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For those of you who free-range... - Page 2

Poll Results: I have a rooster for my free ranged flock

 
  • 81% (9)
    Yes
  • 18% (2)
    No
11 Total Votes  
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKen View Post
 


We all have differing experiences and opinions, but mine, for what its worth - sure, they are good alarm sounders - but thats about where it begins and ends in my experience. I would not rely on a roo to protect your flock. My alpha hen does a pretty good job in my roo-less flock.

 

Cheers

CT

Do you have run-ins with predators frequently? If so, will a hen be able to stay away from a predator (ie bobcat) if they have a sufficient warning?

In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
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In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

Do you have run-ins with predators frequently? If so, will a hen be able to stay away from a predator (ie bobcat) if they have a sufficient warning?

The bobcats approach is to deny warning. Most chickens simply do not have the physical ability to escape even when the bobcat makes no effort to camouflage its effort. The chickens have to learn through experience potential escape route and losses must be incurred for that. I would invest in making so bobcat does not have direct access to birds or give it a couple close calls using a dog. Last bobcat issue I had ended when dogs caught wind of it and forced it to briefly climb tree before jumping down and running away as I approached.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #13 of 18
I agree completely With Bobbi-j. There are so many well behaved roosters that do their job of protecting the flock without being human aggressive to tolerate a mean one.

I believe how you manage your free range flock will depend on your surroundings. When we were up north before buying our homestead, we were surrounded by open farm fields, with just sparse pine trees planted around the house for shade and windbreak. Any predators had very little places to hide, so could be spotted sooner by the birds, giving them time to alarm/hide.

Now, our homestead backs up to a natural prairie/oak forested area with a mature forest spilling onto out property. There is a lot more cover for predators to hide in. We have foxes, coyotes, hawks, and coons in the area. We had major issues with Coons. So we make sure we would let the birds out later and make sure to bring the dog out with us to discourage any predators that may be lingering around. We never kept feed outside at night. We also would make sure to have the birds put away before dusk, and do a coop check before hand.

With our new batch of chicks we are planning to build a coon proof run to use for them when we are not home.

Homesteading on a 6 acre hobby farm in Southern Wisconsin. Raising a gifted child, A barnyard mix of chickens, Icelandic sheep, A sweet elderly pitty bull, a few barn cats, and a large garden.  

 

 

History Geek- Medieval reenactment, fiber arts and cooking, and natural architectural nut.

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Homesteading on a 6 acre hobby farm in Southern Wisconsin. Raising a gifted child, A barnyard mix of chickens, Icelandic sheep, A sweet elderly pitty bull, a few barn cats, and a large garden.  

 

 

History Geek- Medieval reenactment, fiber arts and cooking, and natural architectural nut.

Reply
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

Do you have run-ins with predators frequently? If so, will a hen be able to stay away from a predator (ie bobcat) if they have a sufficient warning?

The bobcats approach is to deny warning. Most chickens simply do not have the physical ability to escape even when the bobcat makes no effort to camouflage its effort. The chickens have to learn through experience potential escape route and losses must be incurred for that. I would invest in making so bobcat does not have direct access to birds or give it a couple close calls using a dog. Last bobcat issue I had ended when dogs caught wind of it and forced it to briefly climb tree before jumping down and running away as I approached.

So I'm guessing that you have lost chickens before many times to multiple predators. What do you do after a predator takes a chicken of yours? How long do you wait to let them out again, (if any.) Also, can you rephrase The bobcats approach is to deny warning.

In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

So I'm guessing that you have lost chickens before many times to multiple predators. [/B]


I have lost lots of chickens but I also have a lot and have had them for a long time. Some years none are lost and some years like 2015 I take a big hit where 30 are lost all in a short period of time. I also loose some to disease but a larger portion are simply culled. Each year I hatch at least 10 times as many birds as needed to simply replace losses. The objective is to make so the overproduction is actually used for something other than feeding predators or going into the compost pile. The problems realized this last year I attribute to breakdown / loss key predator management component, my lead dog. We are nearly back up and running on that end with some upgrades to fencing holding well as new dog grows into role as guardian.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

What do you do after a predator takes a chicken of yours? How long do you wait to let them out again, (if any.)[/I][/B]

First I get ticked off and kick a bucket or something. Then I inspect what happened closely to being determination as to what caused loss. Generally I do not pen birds up especially if I find hole in perimeter defense. This lax approach enabled by dogs that also get wound up when they encounter kill sight. In most instances I can figure out who predator is fairly quick or at least narrow it down to a short list. What I do that appears to set me apart from most is I invest lots of time in watching my wildlife and have a pretty good handle on who comes when and from where. Many nights have been spent sleeping outside in pasture even on cold or rainy night to observe my predator. That can actually be fun. I will even have dogs penned in house so predator can come in undisturbed where I can watch to see how it does its business. Foxes, owls, raccoons, oppossums and even skunks have hunting methods that are particular to a given situation and that can be used against them. With exception of opossums most I do not try to harm as a close call makes balance go around. Opossums keep coming back so I dispatch them.


When I operated for two years without a dogs I got lucky and lost nothing except a couple 4-week old cockerels to a male Coopers Hawk that had a nest nearby. Once a red fox found me I placed all birds in pens that were then pressed into service as chicken tractors. When fox began working pens at night at placed pens tightly together so it could not scare to other side of pen to grab them. Raccoon visits forced me to move pens next to bedroom window where I kept window open at night. Multiple times when raccoon visited I literally ran out of house after it with only three things, a flash light, ballbat and underwear to chase the raccoon down the hill towards woods. People can run faster than a raccoon which can be a problem when lighting is poor and you over run it. That proved to be an impractical approach so got a pup to help out. We quickly to point where we could handle even the odd coyote but we did not do so well against multiple large dogs so a second dog was acquired which helped a lot but 2 dogs did not fair well against four so I started doing the fencing which by itself stops 90% of the bad guys. The dogs by themselves do at least as well when birds are on only an acre or so but I am using 6 qcres for the chickens so fence x dog synergism is taken advantage of. Only real problem since has been Great-horned Owls and they are easy to beat so long as I make certain birds have proper roosting arrangements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

Also, can you rephrase The bobcats approach is to deny warning.
The Bobcats approach with extreme stealth so chickens do not even know it is there. Only two losses I have attributed to Bobcat and both where harem masters free-ranged around the house. ID was made when cat seen briefly in tree above kill site. It did not flee until it realized I saw it. Dogs only got interested chasing bobcat after they saw it and me get all riled up at it, then dogs chased it a long way off. Bobcat has not return with only tracks well beyond where chickens go even when lost.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by centrarchid View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

So I'm guessing that you have lost chickens before many times to multiple predators. [/B]


I have lost lots of chickens but I also have a lot and have had them for a long time. Some years none are lost and some years like 2015 I take a big hit where 30 are lost all in a short period of time. I also loose some to disease but a larger portion are simply culled. Each year I hatch at least 10 times as many birds as needed to simply replace losses. The objective is to make so the overproduction is actually used for something other than feeding predators or going into the compost pile. The problems realized this last year I attribute to breakdown / loss key predator management component, my lead dog. We are nearly back up and running on that end with some upgrades to fencing holding well as new dog grows into role as guardian.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

What do you do after a predator takes a chicken of yours? How long do you wait to let them out again, (if any.)[/I][/B]

First I get ticked off and kick a bucket or something. Then I inspect what happened closely to being determination as to what caused loss. Generally I do not pen birds up especially if I find hole in perimeter defense. This lax approach enabled by dogs that also get wound up when they encounter kill sight. In most instances I can figure out who predator is fairly quick or at least narrow it down to a short list. What I do that appears to set me apart from most is I invest lots of time in watching my wildlife and have a pretty good handle on who comes when and from where. Many nights have been spent sleeping outside in pasture even on cold or rainy night to observe my predator. That can actually be fun. I will even have dogs penned in house so predator can come in undisturbed where I can watch to see how it does its business. Foxes, owls, raccoons, oppossums and even skunks have hunting methods that are particular to a given situation and that can be used against them. With exception of opossums most I do not try to harm as a close call makes balance go around. Opossums keep coming back so I dispatch them.


When I operated for two years without a dogs I got lucky and lost nothing except a couple 4-week old cockerels to a male Coopers Hawk that had a nest nearby. Once a red fox found me I placed all birds in pens that were then pressed into service as chicken tractors. When fox began working pens at night at placed pens tightly together so it could not scare to other side of pen to grab them. Raccoon visits forced me to move pens next to bedroom window where I kept window open at night. Multiple times when raccoon visited I literally ran out of house after it with only three things, a flash light, ballbat and underwear to chase the raccoon down the hill towards woods. People can run faster than a raccoon which can be a problem when lighting is poor and you over run it. That proved to be an impractical approach so got a pup to help out. We quickly to point where we could handle even the odd coyote but we did not do so well against multiple large dogs so a second dog was acquired which helped a lot but 2 dogs did not fair well against four so I started doing the fencing which by itself stops 90% of the bad guys. The dogs by themselves do at least as well when birds are on only an acre or so but I am using 6 qcres for the chickens so fence x dog synergism is taken advantage of. Only real problem since has been Great-horned Owls and they are easy to beat so long as I make certain birds have proper roosting arrangements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

Also, can you rephrase The bobcats approach is to deny warning.
The Bobcats approach with extreme stealth so chickens do not even know it is there. Only two losses I have attributed to Bobcat and both where harem masters free-ranged around the house. ID was made when cat seen briefly in tree above kill site. It did not flee until it realized I saw it. Dogs only got interested chasing bobcat after they saw it and me get all riled up at it, then dogs chased it a long way off. Bobcat has not return with only tracks well beyond where chickens go even when lost.

Thank you very much for the detailed response. It seems as though you are very devoted to your chickens, have lots of extra room to spare, and most importantly a dog to help you! Though loosing birds is part of being a chicken owner, it's still annoying when it happens. I wish  I had  the space to hatch more chicks than I need. I bought 3 BO for my flock to do the hatching next time I need new chicks. @centrarchid  how big is your flock roughly?

In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
In my house there are: 4 barred rocks, 4 welsummer bantams, 3 buff orpingtons, 6 rabbits (mini lops), 1 standard poodle, 1 leopard gecko. 
Reply
post #17 of 18
Currently just over fifty birds. Ideally I go into winter with between 75 and 100 birds for which I have the capacity. During peak in late summer I have capacity for nearly 300 hundred. juveniles less demanding and not confined while most adults are confined. Operation is mixed with respect to how extreme free-range and confinement are followed. Generally most of the early hatched birds are gone before the late season hatch birds come out of brooder. This last year was not as desired which is part of the problem when you do free-range. As you save $ on feed and confinement you increase risk. Predators can be a pain but weather is even a bigger factor. Very small birds do not handle extreme prolonged wet well and pasture does not hold up under heavy pressure when it is hot and dry. I am constantly trying to find out how to get more out of pasture. Another problem I have is it hard a challenge during the day to count free-range birds. Last year during the day I could never count more than 50 at a time because of the complexity of their environment. Night time counts are thus required. The ability to count easily makes easier to determine when you are being nickled and dimed by something. The counting is enabled by making so roosting sites are known (big deal that one), easy to get to and see, and where birds are lined up in a row. LINED UP IN A ROW>

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by chixcoop View Post

So I'm guessing that you have lost chickens before many times to multiple predators. What do you do after a predator takes a chicken of yours? How long do you wait to let them out again, (if any.) Also, can you rephrase The bobcats approach is to deny warning.

Here is an example of an ongoing approach. Note carcass has not been removed even three days later with predator known as it enables me to test exclosure function.

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1082694/red-fox-partially-beating-electrified-poultry-netting#post_16587333

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
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