Protecting Chickens: Will Crows Attack? A Comprehensive Guide


three black crows roaming on the ground with dry leaves


Ever observed those shiny black birds, known as crows, mingling around in your backyard? 

Perhaps their presence has caught your attention, especially if some chickens are pecking and clucking nearby. 

A question might arise: "Will crows attack my chickens?"

 This is a common concern for many, and it's exactly what we will explore in this discussion.


What Are Crows: Understanding Their Behavior

Crows are part of the clever "Corvus" family of birds. They live worldwide with their smart cousins, the ravens and magpies. Crows have beautiful, glossy black feathers that shine in the sun.

Crows are incredibly intelligent birds. They enjoy spending time together in groups called murders, solving difficult problems as a team.

Crows also learn new skills very quickly, like how to use tools to get food. Their amazing intelligence helps crows adapt and thrive in many environments, from busy cities to quiet forests.

Crows don't usually bother chickens and prefer to eat seeds, fruits, nuts, and even small animals. 

However, crows are very curious birds by nature. If they detect an interesting smell or spot a potential food source like grain near a chicken coop, their curiosity may lead them to investigate more closely. 

A crow's innate curiosity and desire to explore helps it find food and survive.

In so many ways, crows demonstrate their outstanding intelligence and adaptability. 

Their ability to solve complex problems, learn new skills, live in diverse habitats, and work together in groups shows their remarkable smartness.


Myths and Facts: Do Crows Attack Chickens?

There are stories about crows attacking chickens. Most of the time, crows leave grown-up chickens alone. 

Crows are curious by nature, so they might take a closer look if they see a chicken coop or spot food nearby.

However, crows can sometimes take chicken eggs or baby chicks if no other easy food source exists. 

But this behavior is rare. Crows can be helpful to chickens because they can scare away other birds that might attack, like hawks.


When Do Crows Target Chickens?

Usually, crows leave grown chickens alone. But when food is scarce, crows might check out a chicken coop.

In winter, it gets very hard for crows to find foods like bugs, seeds, and small critters. 

With less food around, crows can get very hungry. Their hunger might make them explore new places to eat.

If a starving crow finds a chicken coop, it might look closer if it sees or smells chicken food. 

Crows are normally cautious. But they are also smart and will try to sneak a bite if they won't get hurt.

Crows sometimes take risks for food when the weather is bad and they can't find enough to eat. A coop with chicken feed can look very tempting to a hungry crow in winter.


What Crows Might Go After and Why?

Crows often go after chicken eggs or baby chicks. This is mostly because of their small size.

Eggs and chicks are easier to carry and eat than big chickens. The eggs give crows good nutrition without fighting back.

Crows can swoop fast, grab a chick in their beak, and fly away. The chicks can't run away or defend themselves.

This is more likely if the coop needs to be locked up better. Or if the mama chicken walks away from her eggs and chicks.

Crows are patient and watch the coop carefully. They wait for the right time to slip in, take eggs or a chick, and fly off without getting hurt.

Crows want to get the most food for the least effort and risk. That's why they target a coop's babies.

little chicks on the hay or nest with eggs


Do Crows Attack Adult Chickens?

Crows do not see big adult chickens as worthwhile to go after. The chickens are too heavy to carry off and too risky to attack. The crows' intelligence tells them to seek safer, more manageable prey. Only desperate or foolish crows would attempt to hurt a fully grown, strong chicken.


It is very rare for crows to go after big, grown-up chickens. Adult chickens are too large and strong for a crow to attack. Crows are smart and understand this well. They do not want to get hurt!

A full-size hen or rooster weighs several pounds, while crows weigh only around one pound. The adult chicken is too big for a crow to carry away or eat. Their size makes them hard to fight and dangerous to try to kill.

Grown chickens also have sharp claws and beaks they will use to defend themselves if a crow gets too close. 

All chickens are protective of their flock and will chase away any crow that seems threatening.

Crows know better than to hunt an adult chicken. They will instead look for much easier sources of food that won't fight back or harm them. Crows want to avoid injury and save their energy.


How To Keep Crows Away From Chicken?

Keeping your chickens safe, particularly when young or frail, is paramount. Here are some measures you can take to protect your chicken flock.

1. Invest in Bird netting 

Bird netting is an excellent solution to safeguard your chickens. It's a tough yet thin material net you can stretch above your chicken coop or running area. 

The brilliance of bird netting lies in its simplicity — it obstructs any birds, like crows, from entering while still allowing ample sunlight to filter through.

This physical barrier works effectively as crows notice the net and soon realize they can’t reach the chickens. Plus, it's a harmless and humane way to deter these birds, which merely prevents them from accessing the inside.


2. Regular Collection of Eggs

A daily collection of eggs can reduce the risk of crows getting attracted to your chicken coop. If eggs are left in the pen too long, they might attract crows or other predators.


Fresh brown chicken eggs in a basket and in a nest from hay in a barn.


3. Deter Crows Using CDs

Many chicken keepers have invented ways to keep predators like crows at bay. One such method is using CDs. CDs' shiny, reflective surfaces can scare away crows when the sun's rays hit them. You can hang several CDs around the chicken run and coop.


A compact disc hanging outside the fence shining brightly in the sunset


4. Keep the Area Clean 

Eliminate crow perches like fence posts. Trim vegetation, so crows have fewer places to hide and survey the coop.


5. Stay Alert on Vulnerable Days 

 Be extra vigilant during chick season, winter months, and evening roosting times when crows pose the greatest threat.


Crows as Guardians: Their Role in Protecting Chickens

How Crows Keep Chickens Safe from Predators

Crows are very smart birds that can sometimes act as guardians for chickens. They use their excellent eyesight to watch for dangerous animals that may want to hurt or eat the chickens.

When a crow sees a predator like a hawk, fox, or raccoon approaching the chickens, it will start loudly cawing. This noise alerts the chickens that a threat is near. The loud calls also bring other crows around the area to help.

A group of crows all cawing loudly and diving at the predator scares it away. 

The predator knows it is outnumbered and may get hurt if it tries to get the chickens, so it leaves. The chickens stay safe thanks to the crows' warning and harassment of the predator.

There are many stories from farmers of crows saving their chickens from predators. Crows may gang up and drive away hawks or owls that try to swoop down and grab a chicken. They work together as a team and use their smarts to protect the flock.

How To Build a Positive Relationship with Crows

  • Feed them. Offer crows a consistent and reliable food source, like unsalted peanuts, dog food, or hard-boiled eggs. Place the food in the same spot daily. Crows will learn to associate you and that area with food rewards.


  • Provide water. Supply a bird bath or small water dish. Crows need water for drinking and bathing. Make sure to refresh it regularly.


A little black bird taking a bath in the birdbath


  • Use calm movements. Avoid fast, sudden gestures when around crows. Move slowly and deliberately so they recognize you as no threat.


  • Make contact sounds. When feeding crows, call to them with a soft "caw caw" to help them associate your presence with food and safety.


  • Don't force interaction. Allow crows to adjust to your presence on their terms. Never attempt to touch them. Build trust over time.

By being patient and using these simple tips, you can make crows feel relaxed and welcome. In time, they will see you as a friend.

Crows Are Friends, Not Enemies

It is true crows may sometimes try to eat chicken eggs or chicks. But they also help chickens a lot by protecting them from hawks.

Crows hate hawks. They know hawks want to grab their babies, too. When crows see a hawk nearby, they call loudly to scare it away.

Many crows will come together and dive at the hawk to drive it far from their nests. This also keeps the chickens safe from the hawk.

So, while they can cause small problems, crows can also be great helpers for chickens. Their sharp eyes watch out for dangerous hawks. And their noisy diving chases the hawks away.

Crows and chickens can live together if the coop is protected. They give an alarm when hawks are around and scare off the chicken's biggest predator.

So, crows are okay for a flock. Their help with hawks makes them useful friends.


a boy wearing red shirt feeding a crow


Final Word

So, will crows attack chickens?  We've learned that crows are more friends than foes. 

They're curious birds but only sometimes harm chickens if we give them the right food and a good place to live. 

Getting to know how crows behave helps us live happily with them.

If you have chickens, you can think of crows as helpers. 

Crows can protect your chickens by scaring away other birds or animals that might harm them. But we also need to keep our chickens safe.

The birds can live together if we protect the coop and understand crows. With some care, chickens and crows don't have to fight.

So, let's create a friendly place for humans, crows, and chickens to live together…


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Crows Protect Chickens? 

Crows are unlikely to protect chickens directly, but they can alert your flock to the presence of larger predators like hawks. This can be a valuable form of indirect protection.

2. Why Do Crows Target Eggs and Chicks? 

Crows target eggs and chicks when they're readily available and easy to access. They are opportunistic feeders and may take advantage of unguarded nests.

3. How Can You Safeguard Chickens From Crows? 

Ensure safe coops and runs for young and vulnerable chickens. Collect eggs regularly to prevent crow interference. Experiment with visual deterrents, like CDs, to minimize crow interactions.

4. What do crows eat?

Crows are omnivores, meaning they eat both animals and plants. They eat various foods, including grains, nuts, berries, insects, smaller birds, eggs, and even small mammals. They can also eat human food, especially in urban or suburban areas.

5. Why do crows caw so loudly?

Crows use cawing as a way to communicate with each other. They talk to each other when they caw and can convey many different messages, such as informing others of a food source or warning them about potential danger.

6. Do crows remember humans?

Yes, crows have excellent memory and brain power. They can recognize and remember human faces, especially those who have threatened or fed them in the past. They are even known to teach their young about dangerous or friendly humans based on their past experiences.


7. Are crows and ravens the same?

Crows and ravens are not the same, but they're often confused due to their similar black color. Ravens are larger and have a bigger, thicker beak and a wedge-shaped tail. Crows have a smaller size, a thinner beak, and a fan-shaped tail. Ravens also have a deeper and rougher call than crows.


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