I live on a farm have 10 chickens a few have just started laying. I let them free range but only if I'm with them. There's allot of predators here. I don't think I could handle a chick dying. I have no other animals am I crazy.
There is an unwritten law that says if you have animals, they will die. One way or another, it happens. It's a risk you take when you have anything live under your care. All could be well for years, and then it happens.
That is the way of life for all of us with animals.
Simply put: poop happens. We learn to grieve and go forward. To do otherwise is giving up, and that doesn't say much for us as humans because animals don't give up, they just go forward!
So, only you can decide if you are crazy. I suspect you will learn to deal with the reality of life, death, and the mysteries of farm life! The joy of animals is so worth dealing with that reality.
I have had chickens for about a year and a half. I am crazy too...... so its ok. I used to cry and cry over every chicken dying.... It was horrible. I was so sad for days....... they are livestock not pets.... but I love them like pets..... but I am trying to shift my thinking more towards livestock. I do not think I could ever eat one of my girls unless I was starving.... but I have no problem with others raising them to eat them or even giving them my roosters. I know by girls personally and like some of them more than others. I have grown from 9 birds to probably 50.... I went from one flock to 4..... I can now breed purebred Ancona Catalana and Welsummers........ along with Easter Eggers. Welsummers are the sweetest, just as sweet as Buff Orpingtons...... Anconas are nervous and flighty and great at finding their own food free ranging..... Catalanas are so sweet and gentle and currently two of my 5 are broody. The Easter Eggers are gorgeous and go with the flow.
Have fun and who cares if you are a little chicken crazy..... Its ok. I can sit with my chickens and watch them while I talk with God and drink my morning coffee, or while I take a break in the late afternoons. They are very therapeutic and comforting and God likes them too!
My husband built a very secure coop.. A little Fort Knox-- and the run is total enclosed w/ chain link fencing and 1/2" hardware clothe. He didn't want to deal w/ me "IF something got my chickens"! Well, I started w/ 12 pol pullets and a roo.. One by one they died of unknown reasons..I lost 7 of them w/in one yr... Just stopped eating and NOTHING I did or gave them helped.. The first one I took to my vet, it cost me lots of money and she still died..I cried for days.. The second one, I tried herbs, medicine and force feeding her w/ an eyedropper 8 times a day.. She died during the night.. I cried for a few days. By the time the 7th one died, I just placed her in the trash bag and buried her...no tears, no helpless feeling or guilt.. I waited a few months and purchased 2 of a breed I wanted, then I found 11 chicks in a breed I wanted... My dh asked "WHY?" and I said 'because I want them'===he said 'they will just die'.. and I responded w/ " I will just buy more'.. Well the big girls are 18months old and the others have been her four months and no losses!
I do not free range unless I am watching them! I feel more comfortable if I am there and I really enjoy watching them...
No, you're not crazy, but understand that if you free-range, eventually you will lose birds. Eventually a very hungry bobcat, fox, or coyote will attack while you are there. Even more likely are probable attacks from hawks and dogs. Sorry, but it happens.
I have 4 chicken and started out free ranging during the day while I was home, then everything seemed good and no problems with the girls flying into next door no predators at the door so started letting them out every morning .... till the other week when the hawk spotted them and I heard someone else lost hens to a bobcat down the road. now they have a huge run and hen house, thats secure from all predators, no you're not crazy I wouldn't want to loose any of my girls because I neglected to keep them safe, I was lucky the hawk missed its mark, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the flying predators found them, they are locked up at night and always have been so I wasn't really worried about the nocturnal hunters, but the days are getting shorter and when the clocks change I wont be home from work before the evening hunters come out so they need locked up all day then.
Heres what I figured out last April. They will die one way or another and its all about how you want them to live. We kept ours in a run and they got coccidia, then we got new chickens they got coccidia most of the first died and only one out of the second bunch did. When we started free ranging the chickens havent lost one of em. And we have lots of predators, I live in Appalachia with lots of hawks, coyotes, dogs and the stray feral cat. They will be fine.
I have 4 flocks and I free range one flock every day....... and then I skip a day or two so the German Shepherd can "free range" I used to cry over every loss too.....
I agree 100% it is all about how they live. When I was over protective..... and I stopped free ranging.... same thing happened.... lots of losses due to cocci..... If I let more than one flock out at a time.... Roosters fight and someone ends up bloody...
One time I was outside and I had the buffs free ranging and the German at the same time. I was outside with them and he was doing good to be relaxed and just sit with me. Then the phone range and I ran in the house and immediatly I heard the girls goind hysterical and I rushed outside and the dog was chasing the BO hens and the BO Rooster was lying there dead... OMG
So long story short.... I only Free Range one flock at a time and the German is either chained or in a cage or I am out there WITH THE PHONE..
Life is too short to be a worry wart ....that is what I was. I think I have found the balance (hopefully).. Everyone free ranges at least once a week. My new concern is what to do when TX gets its 2 days of winter.... Last year our winter lasted 2 weeks..... So.. I only have one huge warm hen house and lots of 'just ok' places to lay eggs. I will probably put all the hens in the huge safe warm place with a light bulb... and all the roosters in the "just ok" place with a light bulb. They get along great when the girls are not around.
We all secretly know that every pet will most likely be a tragedy in our lifetime. I need the love from them now and I'll just cry and miss them when they're gone. I look at it as just the price we pay for unconditional love...