free range in our yard

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by New chicken family, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. New chicken family

    New chicken family Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2007
    Madison WI
    I would like to keep our 4 chicks - 5 weeks old - free in our back yard during the day. Problem is that we have a Coopers (?) hawk and a cat that roams the neighborhood.
    When are they old (big) enough that I don't have to worry about a neighbors house cat? Standard size not Bantams...
    We live in the city and have a fenced in backyard. Right now I only let the girls out if we are out. They don't even go all they way to the fence.
    Thanks!
     
  2. cheapcheap_jeepjeep

    cheapcheap_jeepjeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2007
    Villa Grove
    I would say no they are not big enough. I have 10 chickens and my cats don't try to attack per say but they have chased them a time or two, till the roo got after them. I would not chance it. Unless you are going to be right there the whole time. But that is just me though other may think different.
     
  3. jaseg

    jaseg Out Of The Brooder

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    May 19, 2007
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I would agree with cheapcheap, I would not leave the little one unattended. too many factors out there. The other day one of the neighborhood dogs came waltzing through our backyard where I had the hens and the Rooster out ranging. Well the poor dog didn't have a chance, my rooster Rowan took chase and the dog ran like heck to get out of here. The rooster chased it passed the pig pen when Penelope (our young pig) wanted some of the action. Never saw the dog since..laughs.

    As far as the little chicks, I have 17 three week olds and what I did was build them a small holding pen with cedar poles and small chicken wire in the backyard. They can enjoy the sunshine and be close to the bigger chickens and turkeys without any threat of being killed. If you decide to do something similar, be sure to cover the top so cats or birds of prey can't get them when you turn your head.
     
  4. CHICKYDEB

    CHICKYDEB Out Of The Brooder

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    May 29, 2007
    Phelps, NY
    If you have a hawk in the area, I would keep them in. THey may not like it but I lost a rooster and two hens to what I think was a hawk. Read my story below.[​IMG]
    I have had chickens a little over a year now and Sunday was my first tragedy. Around 8:00 am on a bright, sunny, morning. I heard my chickens raising a fuss. I had 7 hens and three roosters, all free range on our two acres - until now- in upstate New York...I found my lead rooster and two of my hens in the front yard raising cane. Found three hens laying in the chicken coop -safe. Found my young rooster in the yard - dead..he was pure white and didnt have a mark on him - no blood, no marks. Also gone was my other rooster, one white hen and one black hen. All that was left was a yard full of feathers that spread in several places across the field behind our house. (we don't have any close neighbors) It took quite a while to get my remaining family back into the fenced in area adn get them calmed down. The next morning, after I let them out of the coop and fed them, I heard a faint "cock a doodle do" from my front yard. I thought I might be dreaming but after the remaining rooster and hens started fussing again, I heard the faint sound again. Lo and behold my other rooster was hiding under a large pine tree! I coaxed him out and he was very shaken and minus all of his tail feathers! I coaxed him back into the coop and he is mending. (no physical wounds - just shocked and a cold butt!) SO now we are wondering what would attack in broad daylight, with no blood etc? Please Help with any suggestions on the predator (s) ! My chickens are in the chicken pen but not very happy as they are used to being out and about.

    Some members suggested a fox but no blood was found on the dead rooster, no other bodies were found and my other poor rooster had his tail feathers plucked! Good luck on your chickies and keep us posted!
     
  5. Sabrinainmiss

    Sabrinainmiss Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 23, 2007
    Gothenburg, Nebraska
    NO NO NO! I just lost 3 14 week old roos to a hawk. The last one was within 20 yards of me and down came the nasty hawk and picked up the roo and flew away ( no fear). It was the most awful thing to see. All mine including the oler hens and juviniles are kept in their enclosed run with a roof over their heads. I know they love to free range but I fear for their lives. So I would NOT leave them out alone and if you are there watch closely.
     
  6. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    I've heard that guineas are good at looking out and sounding an alarm for hawks, but I have never owned any. I wonder if adding some guineas to your family flock would help?[​IMG]
     
  7. werblessd1s

    werblessd1s Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 6, 2007
    NORTH FLORIDA
    YES, GUINEAS MAKE EXCELENT GUARD DOGS [​IMG]. BUT UNFORTUNATLY FREE ROAMERS ARE NEVER SAFE. I WOULD SUGGEST IF YOU WANTED TO LET THEM HAVE SOME ROAM TIME EVERYDAY. TO PULL UP A CHAIR AN ENJOY WATCHING FOR A LITTLE WHILE THEN PUT A LITTLE FEED IN A BUCKET AND RATTLE IT AND GET THEM TO FOLOW YOU BACK IN THE PEN IF POSSIBLE.
     
  8. Jezebelle

    Jezebelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2007
    Pinnacle, NC
    I never trusted my babies outside alone till they were almost full size. I had a hawk try to come after my chicks while i was out side. I jumped up and ran him off before he could get any of my babies.

    Guineas are an excellent alarm system, however they are easily frightened. My neighbor has about 40 of them that run freely around where I live. I threw them some bread to them and they took off running, away from the bread.
     
  9. wren

    wren Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2007
    St Augustine, FL
    [​IMG]
     
  10. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    I would worry about that Coopers hawk. They are really tricky fast hunters and even though a fully grown chicken is kind of big for that species of hawk, Coopers hawks will definitely try to grab an unattended hen. Be really careful with that.

    I have a Coopers hawk pair that lives somewhere very near my tiny city lot. It is a small but urban neighborhood, and the two of them mostly live off sparrows and starlings. They often eat the sparrows in my next door neighbor's tree where we can all watch- it is very cool. However, as a result of that, I have heavy bird netting completely covering my chicken run so that the hawks can clearly see that they are excluded from that area. I don't want a wild hawk injured in the net any more than I want an injured chicken.

    -MTchick
     

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