free ranging again?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MaureenL128, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. MaureenL128

    MaureenL128 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    As some of you might have read in another post, I lost 2 of my girls to a hawk on friday night. It was devistating. The rest of the girls have been in their run/coop since then. I have been going out and sitting with them just to spend some time with them. We are afraid to let them back out in the yard like we always have. The 2 girls were taken in the late afternoon while free ranging. Just wanted to know what you guys thought if I should keep the other girls in their run for a few more days or if you would let them out again. Any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks!!


    P.S. If we are going to be leaving them in more like when we are not home or in the yard with them, we are going to be expanding on their run!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  2. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 7, 2010
    Lebanon, PA
    Do you have a roo? I have two roos that are very watchful. The king of the flock (who also just so happens to be named King Pin through pure chance) keeps an eye on the sky. He spends more time watching over the girls than anything else. When I'm out with them, I hear him sound the alarm and look around and sure enough, there's some sort of predator near by. He'll tell the others and they will all look and respond accordingly. If it's a hawk, they say something back and either run off into cover if it's coming their way or just watch to make sure it's not coming their way. If it's a cat, the all freeze. The one day when one of the hawks was attacking them, the two roos got them into a tight group and the high-tailed it into the corn field as the hawk was dive bombing them. Not a single injury among the lot and I lost no one that day. Roos are very helpful and having one can save your flock. They often will sacrifice themselves for the girls or end up being the chosen target due to their bright red comb and waddle. We have a family of 3 young hawks and 2 parent hawks. They seem to be Cooper's Hawks and not red tailed thankfully, but with this many, I'm surprised I haven't lost any of my bantam's to them yet. I can only attribute it to King Pin's watchful eye.
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    When I have had a predator, I think it really helps to keep them in lock down for several days. The predator has learned that here are easy pickings. By keeping them safe in the run, I am assuming a totally enclosed, hawk proof run, the predator will move on to somewhere else to hunt. And then you can let them free range again.

    I love it when they free range. I think they are happier, and healthier, I hate it when I lose one to a predator, and when you free range, you ARE going to lose them occasionally.

    However, I have noticed, that if I lose one, and don't go to lock down, I will lose another shortly. Where as if I keep things safe for a while, then I can free range for quite a bit without a loss.

    Mrs.K
     
  4. MaureenL128

    MaureenL128 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    Thank you so much Mrs. K. You reassured me that what I am doing is the right thing. Although I feel bad they are not in the yard, I would rather keep them safe for a few days than lose someone else. Yes our run is totally enclosed with chainlink fence. We do not have a rooster here because the town we live in has noise laws against it. I also don't think my next door neighbors would like it too much. Otherwise we would totally get one. Again thank you.
     
  5. TheMainException

    TheMainException Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 7, 2010
    Lebanon, PA
    Ah, that's a bummer. Locking them down does seem to be the only alternative then, huh? I love letting mine free range, they seem so much happier.
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    A few days won't hurt. A couple times a week, I keep mine locked up. Keeps them laying in the right nests, not a hidden one somewhere. Keeps the predators from thinking they have found easy street. And the birds are fine, and of course they really appreciate when they get to run again!

    mk
     

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