Free Ranging all day

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ramblin Rooster, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Ramblin Rooster

    Ramblin Rooster Hatchaholic

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    Hello Chicken Folk.
    I am going to be rapidly expanding my flock this year, and want to free range as much as possible with few or no losses. I would only free range in day time, and then lock up at night. During the day we have coyotes, fox, and hawks. I have only seen coyotes and fox once or twice but the hawks are swarming. How to free range safely without losses to these predators? thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Lifetime free ranger here. There is no way to be 100% effective on protection during free range time. However some things WILL GREATLY improve your odds.

    #1 Cover. Lots of places to hide equals greater chances.
    #2 Protective animal like a Donkey or Dog will help.

    Wish ya the best.
     
  3. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    Lifetime free ranger here too, and I only have silkies. You'd think the hawks would get them, especially when it's raining, but no losses in over 10 years. I live on almost 3 acres mostly wooded. It's cleared around the house and backyard. No fence. I've never seen a fox, raccoon, etc. I have a guard dog, really good cover and very lucky chickens I guess.
     
  4. Quack House

    Quack House Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two chickens and four ducks (well three ducks and a drake) that free range all day. This winter they have been inside (by choice) most of February because it was nasty here in Canada. They go back to the coup at dusk every day, and I shut the door on my way to the barn, when I do chores.

    I worry more about them going too close to the road.

    We have horses and dogs, mind you, but I have not seen any predators.

    They like to roam where there is cover ~ the house garden area is their playground. Also around the barn.
     
  5. Quack House

    Quack House Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The Famdamily :)



    [​IMG]
     
  6. ShadyHillFarm

    ShadyHillFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We've been free ranging for almost a year now. We have 150+ acres, but the birds stay in just a few acres of our yard and while I worried about hawks, foxes, weasels, etc, the only predator I've had a problem with are neighborhood dogs. I've lost 4 out of my original 12 to dogs. [​IMG]

    I should add that we have a dog as well. He's never bothered the chickens, but he's never bothered to protect them either. :/
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  7. Quack House

    Quack House Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of dog?
     
  8. ShadyHillFarm

    ShadyHillFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    He's a red heeler. We had him way before the chickens. He's great with the kids, cattle and horses, but definitely doesn't care a thing about the chickens. [​IMG]
     
  9. suebee

    suebee Speaks Silkie Fluently

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    Important to add I do not free range chicks unless they're over 3 months old because of the hawks. Golden Retriever here. Easy to train and will jump over a chicken to get a squirrel.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    It just depends, you can get lucky, and not lose anything for a long time..... or unlucky and lose something fairly regularly. A full grown rooster will help, I have always had better luck with a rooster in the flock, than just with hens, although others will tell differently.

    However, once predators find you, it can become a nightmare. Some tricks I have learned, don't let them out at the same time, everyday, don't let them out every day. Sometimes that is enough, that the predator will move on.

    If you free range, you have to accept that each time you let them out, there is a possibility that you can lose one ( and it is always the one you really like) or more. I went through a terrible spell, lost way to many chickens, would keep them locked up for days, let them out, and lose one. ugh! Last time I let them out, lost a beautiful Delaware rooster, just made me sick.

    Just this week, got 4 more hens and TWO roosters...... let them out today, and everyone was here! whew! Hoping this is the trick. However, they are staying locked up tomorrow.

    Mrs K
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014

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