Our baby rooster perches on the highest branches at night. If I didn’t know better, I would think he could fly.
In nature, chickens are safer up in the trees at night and underneath ground cover during the day. This protects them against night predators like foxes and day predators like hawks.
We’ve learnt that hawks like to hunt around trees. This is so they can jump down on their prey. However, hawks are actually at a disadvantage in an open field as chickens can see them coming a mile away and have time to take cover. Although it is nice having our chickens around the farm yard there is just too many trees that give hawks advantage. After Winter we plan to put our free ranging chickens in the field to give them a better view of the skies. They will have movable steel-cage coops with a special long door, or tunnel, to prevent hawks and other predators from getting in. The chickens can range outside and if they see a hawk they can duck in through the long door to safety. Hawks are very vulnerable on the ground and will not (should not) risk crawling through a long door. We are also seriously considering a Livestock Guardian dog to deter predators.
We haven’t seen the hawk that attacked our chickens at all and a few large crows have moved in. I’ve been reading that crows bother hawks and don’t mind attacking them. The crows we have are very playful and confident. I’m sure the hawk will stay clear away. Fingers crossed.