Free Range predators?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by wwarren8200, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. wwarren8200

    wwarren8200 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do I need to watch out for when I free range my birds this spring and how can I stop it? (Coyote, snakes, dogs, possum, raccoon, hawk *most likely candidates*)
     
  2. youngchooklover

    youngchooklover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nothing just make sure dogs can't dig through your cage and get a rooster for your Hawk probs.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Coyotes, red foxes, bob cats, gray foxes, red-tailed hawks and dogs in your area. Oppossums and raccoons will be an issue addressed with your coop / roost design.

    If you go big as indicated in another thread, then investing more in predator management with something like dogs is something to consider thoroughly because your fence will not keep most of the bad guys above out as they will simply scale it or fly over.
     
  4. gawildlife

    gawildlife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "Free range"=Free buffet
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Not as a rule.
     
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  6. gawildlife

    gawildlife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Maybe, but definitely the costs of doing business that way.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    It is a risk of doing business. Most folks do not prepare properly then it becomes a protection and they think of using only a single method without backups. Keeping them safe regardless of approach, especially with smaller flocks can cost more than the feed.
     
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  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member


    I have to agree with centrarchid. I've free ranged flocks here for nine years. Not one loss to anything. I don't even have a flock guardian dog. I credit our luck (and our number will come up eventually, can't dodge that bullet forever) to always having several alert roosters and good cover on our mountain land, not open pasture. We even had a fox den about 200' from the coop once and though we found barred feathers at one of the openings, it was from someone else's chickens, not ours. We have had a livestock fence around about 2 of the 5 acres for 7-8 years now, but that won't stop most predators other than a non-motivated roaming dog during the day, though it was mainly erected to keep our birds from roaming.

    Cover may be the real key here, in addition to great roosters. My birds duck under the Leyland Cypress trees regularly, which make fabulous, fast growing cover, not to mention the rhododendron we also planted as we were able over the years. Then, even in winter, there is still cover for them when leaves are gone from the deciduous trees and shrubs.

    We do not let them roam when we are not home-they do each have pens attached to their respective coops-but we are home most of the time. But, free ranging is what we planned to do with our flock, the entire plan for our management from the start. If we had to keep them all penned 24/7, it would change our entire outlook and the eggs would not be as good due to them eating only commercial feed and having no foraging opportunities.
     
  9. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The worst daytime predators should be the focus for your free range area since I assume you have a secure nighttime area. So that's coyote, dog, and hawk that need attention.

    If you are doing this for business, then invest in a good flock dog. Expensive to purchase, but one good dog will be effective against all these problems. And if the dog bunks outside the nighttime coop, any weak points in your security would be moot.

    The below photos are of our Kangal Dog puppy who is learning to watch the chickens. I taught him to watch for airborne predators, which is what he is doing in the pics. I taught him by using a tense body language while growling and barking at flying hawks as well as at their cries...took only three occurrences of hawk sounds, one of a hawk fly-over for him to get it. He cannot yet discern vultures from hawks, but that's okay... He now notices hawk cries and runs into the yard to search for them, barking the whole time. I am teaching him to not react to the cries when they are very distant. I do not trust him alone with the chickens yet, as he is still too playful.

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  10. ocap

    ocap Overrun With Chickens

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    you might try electric poultry netting
     

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