If you want to keep your - or someone else’s - chickens away from a certain area, there are a few things you can do to deter or scare the chickens away.
One of the best methods of deterring chickens is to place a fake predator where the chickens will see it.
Chickens are great at surviving in the wild due to how quickly and efficiently they flee and hide from predators, so it makes sense.
As owls are one of the most dangerous predators to chickens, you may be considering an owl made of plastic, clay, or some other material.
Using fake owls is common practice around the world to deter pigeons and other pest species of birds from damaging buildings, yards, and other areas.
But how effective are fake owls at keeping chickens away?
Here’s what I’ve learned over the years from using fake owls to both deter chickens, and to deter other predators from entering my yard.
Do Owl Decoys Scare Chickens?
I have to be honest here, I’ve used decoy or fake owls a number of times over the years and the results have been anything but consistent.
In my experience, chickens tend to be shocked and scared the first time they see a decoy. But they become less scared over time as they realize there is a low threat.
That’s right, contrary to popular belief chickens are pretty smart. Well, at least smart enough to figure out the difference between a fake decoy and a real owl.
That said, I’ve heard from some people that a fake owl was enough to deter some chickens from a certain area on their land for a long time.
It might come down to how big or realistic the owl is, as well as the individual chickens and some of the other things in their environment.
If you want to scare some chickens, I certainly think it’s worth trying a decoy owl first. There is a chance it will work, and it’s an inexpensive and easy way to find out.
If you’re looking for a decoy owl, I recommend something like this one available on Amazon:
Related - Do owls really eat chickens? Find Out Here.
What Will Scare Chickens Away?
If you’re looking for more ways to scare chickens away or deter them from roaming in a particular area, here are some more commonly used methods:
Spraying With Water
Chickens do not like being sprayed with water. If you’re around in person, then a quick spray with a hose should do the trick.
You can also set up motion-activated sprinklers or a similar device to soak unwanted chickens when you’re not around.
Just be sure to only use a soft spray. You don’t want to hurt the chickens, just a quick shower to warn them away.
Use Scents Chickens Hate
Chickens have a good sense of smell and there are a number of scents that will make them turn up their noses and turn around.
Using scents to deter any animals, in general, can be tricky. It’s hard to keep a scent alive, and like most animals, chickens tend to ignore scents over time.
That said, a lot of people have had success using strong spices and citrus scents, in particular. It’s worth trying any of these if you can.
Put Up a Small Fence
Putting up a fence isn’t going to scare chickens away, but it’s often a very effective way of keeping chickens out of an area.
It comes as a surprise to most, but chickens are flightless birds for the most part. Plus, they seem to rarely be interested in hopping small fences.
A small picket fence or chicken wire can be put up fairly quickly and without a high price tag.
Don’t Use Mothballs and Other Chemicals
I’ve read some accounts from people using mothballs and other man-made pesticides to keep chickens away - please don’t do this.
Even if you’re not sure who the chickens coming into your yard belong to, you don’t want to hurt them.
There are moral, social, and legal implications if you use tactics to scare away chickens that harm them.
You shouldn’t use anything that is potentially toxic if it comes into contact with a chicken, or if the chickens eat it.
I know a lot of people use mothballs to deter various pests in their yards. Mothballs are effective because they contain a high concentration of insect repellant, but the chemicals and fumes are toxic to hens.
It can be frustrating dealing with unwanted chickens, but please only use methods that are safe.
If it’s not your chickens you’re trying to scare away, find out who they belong to, and speak with the owner to come up with a solution.
If it’s your chickens, I’m sure a combination of fencing off the area and/or using fake owls and motion-activated sprinklers will do the trick.
Related - Here’s how to keep chickens off your porch.
A fake owl may keep chickens away, but it’s not always effective. You’re going to have to test a decoy out to find out if it works.
Don’t give up if it does not work though, you have other options as I’ve covered in this post.
With some perseverance, I’m sure you’ll be able to keep chickens from damaging your yard or generally trespassing on your land.