Approved by Dr. Luqman Javed
Raising chickens can be a fun and healthy pastime, allowing you to gather your own eggs and know where your dinner comes from. However, humans arenʻt the only ones who enjoy a chicken supper. To protect your flock, you need to know what animals are out to get them. For instance, do crows attack chickens? Crows rarely attack healthy adult chickens but have been known to steal eggs and eat baby chicks.
Keep reading to learn how to keep crows away from your chicken eggs as well as a fact that might surprise you about crows and chickens.
How Crows Eat and What It Means for Your Chickens
Crows are omnivores, meaning they eat both plant and animal food sources. Theyʻve been known to snack on insects, fruit, snakes, frogs, and yes, eggs. Crows are opportunistic feeders, which is a fancy way of saying their favorite food is whatever is the easiest available at the time.
When it comes to your chicken flock, crows will only try to attack and eat them if they donʻt have easier meal options available. Large adult chickens arenʻt easy for a crow to kill and eat which is why theyʻre generally safe. Baby chicks who stray too far from the protection of their mother hen could be at risk, however. Flocks of young chicks raised outdoors are also at risk of attacks from crows.
Crows pose the biggest threat to your egg production, especially if you keep free-range chickens. If eggs are left unprotected for whatever reason, crows could take advantage for a quick meal. Crows have also been known to help themselves to chicken feed, which isnʻt dangerous to your chickens but could put a dent in your wallet.
Because of their intelligence, crows are masters at figuring out just the right time to swoop in and carry away eggs or young chickens. So how do you keep your chickens safe?
How to Protect Your Eggs and Flock
While crows might not be the most dangerous predators youʻre chickens will face, many of the steps you take to protect from crows will also help keep other enemies at bay, particularly hawks.
To protect young or small chickens, keep them safe in a covered run or coop. Crows are less likely to attack if they have to put a lot of effort into it. Baby chicks are best kept in a secure brooder since they are more vulnerable.
To keep eggs for yourself instead of the crows, collect them at least once a day. Ideally, you want to encourage your hens to only lay indoors or in protected locations. Make sure you follow all recommendations as far as how much space and how many brooding boxes your hens need to help them feel comfortable laying.
If you simply want to discourage crows from hanging around your chickens or your garden, anecdotally, you may try hanging CDs (if you donʻt know what these are, ask your parents) around the area. The reflection of the sun off the CDs may help scare off crows but you will need to move them around to keep the crows from getting used to their location. There is no definitive proof of this working though, and this tip remains largely anecdotal only.
Surprise! You Might Actually Want Crows Hanging Around
Yes, crows might help themselves to your eggs or your chicken feed but many chicken keepers donʻt mind having them around. Crows have been observed mobbing hawks and chasing them away. If crows hang around your chickens, they will be on the alert for hawks in the area as well.
If a hawk is lurking nearby, crows will sound the alarm and may even band together as a flock to chase off the bird of prey. Many chicken owners will sacrifice a few eggs to take advantage of the crows’ anti-hawk guardianship. Providing feeding stations or perches can help you attract and keep crows in the area of your chicken flock.
Crows can be both a blessing and a curse for chicken keepers. The good news is, your adult chickens are probably safe from crow attacks and there are simple steps you can take to protect chicks and eggs. Having crows around can help keep your flock safe from other predators like hawks as well. If crows are becoming a problem for your flock, donʻt take any drastic steps to harm or relocate them without checking with the proper authorities first. Crows are often protected under environmental laws.
Featured Image Credit: alicepaipai, Pixabay