Free Range on Country Property

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Omelette, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. Omelette

    Omelette In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2007
    Are there predators I need to worry about during the day in the country? I haven't yet received my girls and want to make sure I don't do anything silly.

  2. Chickenlover88

    Chickenlover88 Songster

    May 10, 2007
    Dallas, Georgia
    Hawks, dogs, and cats. Especially hawks. If they find you have birds they will keep coming back every day.
  3. FluffyChickenMama

    FluffyChickenMama Songster

    Jun 13, 2007
    If your in or near Eastern Tennessee we have lots of skunks, hawks, raccoons (which are a nightmare for chickens) and coyotes. Stray dogs are bad too and they will also keep coming back once they have found the chickens. I have lost 13 to stray dogs and several have been lost to raccoons. Stray dogs and raccoons are the biggest dangers I have.
  4. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    My biggest prob. has been Hawks. But even the mostly night time pred. can be out during the day. I have seen skunks, fox, bob cat, coons ect. during the day. Not often but they don't always follow the rules. Your birds will love to free range as that is their nature but if you do you will eventually lose one or more. So you must know the risk and is it worth it to you.

    I let mine free range in the afternoon toward evening hours and they all march back in the coop at dusk and I lock them in.

    If the hawk is hanging around they dont get out for a few days. He will get bored and move on. But sometime in the future he will be back to see if chicken is on the menu.
  5. cheepchicks

    cheepchicks Songster

    May 6, 2007

    The biggest trouble I have had so far is possums. The nasty icky creepy crawly things.

  6. okiechick57

    okiechick57 Songster

    Quote:I have just recently covered my hen house and coop area.......havent lost any since..counting my blessings but not holding my breath.soooooo many different predators out there........ watch watch watching I found hawk just waiting for my babies.we shot AT it, didnt want to kill it......I kept babies inside for a few days so he would go elsewhere.....but I stay aware of whats overhead now even though they can't get in......... I am grateful not to have all the "other" problems some racoons here yet........they are the worst so I have read...... good luck......and yes.losing some if you free range is just part of the deal...... [​IMG]
  7. Whirlwind

    Whirlwind Songster

    Apr 14, 2007
    Tuttle, Oklahoma
    Just this morning at first light there was a possom by the coop. I think he was just going down the creek. But I yelled at it and it took off. It sure was a big one. My 19 lb cat was staulking it. I hope it does'nt come back. [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2007
  8. Omelette

    Omelette In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2007
    Thank you for the great replies. I appreciate the heads-up as this is all new to me. I am just planning to get 3-4 hens for eggs. I have a secure night-time coop called an Eglu, which is designed to keep predators out.

    Here's a pic of the Eglu. The run has a skirt of metal running all around the perimeter, pegged down or bricked down. It could be moved around daily to new patches of grass, bugs.

    We live adjacent to a wooded conservation area. I am pretty sure there are racoons around as I have seen droppings in the barn. I would hate to lose a chicken (or 2). Not sure if it is worth it or not in the name of free-ranging. We do have tons of bugs for daytime snacking and are looking forward to sharing with the hens [​IMG].
    Eglu Chicken Coop
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Be sure you weight that little coop down and have the skirt pegged into the ground. Maybe I'd even put some concrete pavers on top of the skirting around the pen part. Dont know how much it weighs, but a big boar coon or dog could probably flip it over with some effort.
    I live in the mountains in the woods. I have lots of hawks and my roosters send everyone into hiding several times a day. I've seen, in the daytime, coyotes, foxes, roaming dog packs and even a bobcat crossing a road near here. At night, I see coons and possom as well. And if I had tiny chicks running around, the stray cats could get those, too.
  10. Omelette

    Omelette In the Brooder

    Jun 29, 2007

    I will be sure to peg it down securely. Better safe than sorry!!!

    I sure am agonizing over the free-range/safety tradeoff. There are lots of sandy areas on the property for a nice sand bath.

    Do chickens tend to wander off far from their coops during the day?

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