Free ranging and chicken hawks

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

  1. Grits&Eggs

    Grits&Eggs Songster

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    i don't "free" range but I can let them loose in a fenced area covered by a hawk net. I have let them run most of the day on the weekends when I am around to "save" them if they start having a squawk fest. One time a squirrel came in and started eating out of their food dish and those cowards stood around, near but not next to it, and made soo much noise even the neighbors came out to have a look, sigh.
     
  2. Kabootar

    Kabootar Songster

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    Well there are many factors that you will have to take into consideration when you decide whether to let you birds free range or not.

    I live in a place where there are many birds of prey but only two of them target chickens, the goshawk and Indian Eagle owl. They used to take one or two birds every year, but now I keep a goose with my flock and I have not lost a single bird to hawk or owl attack in almost 5 years.

    My farm is sandwiched between Valmiki wildlife sanctuary of India and Chitwan National Park of Nepal and it is infested with all kinds of large predators like Big cats, hyenas, wolves and jackals but they are rarely seen and except for jackals they mostly don't bother the chickens.

    Main predators that target our flocks are foxes, mongoose, snakes, bearcats, fishing cats, jungle cats and leopard cats, but since all of them are strictly nocturnal there is no point in locking our flocks during the day. I have a huge intimidating Central Asian Shepherd that keeps foxes and jackals at bay and also alert us if there is slightest commotion in the coop during night time.

    Apart from that Himalayan foothills have warm and humid climate with good foraging opportunities year round, but specially during monsoon there is an abundance of insects, worms, fruits, berries, seeds, rodents, small snakes and greens. So for me locking up my birds from fear of predation is not wise.

    I take no guts no glory and no risk no reward approach and it works fine for me.
     
  3. natyvidal

    natyvidal Chirping

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    Hi. Where do you live? How much land do your property has? Do you have any roosters? Can you put up a electric fence in a specific area if the size of your property is to expensive for a permanent fence?
     
    Wee Farmer Sarah likes this.
  4. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    So, I have hawks. More than usual this year. I have seen high flying Red Tailed hawks, Red Shouldered hawks, and Cooper's hawks in my area this speing/summer. I have 8 chickens that have a good sized coop and run area. But I do let them out every day. But i am a crazy paranoid chicken lady. I supervise. I don't mean I sit in a patio chair and watch them. I follow them, closely. Like, I stand over them. And I carry the hose.

    The only real problem has been a male Coopers hawk. I have almost hut him with an egg, and I turned the hose on him and got him once. If I see it anywhere near my yard, I scream at it and wave my arms at it. My neighbors must think I'm insane.

    I also know that these hawks typically migrate to Mecico come fall. I also have observed them only in the early morning and later in the evening, so I try to let my birds out in the afternoon.

    There is always a risk. If you are paranoid, too, I'd just keep them penned.
     
  5. DonnaScott

    DonnaScott Chirping

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    I let my flock of 12 out today for the first time without supervision and within 3 hours I now have 11. I believe it was a hawk and we have so much coverage.
     
  6. Kabootar

    Kabootar Songster

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    You let them out for the first time without supervision? Do you have a LGD, goose or rooster? Which breed/breeds of chicken do you have in that flock?
     
  7. Wee Farmer Sarah

    Wee Farmer Sarah Free Ranging

    The area I let mine into is large enough to supervise and intervene if necessary. Although I do sit in my lawn chair. Some of the girls and my rooster come up to me and interact. They seem to enjoy interacting with me as much as taking dirt baths and finding worms. Very relaxing.
     
    Stockpilejoy and Aunt Angus like this.
  8. DonnaScott

    DonnaScott Chirping

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    For the last month in a half I sit with them for two hours a day and then let 1 out all day then 2, then 3 etc. I let all 12 out this morning at 730am and by 10 am one was killed by seemingly a hawk. My dog rounded up 5 earlier and I just found the other 6....thank you God.
     
  9. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    That sounds lovely! I can probably relax more come fall. Stupid hawks...
     
  10. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    That's my fear... I am so sorry....
    :hugs
     

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