Pictishwitch

Hatching
12 Years
Aug 17, 2007
4
0
7
Port Orchard, WA
It has become obvious that we have an eagle hunting around here. Our flock of 8 8-month-old standard pullets has been reduced to to 5 in the last 10 days. We have been free ranging them, but I don't relish the idea of having no chickens in a month. We have a movable ark, but while they've managed just fine in it for a weekend when we were out of town, it's too small a space for all the time. So, we've come up with two options:

1. Build a covered run to attach to the coop, and move it all every few days. My concern here is that after being allowed to free range, the ladies wouldn't be happy with this arrangement.

2. Acquire a rooster for hawk alerts. My concern here is what to do with the inevitable baby chicks. We'd keep a few girls and could sell or give away the rest, but the boys would be harder to unload, and I don't think either of us could bring ourselves to kill a chicken.

What do you seasoned veterans suggest?
 
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Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
6,026
32
263
Northeast Texas
Guineas make great predator alarms and generally they'll not reproduce with the chickens (although it has been known to happen on rare occassions). If you get one of your chickens to brood them, they'll imprint with them and stick close to the flock.

With a rooster, you can avoid the baby chick situation by keeping the eggs picked up and not letting any of your girls set the eggs.


Btw, welcome to BYC! Love your username!
 

Pictishwitch

Hatching
12 Years
Aug 17, 2007
4
0
7
Port Orchard, WA
Quote:I've been considering guineas for my garden anyway, but for the hens I'm going to need a more timely solution.


Thanks for the welcome.
 

Cuban Longtails

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 20, 2007
6,026
32
263
Northeast Texas
For a more timely solution, going with confining them to a run should be okay. I'm not sure what breed of chicken you keep, but the larger egg layers are generally adaptable to enclosed spaces. I've not yet penned up my ladies (though I fully intend to after their coop and run are finished), I have penned up roosters. After a full day in the enclosure, they get used to the idea of boundaries.
 

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