Living in southern MN, we were affected last year by the bird flu outbreak. One poultry barns a couple miles away ended up destroying 50k turkeys..ugh. Well I ended up putting my chicken dreams on hold for another year..and finally, the year has passed and I am now the proud owner of some chicks!!
Total newb here, other than raising some meat chickens now and again, this is my first foray into egg laying hens. I have 6 Barred Rocks and 5 Silver Laced Wyandottes (one being a roo).
I am planning on letting them free range forage. We live on a 80 acre farmstead, surrounded by 100 and 100s of acres of corn and soy, so lots and lots of space..we do have predators, regular Bald Eagles, Hawks, Fox, Coyotes, Racoon, Weasels, the occasional random black bear, cougar and wolf..yes I have seen all three down here in southern MN! All of this on top of being a dog breeder, and having eight larger Standard Poodles, two of which will be more than happy to take the chickens out to lunch. ..so I have my work cut out for me (and my roo boy) keeping the girls alive and safe.
I do have a sturdy chicken run, well sturdy enough to keep the dogs out anyway (and they are in the fenced area when chickens would be roaming) and I plan on keeping them in the coop locked up tight at night.
Anyway, look forward to educating myself and learning from everyone.