
What you need is a return to having land with biodiversity, but that will take a long time. I bet you have real clean fields and gardens....no mice for the hawks?
Crows may or may not run off hawks. I know for a fact that crows, ravens and hawks are not mortal enemies naturally. I have seen them sleeping, all three types of birds, in the same tree. I have seen crow and raven babies playing with each other. When I moved here, all three dive bombed each others' nests, and I began going to the bird brawls and throwing small rocks at the divebombers. This made them all quit fighting and get along.
Biodiversity only becomes a problem when it is out of balance. I will have an occasional problem, like a groundhog or voles, but the problem disappears miraculously -- soon as snakes wake up, small garden predators disappear.
I know people think those are empty words, living in balance with nature, but try it. People always complain about slugs. They can start adding quail.
I learn something new from nature everyday. A problem is a friend. Thee is a couple of permaculture experts on here who are trying to get rid of a swampy farm they bought. why, water is the greatest asset in the world. They need to figure out how to use it!!! They may own an old beaver pond. Indians loved beaver silt.
Our local crow family will harass the local hawks until they leave the immediate area. The neighbor puts out whole corn in the spring for the wild turkeys and the crows love the feast. He also puts out corn in the fall for the deer, the crows enjoy the banquet. I think they stick close to enjoy the food abundance provided by the neighbor.
My dog also joins in this endeavor of running off hawks...saw him running off a hawk just yesterday.
We rather enjoy our local murder of crows and like watching them forage in our meadow, raise their families, and conduct their little crow lives. We have more bird life than we have had since the early 80s, so the crows don't seem to deter local bird life at all. The redtail hawks have territory that borders on the crow's, so they naturally tangle now and again.
You could try putting field corn on the cob out for them, not too close to the house and see if you don't attract the crows to your place over time...could just attract squirrels, who knows?
For me it is the magpies that are my defense against aerial predators. I watch the magpies in action, and they are like a little Air Force, swooping in and escorting out hostile enemies. They dive and swoop at much larger birds, such as hawks, vultures, crows, and then escort the threats out of their territory on the wing. Impressive sight. I used to find magpies so annoying, their incessant squawking, their stealing of my chicken feed. But now that I realize how much they both eat insects, and protect my flocks; I have come to appreciate them. Crows have definitely predated on baby goslings on my farm, so I am sceptical that crows are a particularly benevolent force. The magpies tend to agree, and dont like to let the crows around here either. I dont know how to attract the magpies, but they ceratinly do a thorough and steadfast job of patrolling the orchard and keeping away any aerial threats.
Order copies of my book, Dairy Farming: The Beautiful Way at
www.createspace.com Help spread the word! Thanks!
struggle - hustle - soul - desire
We used to throw "wild bird seed" on the ground for the hens to eat. Crows found out and soon they were eating right with the chickens and squirrels. It worked out well - the crows were slightly afraid of the hens but only a little. If they spotted a hawk they'd issue the warning noise and all the hens would run for cover. When the hawk was gone the crows often let the hens know and they'd come back out again. I really liked the crows. I had a pretty large garden and the crows left it alone. I had more trouble with catbirds and mockingbirds, who would take one bite out of each ripe strawberry, take unripe fruit, and pull up corn and sunflowers as they sprouted. But I like mockingbirds so I put up with their naughtiness.
The crows would throw baby squirrels out of the treetop nests, but I think the squirrels were trying to use the crow nests and come time for the crows to nest they'd just clean up the squirrels that were in the way.
Just had to mention what I saw today...made me think of this thread. My murder of crows was really making a big noise up on the hill and pretty soon I could hear a redtail hawk calling a distress call to its mate and here it came, flying past our meadow with the crow pack harassing it all the way. Not 2 min. after, its mate came from the same direction and it only had one crow chasing it...but it was scooting boot out of the area! LOL
My chickens are very grateful! My rooster didn't even bother to call the alarm..he just watched the show and went back to foraging.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association