Crows do, in fact, eat chickens. That is the fastest answer to this question, but there is more to crows than meets the surface. Chickens will usually be avoided by crows who are looking for the easiest means to get food.
Crows are carrion birds, meaning they will scavenge the remains of animals that have died.
However they are also omnivores and do not make carrion their main source of food.
That being said, crows are more of a help to your chickens than a hindrance.
What Chickens Do Crows Eat?
As chickens come in various sizes it is more likely that if a crow picks them as a target at all it will be a very young hatchling, a bantams, or eggs.
That being said, it is so rare that crows will go after even these chickens.
In fact, chickens are more of a risk to themselves with a history of killing those deemed unfit.
Being carrion birds, though, crows will eat those chickens that have been killed by their flock.
Will Crows Go After Chicken Eggs?
If an egg is left unattended it will become easier prey for a crow to go after.
If the egg or eggs are under the watchful eye of a mother hen, however, a crow is likely to pick an easier target.
How Do Crows Hunt Chickens?
Crows are a highly intelligent animal with the capability to even remember certain humans that they have established a relationship.
Did You Know? In any hunting scenario crows tend to not have the upper hand in strength but will use this intelligence. Crows will hunt in numbers in order to wear down their prey by pecking, chasing, and clawing at them.
Should You Keep Crows Away From Your Chickens?
While reading that crows may go after your chickens, it may seem like a course of action would be to ward against them. However, crows are actually more of a help to chickens than a threat.
Just because they can eat chickens if they tried, doesn’t mean they want to try.
What Makes Crows Helpful to Chickens?
Crows have a hatred for hawks.
If there is a murder of crows hanging out around your chicken coop, it can actually be a helpful deterinent to a much larger threat.
Crows will mob up against hawks in large groups and drive the larger birds away.
Hawks pose just as much a risk to crow eggs and your chickens, so crows will work hard to fight off a threat to their families as well.
What Do Crows Do If a Hawk is Nearby?
If a predator to crows comes near, crows will surround the animal and create a cacophony of noise.
This will alert other nearby prey of the danger while the crows continue to harass the predator in large numbers.
Have You Noticed: Chickens will pick up on this sound and quietly hide themselves away. If it happens near your home or coop it can also help to alert you to a nearby danger to your farm or chickens.
How Do You Attract Crows to Help?
As stated, crows are highly intelligent–with even the ability to recognize a vehicle and connect it to the driver.
Do not invoke the ire of a crow, for he will remember you and warn his crow friends not to trust you.
Studies even show that they will hold a grudge for years and pass it down in their family history.
Getting a crow on your side can be done in a myriad of ways. Some are:
Get a Birdbath
Crows like a slightly deeper birdbath than most so try and maintain a birdbath of roughly three inches.
One thing you will want to watch out for with a birdbath for them is that crows will store food in the water for later.
Crows will leave bite sized morsels in the water to soften it, and can leave it for a few days.
Be sure to regularly check the water so it doesn’t stagnate and begin to grow harmful bacteria.
Build a Perch
These intelligent birds prefer a higher vantage point of their surrounding area, so be sure to build a perch with a clear view.
It is recommended to keep multiple perches within 25 feet of one another and with a clear line of sight.
Crows are social birds and allowing them to communicate over that distance will help to foster comfort.
Also keep their social nature in mind when building the perch, as it will need to support more than one bird at a time.
Related to magpies, crows have a love of all things shiny and distracting. They are curious creatures and will peck and study shiny objects.
However, moving or reflecting light will make them uncomfortable.
Stay clear of spinning or hanging decorations in the yard if you wish to attract crows.
What About Keeping Crows Away?
If you’d prefer to not risk them wondering what a chicken tastes like, there are ways to keep them away from your chickens as well.
A Secure Fence or Birdhouse
It’s easier to watch over your chickens during the day but at night you might worry about their safety.
Building an enclosed birdhouse or fenced in area can help to keep predators away from your chickens.
With crows specifically, be sure to keep the birdhouse or coop clean to avoid unwanted attention from crows.
Also be quick about removing any dead bird or animal as this will be an easy target for carrion birds like crows.
Use a Guard Dog
If you cannot or do not wish to keep your chickens contained in a coop or fence, consider investing in a guard dog.
These canine workers can keep all sorts of predators away, not just crows.
Try This: They can be trained to not play with your chickens and can relieve you of some of the stress of having to constantly watch over your chickens.
In the End
Crows are exceptionally intelligent.
While they may eat chickens from time to time, it is highly unlikely due to the availability of other food sources.
Due to this, crows tend to be more of a help than a hindrance to caring for chickens, as crows will help to keep away predators and alert when danger is near.
There are ways you can get on a crow’s goodside; but if you’d prefer to keep all predators far from your chickens you have options to keep crows away.