Free range broodies

Eric R

Songster
Jul 12, 2017
161
196
141
Magnolia, TX
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?
 

Eric R

Songster
Jul 12, 2017
161
196
141
Magnolia, TX
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.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
25,995
16,631
766
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.
 

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