Do Falcons Eat Chicken? Falcons' Diet and Hunting Habits


Do falcons eat chickens?" is a common question for those raising chickens or loving birds. 

Falcons, known for their speed and skills in catching other birds, make us wonder if they also eat chickens.

This article will answer that question by examining what falcons usually eat and how they behave when hunting for food. 

Let's start learning about falcons and their diets.

A close-up look of a Peregrine Falcon looking closely

What are Falcons?

Falcons are a group of unique birds. They belong to the raptor family, known for hunting and eating other animals. 

You can distinguish falcons from other birds by their pointed wings and slim bodies. 

They are swift fliers. Some, like the peregrine falcon, can dive over 200 miles per hour to catch another bird. 

Though they might be small, falcons are brave and mighty hunters. 

What is the Difference between a Hawk and a Falcon?

Falcons and Hawks have some differences. 

Hawks are usually bigger than falcons. Their wings also look different. 

Hawks have wide, rounded wings, while falcons' wings are slimmer and have a unique shape. 

They have different colors and patterns on their feathers, too.

When they catch food to eat, hawks use their claws, while falcons prefer using their beaks.

What Do Falcons Eat?

Falcons are meat-eaters or carnivores. They like to eat other birds a lot. 

You might see them hunting pigeons, doves, or other small birds in the sky.

 Falcons catch their prey in mid-air using their powerful beaks.

Although they prefer birds, falcons sometimes eat small mammals like mice and squirrels. 

They can also eat insects and small fish if they live near water or where these foods are easy to find.

Remember, not all falcons eat the same things.

Their diet can vary based on where they live, the time of the year, and what food is available. 

It's all about survival for these impressive birds.

A Young Falcon sits on a branch and eats a lizard


Do Falcons Attack and Eat Chickens? Myths and Reality

So, do falcons eat chickens? The straightforward answer is-  not a habit.

Falcons prefer to eat smaller birds that they can catch while flying. 

Chickens are ground-dwelling birds and are not their preferred meal.

Yet, exceptions can occur. Falcons might prey on young and small chickens in times of food scarcity or when the opportunity presents itself. 

But even in these cases, they usually don't go after the full-grown ones.

So, while falcons can eat chickens, it only happens sometimes.

Falcons eating chickens is more of an exception than a rule, a deviation from their standard aerial hunting practice.

Why Falcons May or May Not Bother Chickens

Falcons like to catch birds while they are flying. That's because falcons are fast and good at moving in the air. 

They could be better at catching animals that stay on the ground or hide in thick bushes.

But some things might make a falcon try to catch a chicken. 

This could happen if:

  • There's not much food around
  • Finds it more accessible to catch something else to eat
  • Falcon's preferences

When there aren't many birds around to eat, a falcon might try to catch a chicken. 

But this only happens a little because there are plenty of other animals for falcons to catch and eat.

All these things show that falcons usually don't eat chickens. If they do, it's because something very unusual is going on.

Chickens and their young ones eating uncooked rice from the ground


How to Protect Chickens from Falcons and Aerial Predators

While falcons aren't the main threat to chickens, it's always good to be cautious.

Here are a few simple ways to keep your chickens safe from potential falcon attacks:

1. Cover Your Coop with Bird Netting

An open-top chicken coop could attract a falcon. Use good, hard stuff to make these coops so falcons cannot pick up your chickens. 

One way to do this is using 'bird netting.' You put this type of fence over the chicken house or yard. The holes in the net are too small for the Falcons to get through.

A chicken run covered with bird netting from top-up

Image from Patti O, Amazon Customer Review | Harvesto Heavy Duty Bird Netting


2. Provide Shelter

Ensure chickens have places to hide. Shrubbery, low trees, and man-made shelters can provide good cover.

3. Use Scare Tactics

Falcons are wary animals. Placing scarecrows or fake owls around your backyard can help scare them away.

4. Keep Your Chickens in a Group

A lone, isolated chicken is an easier target. By keeping the chickens in a group, falcons may perceive them as a more significant threat and keep their distance.

 A flock of chickens roam freely in a stack of brown grass

5. Install a Sound System

Playing loud noises or sounds of falcon predators such as eagles or owls can deter falcons from your chicken area. Make sure these sounds are manageable for the chickens.

6. Get a Guardian Animal

Animals like dogs, cats, or certain goose breeds can help keep falcons away. These pets can discourage falcons from coming too close. Make sure these pets are accustomed to living among chickens and don't pose a threat themselves.

Remember, the threat of falcons is minor for chickens, but practicing these precautions can help avoid unwanted incidents.

Final Word

Falcons are amazing birds, and they mostly eat small birds.

Even though they might sometimes eat chickens, this doesn't happen often because falcons like hunting birds while they fly.

The times when falcons eat chickens are scarce. It usually only happens when they can't find other animals to eat.

You can do a few things to keep your chickens safe from falcons. You can give them a place to hide, put up something to scare the falcons, make noises to alarm them or keep a big animal around that falcons are afraid of.

Doing these things can help keep your chickens safe from falcons so they can be healthy and at peace.

If you're thinking about how to keep your chickens safe from birds of prey, some folks have had success with bird netting. 

One option that works well is The Ultimate Tangle-free Chicken Coop Netting. It's simple to install, doesn't get knotted up, and does a decent job in protection. 

It might be something worth looking into.


  1. Do falcons eat chickens?

Falcons do not typically eat chickens. They prefer hunting smaller birds in flight. However, when food is scarce, falcons may prey on chickens in rare circumstances.


  1. Why do falcons mainly hunt small birds even though chickens might be larger and potentially more rewarding prey?

Falcons are evolved for aerial hunting. Their supreme speed and agility make it easier to catch birds in flight. Chickens, mostly ground-dwelling birds, do not fit into their usual predation habits.


  1. Should I be worried about falcons attacking my chickens?

It's a rare occurrence. But being cautious always helps. Implement preventive measures like covering chicken coops, providing shelters, and keeping chickens safe.


  1. Can scare tactics work in keeping falcons away from my chickens?

Yes, scarecrows or replicas of falcon predators like eagles or owls can help deter them.


  1. What kind of shelter can protect chickens from falcon attacks?

Shrubbery, low trees, and man-made shelters can provide good cover for the chickens to hide if a falcon is nearby.

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