Free range worries

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by I have WHAT in my yard?, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. I have WHAT in my yard?

    I have WHAT in my yard? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 24, 2008
    Eggberg, PA
    Hey all, we free ranged our flock in the summer and all went well until the weather got cold. Then in short order we lost two. So back in the run they went. I know/knew the risks and keep waffling about them.

    I like little fuzzy butts all over the yard. And they are so cute and funny when they are free.

    The weather has been bad here so they've been pretty cooped up - freezing rain, very wet snow - I let them out when it is cold, but wet and cold seemed like a bad idea. BUt, we had a bad few days of freezing rain - like lots of others - and now their run is a frozen pond. It has a thick layer of ice across the whole thing. Today is supposed to be warm.

    first, I am afraid they'll break a leg falling on the ice. Then I am afraid that as it melts they'll end up standing in cold water..... BUT, the weather has been so bad there are predators (hawks) all over the place.

    I am having a Libra moment on what to do.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    Can you throw a pallet in the run and stick some hay on it? At least the'd have a spot where it's dry and unfrozen. Or a couple of bales of straw?, left intact.
     
  3. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Or, throw some stall bedding out there. You can rake it up in spring, or it might compost in place. Bonus if you have food-grade DE in it or Stable Boy/Stall-Dri, that kind of thing. Bedding will stick to the ice better. Even the grit from the bird droppiongs acts like traction sand.[​IMG]

    For another year, you'd love a snow platform, the birds will go out unless it;s bitter cold *and* windy. I think the wood is better for their feet than the sudden chill to the blood vessels on snow/ice.

    I use bales, too they roost on them in winter when sunning outdoors.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-seasonal-concerns

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=7693-LynnePs_Run
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  4. swampducks

    swampducks Overrun With Guineas

    Feb 29, 2008
    Barton City, MI
    Straw is the best thing I can think of. I feed mine in their run so they do a lot of pooping out there too which helps with traction.

    I only let mine out to free range when I know the temps are going to be at least in the 20s at night (which hasn't happened a lot lately) that way if the guineas rebel and don't go back inside at night at least I can be assured they won't freeze.

    Stupid guineas! [​IMG]
     

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