Adventures in Free-ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mikeeeeeeeeee, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Mikeeeeeeeeee

    Mikeeeeeeeeee Chillin' With My Peeps

    424
    3
    141
    Jul 20, 2007
    Wetumpka
    My sweetie and I live in the woods. Thick woods. Consequently I have been reluctanct to freerange.
    Add to that having two young but grown cats that love to mouse and kill anything that moves and I have not let my big birds out of the run.
    Well today I decided that I would let them out. I pulled out my Red Ryder BB gun and got ready.
    I opened the door to the run and they found their way and immediately were in bug and grass heaven. All manner of leaves were sorted through and scratched.
    The two young cats tried a couple of times to chase, but a couple of BBs made them tire quickly of the chase.
    What got my goose was our little beagle mix. This is the dog that loves to scratch through and eat chicken poop.
    She started to chase one and I hollered at her and told her bad dog.
    A few minutes later I had a heart to heart chat with her. It went something like this:

    Now Daisy. You know you love to eat poop. Right? OK. Listen really close.
    If you hurt the chickens you will be getting rid of your source of poop. Now you know you dont want to do that, right?

    i dont know.....at least I thought It made sense.

    Anyway, I had one girl ( Barred Rock) that couldnt find the gate. She walked right by it ten times. I finally just picked her up and put her in.

    It was an adventure. I think I will turn them out in the evenings now when I get home.

    Mikeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    30,361
    151
    446
    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    If I let mine loose, it is about 30 minutes prior to sunset.
     
  3. Mikeeeeeeeeee

    Mikeeeeeeeeee Chillin' With My Peeps

    424
    3
    141
    Jul 20, 2007
    Wetumpka
    Quote:I will follow a similar procedure.[​IMG]
     
  4. gretchenhau

    gretchenhau Chillin' With My Peeps

    164
    0
    129
    May 15, 2008
    Lebanon Ohio
    both my beagles after some tiem of yelling and bad dog things and chasing, they pretty much leave the chickens alone, occasionally I will get a 5 foot chase with a curve off the other direction and running like mad. So for 6 months we have been good.

    O free range also, mine come into the shed, or should I say the family does chicken rodeo and rounds them up. Tonight it is frigid and my husband whos always says they will be fine they have feathers, I found him out in the coop hooking up heat lamps, saying it is to cold for the chickies we don't want them to freeze. Busted, he like them. SO everyone except the ducks are in a nice warm house, the ducks are still on the pond for now, they will come up after dark under the deck and then it is family rodeo time.

    The 3 new chicks go in the house with no problem. It is the old timers that want that one more bug.
     
  5. Skip

    Skip Chillin' With My Peeps

    Free Range Chickens kick butt! [​IMG]

    I have a cat, Angel, and she doesn't care in the least about my birds. And a BB gun? Are you shooting your own pets? [​IMG]

    I use a water pistol if I think my other cat, Tommy, is starting to think about seeing what chicken tastes like. If I don't have a water pistol, small pebbles work just fine.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    116
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My chickens have been going out in the fenced yard since they were two weeks old. At first with constant supervision and then less and less supervision as they got older.
    Now at a little over 8 months they free-range all day on 80 acres. I check on them every couple of hours. They pretty much stay out of the yard now, but only because they've gotten too big to squeeze thru the fence panels.
    They've learned to avoid our border collie who is on a run inside the fenced yard and they've grown used to my irish wolfhound being around and are not afraid of her. She's made it her job to watch over them. She's even learned how to go out thru the garden gate and will stand watch by their coop.
    Our cat however is a totally different story. The cat weighs 2 1/2 lbs., my one rooster weighs over 12 lbs. and my smallest hen is 6 pounds. This cat is very determined and we must keep her in the house whenever the chickens are out. She even lays under their coop at night. I guess she's hoping one will magically fall out of the coop right into her paws? I will never trust her around the chickens.
    I think you have to know your pets and what each is capable of.
    As far as heat goes, my SO - the man who thinks "a chicken is just a chicken" actually tried to talk me into using a heat lamp tonight when our low is forecast to be 16. I won't do it. The chickens have been fine up to now without any added heat and I'm sure they'll continue to do fine.
     
  7. allisojo

    allisojo Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    0
    119
    Nov 16, 2008
    Nuevo Mexico
    This is a great conversation. I have eight hens - three about 16 weeks old and five about 12 weeks old. There are two neighborhood cats that like to prowl around. They were very interested in the hens when they were about four weeks old, but seem to have lost interest at this point. Mostly they both sit on the wall dividing properties and lay there and watch what's going on in the yard.

    I let the ladies out of their run and into the yard with me when I'm out working or something, but I haven't let them free-range yet unsupervised for fear of these two cats. Am I being overly cautious? Thanks a lot for your advice, and if I need to post my own thread, let me know (apologies in advance). Thanks.
     
  8. Mikeeeeeeeeee

    Mikeeeeeeeeee Chillin' With My Peeps

    424
    3
    141
    Jul 20, 2007
    Wetumpka
    Quote:Yup. Sure am. And they are just fine. A pitiful slingshot with worn out rubber bands has more firepower than a Red Ryder BB gun does.
    I've been shot hundreds of times with one when I was a kid. We had BB gun fights all the time.

    My arm is far too old to chunk rocks. And my aim with a rock would not have been close either.
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    116
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Hi and welcome to BYC. It's usually better to start your own thread, but since you're already here and you're a newbie, how bout we let you slide this one time? [​IMG]
    People think that I'm being overly cautious because I keep Killer Kitty (yep, that's her name) in the house, but again I know my cat and what she's capable of. If she can drag home a full sized wild rabbit, one of my smaller hens wouldn't be much of a challenge for her.
    From all the stories I've read, most grown chickens seem to have no problem teaching a cat about limits. Mine is just an exception to the rule.
    If I were in your shoes, I'd take a watch and see approach; but I wouldn't allow them to be without supervision around cats until they are close to full grown.
     
  10. allisojo

    allisojo Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    0
    119
    Nov 16, 2008
    Nuevo Mexico
    Sweet. Thanks for the info on all subjects. I really appreciate it.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by