Free range broodies

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Eric R, Aug 23, 2019.

  1. Eric R

    Eric R Songster

    Jul 12, 2017
    All my chickens are free range all day. They always wander the whole property all day. However, I noticed only 1 of my 6 hens that went broody this year roamed with her chicks. The others stayed close to or under the coop. I noticed that the one that roamed had much more success avoiding hawks while the others we just sitting ducks having their chicks picked off one by one. Is this trait more breed specific, pecking order specific, particularly hen specific or is there something I can do to encourage this trait? For now I am adding more bushes and shrubs around the trees and will be distributing waterers and feeders too. Your thoughts?
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Crossing the Road

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    IMO it is all of the above but mostly breed specific and hen specific.
    Eric R likes this.
  3. Eric R

    Eric R Songster

    Jul 12, 2017
    Yeah. The forager mom was almost top of the pecking order and was a black australarp so not sure what it was but wish my others were like her.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have lots of free-range hens each year. Usually hawks get few if any chicks while hen still clucking. Then hen will engage hawk and is more often backed up by a rooster that will also go after hawk. When I have seen losses, it is when hen is loosing bond with chicks or they have to disperse father from her while foraging to get enough eats. Chicks without a protective adult close by are more vulnerable to hawks that snatch and run.

    I do not know why but the hawks appear hardwired to go after the chicks if they can even though they might be fully capable of taking the hen or even a rooster. That leaves the hawk exposed to attack if not simply confused.
    ChickenCanoe and Eric R like this.

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