First day free ranging worries

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bluerose, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. bluerose

    bluerose Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    My little flock has a nice coop and run, but it's stripped pretty bare (it wasn't exactly lush in the first place, mostly dirt, but there are a couple of bushes they hang out under), so I let them out today to run around and enjoy themselves.

    They were fine earlier, happily running around.

    Now they've disappeared...

    I keep telling myself they're fine, it's hot and midday and they usually find a place to hang out in the shade about now, they'll show up later, they ALWAYS sleep in the same spot in the coop..

    Except we're in an area where they could easily become roadkill, dog food, coyote food, or just never come back- not many fences (ours is, mostly 6' chain link, though there's a spot where it's more like 5' but solid wood- their run is just under 6' wire and they've never gone over it, but a few neighbors with dogs only have IF) and it's very suburban...

    come back chickies [​IMG]
  2. bluerose

    bluerose Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    OK... we found the little suckers...

    they must have been snoozing earlier as they started clucking and cawing when I called for them.

    Training to come to 'chicken chicken chicken!' or a whistle has commenced via grapes... my nerves can't take my little fluffies disappearing again...
  3. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    So glad you found them!!! [​IMG]
  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I was like that too the first time...I also have to worry about dogs, cats, foxes, stupid people, hawks, raccoons, possums, etc...I don't usually free range unless I'm home to keep an eye on them.
    All I have to do is say Treats and I get them both running full bore across the yard. Penny sometimes flies to beat Obelisk. LOL
  5. GoodEgg

    GoodEgg Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    NW Florida
    Glad you found them!

    Mine do the same thing ... if the day is hot they will dig holes deep under low-lying branches and lie in the dirt. Often I go outside and see not a single bird ... and I have 30 chickens and ducks.

    The calling "chick-chick" for treats has been great. Normally, if they see me come out, they come running anyway, but just in case, I can call them now and almost every one will be around my feet in seconds.

    NOW I need to teach them to go into the coop when I call them in. I couldn't collect eggs this morning because if I opened the big door to the coop, they'd have been all over the yard, and I don't want to leave them alone in the big yard. They were unhappy at being fenced into the run while I was away this morning, though.

    After first envisioning free-ranging chickens over the HUGE yard, I got mine and decided against it, because I was afraid something would get them. I only free-ranged when I was outside with them. They got let out a few times though, and that was it. Now they think they are entitled to be out all day every day, and keeping them locked up is almost impossible if I want to service the coop in any way.

    Good luck with yours, and glad they are ok!

  6. I sympathize w/ your concern! After 6 mos I still look for the girls when I walk outside. I can count to six so fast! Your idea about grapes is good. We fed ours near the house as soon as we let them begin free ranging. It makes 'em stick close. Good luck w/ it!
  7. Rocket Raley

    Rocket Raley Songster

    Jul 6, 2007
    I would have never had the nerve to free range my babies. But one day my husband kept bugging me, claiming his granny Polly always let her chickens out. I refused and he opened the door. I had a panic attack. Literally, my blood pressure went threw the roof and I had to go take a pill.

    Now I'm ok with it, and I thought I had it down pat. The hawks were around looking for rabbits at 3pm and were always gone by 4pm. So I started letting them out at 5pm.

    My husband and I were always out there with them.
    He would come home from work, and I would meet him at the bike with drinks. We would set with them and hang out till they went to bed. Never had a problem.

    Well, last week my husband went to third shift. So last Monday I was working in the yard, I figured that I am not on a time schedule so I let them out at 4pm. At 4:30pm we were under attack. My toddlers went under my porch and the babies got under one of my buildings. I screamed at my daughter to come out the house. I have never in my life seen so many hawks in one place. Not even on ETV. I easily counted 20. But I know there was at least triple that. We were out there with brooms dancing around.

    Looking back now, if someone had video taped that, we would have been a winner on You Tube and National geographic would had investigated how we managed to have so many hawks in one area at a time.

    Somebody sent out a memo to all hawks in SC to meet there. Darnest thing I ever saw.

    Needless to say we came out ok. But I defiantly had a vodka and sprite zero after that.

    Well Friday, with my husbands new schedule, he doesn’t work Friday night so he was home. It was pouring down rain but they all wanted out anyway. So I ran out there, open the doors and ran back inside.

    Our dining room table sits in front of our sliding glass doors so we can watch them. I just got threw say “ With all this ran, there is no way a hawk will be out to day”. Then my husband yells “HAWK!!”
    I went running for my shoes and broom when he runs me over in his socks and goes outside and starts shooting his gun. Luckily again everyone is ok.

    I recon it’s either the cold weather coming in, or the hawks finally know were we live but it’s got us on guard. Now when I open those doors, I have a broom in hand and I stay in the yard at all times.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2007

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