Free Range Frustrations

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Trumanda, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. Trumanda

    Trumanda In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2013
    Help! I have over an acre, only 4 birds, and now an orphaned 5 week old, and just wanted to provide a nice life for my birds by allowing them to free range. The only problem is that the hawks have killed half my birds (over time). I thought now that they are large, I would not have this problem any more. However, it looks like I'm doomed to keep them in the coop, and now I have to baby this orphan for months until it can hold its own against the other hens. I am devastated to have lost my very favorite bird today.

    Any suggestions?
  2. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    A kenneled dog is always a good help. I found that to answer most of my problems. You can also try putting up a place or two to provide cover for the chickens. Such as a feed pallet set over concrete block to provide protection. That's all I got, maybe someone more knowledgeable; can help you.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I have terrible predator problems..... but against hawks, I have found a good mature rooster to be effective. However, he can't help against coyotes, bobcats, and big coons.

    Mrs K
  4. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Songster

    Apr 21, 2012
    North Texas
    First of all - so sorry for your loss.

    Do you have a rooster? Do you have good vegetation (shrubs with foliage throughout the various seasons) and cover? These things help. Also, a well-trained dog on the property is an asset and deterrent. If you free-range, you will likely experience some losses especially depending upon your predator population. Also, it depends upon flock size. If one has a large flock, occasional losses aren't as devastating. If one has a small flock, any loss is devastating (as these small flocks tend to be "pets" as well).

    Hawks are a huge problem for us. We desired to free-range, but opted for a large covered run. We do let them out several times per day (while supervised) to access the entire property. Our flock is small, and the kids are pretty attached to each bird, thus we are trying to minimize losses. -and sometimes, even after doing all that can reasonably be done, a loss will occur. -best of luck on making decisions regarding your flock. Again, so sorry for the loss of your favorite bird.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Yes. Learn to free range effectively and arrange for safety~as much as possible~for the birds before letting them out to forage. Here's an article about free ranging successfully....
  6. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Songster

    Oct 15, 2010
    Westfield, Indiana
    We have plenty of hawks around the farm but we have never lost a chicken to one. They free range full time.

    1. Create hiding places or bunkers in your range area for the chickens to take cover
    2. You can add a rooster to the flock. He will keep an eye out and sound the alarm when he sees danger
    3. Try adding a decoy owl or two. Hawks don't hang around when owls are in the area (we have two mounted on posts).
    4. Cover netting in portions of the range area
    5. You can add a watch dog or put your chickens with other livestock (we have goats with our chickens).

    Hope this helps give you some ideas!

  7. ChickenCurt

    ChickenCurt Chirping

    Jan 2, 2014
    Add...a pair of geese; they are very protective and never sleep, mine chase everything away including the dog ;)
  8. Trumanda

    Trumanda In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2013
    Thank you for all of your fabulous suggestions!

    Yes, I have a rooster. He seemed to be effective, until we added a chick in the mix. Mama and baby would stay away, possibly because one of the other hens was very aggressive toward the chick. He sounds the alarm whenever he sees anything, and the girls know to listen.

    The idea of a goat sounds good--do they actually protect the birds? Too afraid to try a dog. They all seem to "love" chicken. I think I'm at that point of an enclosure with supervised "outside" time. Just have to make time to design and build the thing.

    It's taken a few days, but I'm coming out of mourning for "Stanley" and making preparations for better bird care.

    Thank you for all your support. :)
    1 person likes this.

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