Free ranging and chicken hawks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by J99, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    No cover evident in images. Ground predators like Coyotes and foxes will be your biggest wildlife concerns during day. Then dogs. Consider using electrified poultry netting if birds are to be out for extended periods without any good dogs to provide protection. Also restrict free-range time when people outside and observing.
     
  2. LizzzyJo

    LizzzyJo Songster

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    I agree about the lack of ground cover protection in the photos. Hawks will likely sit in those trees and carefully select which chicken to nab. Bushes and ground shrubbery that they can run ‘into’ as opposed to ‘under’ is they key. At least, that is what I have observed with my flock. I am only speaking from my personal experience.

    Do you have a dog?
     
  3. J99

    J99 Songster

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    Ok I just keep them pinned up
     
    townchicks likes this.
  4. J99

    J99 Songster

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    But I obviously can’t have bushes all over the place, And someone said coyotes and foxes and raccoons only come out at night usually at least and another person said that if I had a Lotta trees that would be good and now you’re saying the Hawks will sit in the trees and pick out which one he wants. I really wanted him to free range but I don’t want casualties
     
  5. townchicks

    townchicks Free Ranging

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    You have to determine your risk tolerance. If you are not willing to accept ANY losses, keep them in your safe run. If you are willing to accept lots of losses, turn them out now. If you want something in between, set up an electrified perimeter and build some cover or plant shrubbery. Free ranging is never risk free, but there are ways to reduce risk.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    I do not deal in extremes with free-ranging. Hard and fast rules do not hold. Some of what is out is not accurate, especially with respect to predators. Get accurate information on periods of predator activity, then start from there.
     
  7. Chicken Heel

    Chicken Heel Chirping

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    I live within town limits so I keep my 32 hens confined. But where I live on the VA/NC border, there are so many hawks they would not last long if I could free range them. In fact, there were two young hawks in the trees behind my coops this morning and I could envision them thinking, "Go ahead, let those hens out just this one time".
     
  8. J99

    J99 Songster

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    Yes the lady beside me chains her dog to a clothes line in a fenced yard because a hawk tried to take him and there was a hawk on my coop last week
    So I hate that they can’t run my acres in freedom in the sun but I’m just going to build me a bigger run and cover it , I just can’t take the risks
    Someone said she seen a hen be taken right in front of her, I’m not a hard country woman and that would crush me horribly, I only breed for pets and eggs I can’t ever even kill them for food , I’m building an old folks home coop for my retired hens Lolol
     
  9. TLHloveschicks

    TLHloveschicks Songster

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    Amen to this post from BigBlueHen53 I let mine free range when I or my husband is at home. We have large oak trees and shrubs around the house they love to get under...their is always a risk but I see how they try to hide whenever a larger bird flies over...and also we got a rooster to help out.. my yard is about 1 1/2 acres fenced in so they can only go so far but they do love to travel....and we have woods on three sides of our house. We leave them in their coop/run during the day while we are work but boy do they love to be let out when we get home!
     
  10. spiritpots

    spiritpots Songster

    I understand how you feel @J99. I live on 20 wooded acres with some open areas so would love to let my flock of six chickens free range all day. With so many predators around, though, I let them do so only when I can be out with them the entire time. I am always aware of where they are yet know there is a risk every time I let them out. There have been a couple times that I've seen a hawk flying overhead and I immediately hurried them back into the run (I probably ran faster than they did!). I have a Springer Spaniel that hunted with his previous owner so I won't let him out if the girls are free ranging as he would probably go after them (side note, if anyone has had a positive experience with a Springer and chickens I would love to hear about it). Basically, if you can't accept any loss at all building a bigger covered run is your best option. Good luck!
     

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