Concerns of Free Range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chickmamas, Mar 6, 2015.

  1. Chickmamas

    Chickmamas New Egg

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    Mar 6, 2015
    I like my chicks to be able to free range but my husband thinks it's dangerous due to predators. We did lose a rooster to a coyote(I think) when we lived at another location. My coop is within eyesight and I am home all day.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'd suggest you do some reading in the Predators and Pests forum. There is a saying, that everything likes chicken, which is unfortunately quite true. Anyone who free ranges must be prepared to accept some losses. I can recall one story of someone losing a rooster to a coyote in spite of the person being in the vicinity with a gun. There are ways to reduce the risk. Probably the most common is a guard dog -- but it often takes a year or more to train a dog well enough that he will both protect the chickens and not be tempted to eat or "play with" one. And there are those who say that no dog can ever be 100% guaranteed not to succumb to temptation.
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    If you would be heartbroken if you lost a chicken, then do not free range. If you free range there is a chance that you can loose them. If you can take the risk, here are some things that worked for me... kind of sort of.

    Don't let them out every day at the same time. Predators love a schedule.
    Don't let them out if it is very windy or heavily cloudy.
    Do have a MATURE rooster, a rooster is not good at flock protection or control until a year old. But at a year old, I have had much great success from overhead flying predators, however some rosters are better than others.

    If ... when you get hit by a predator, go into lock down for several days. This will give time for a hungry predator to move on.

    This works for me,

    Mrs K
     

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