Free Range? Ducks or Chickens? And what kind??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by laurenlewis24, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. laurenlewis24

    laurenlewis24 Hatching

    May 5, 2013
    What are your tips for free ranging? I am hoping to get 30 chickens or so and maybe several ducks. I will not be penning them up during the day. They will have access to my 2 acre pasture and my neighbor's if they want to. At night I can lock them up in my barn, which I am going to predator proof a horse stall for them to stay in at night.

    What are your opinions on breeds for free ranging? I am really into all kinds of breeds but I would like somewhat good egg layers and I want brown, dark brown, blue, and white eggs. I also would like to have several ducks. What breeds would you recommend?

    Also, will roosters help in keeping predators away?

    During the day, how can I help the girls get away from hawks?
  2. Veer67

    Veer67 Songster

    Roosters won't keep away predators but they will defend their hens ( though some are cowardly and run away). You can plant bushes for your hens to hid in, and trees make perching spots for hawks. If you want blue eggs then an Easter Egger or Ameraucanas would be a good choice, for brown to dark brown eggs maybe Red sex links ( though they aren't very good at running away from predators), Wyandottes, Black Copper Marans, Buckeyes, and Orpingtons ( they get broody every once in awhile). For white eggs you could get Lakenvelders, Leghorns ( though the white kind really stands out to predators), Sicilian Buttercups, Anconas, and Andalusians.

    In the beginning I let my hens roam free every day from whenever I wake up in the morning to 7:00 at night, they would venture in our 2 acre yard and sometimes go to the next door neighbors yard. But later on they would wander farther and farther away from the house and into other neighbors' yards, I would occasionally see them really close to the road, when it got to the point that a driver passing by had to inform us that our hens were crossing the road I decided to fence them in an enclosure.
  3. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    Be careful if you plan on having any drakes. If they try to mate your hens they will kill them.

    There are so many great benefits to free ranging but it's pretty much impossible to guarantee that you are not going to have some loss at some point. Ground cover or some sort of very well trained guardian dog or other guardian or alert animal would help.

    I like leg horns for white eggs they are light and fast. The white ones tend to lay better. Marans or welsummers for dark eggs. Lots of little brown choices, I like RIRs, Delaware, Wyandottes are really pretty. Blue and green eggs are going to be araucanas or any mix from them like EEs or cream leg bars.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013

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