Free ranging, be honest about losses

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nursemeh, May 21, 2010.

  1. nursemeh

    nursemeh Songster

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    Apr 16, 2009
    Conroe, Texas
    This is to all those who have in the past OR are currently free ranging their flock, all day or at least mostly.

    Please share your experiences and be honest about your losses.

    I'd like to know how many birds you've lost and the % of time they spend free ranging.
    ( For example, from a flock of 10, lost 2 in 5 years, free range allday on weekends, 4-6 hours a day during the week)

    Thank you BYCers!!

    FYI, I have a flock of 4 for a year, about 50% of their lives free ranging, no losses(yet) We live where there are lots of HUGE trees, outbuildings, barns and they have lots of shelter while they roam.
     
  2. Chickmano

    Chickmano In the Brooder

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    We have 7 hens, all about a year and a half old and we've had them about a year or a little less. We lost one right away ( we started with 8) to our own dogs, but haven't lost anymore since this time last year. Our hens free range all day just about everyday. We lock them in at night and let them out first thing in the morning. We live in the woods, so they have lots of protection, especially from flying predators. Now we have 5 new chicks...about 7 weeks old and we're just starting to let them free range a little everyday, under close supervision. So far so good.
     
  3. klf73

    klf73 Mad Scientist

    Jun 1, 2008
    Maine
    I have had mine for 2 years, lost 2 the first year to my own dogs(hens flew over a 6ft fence to get there [​IMG] ) and I lost 4 last year to a fox until my dh took care of the fox cuz he started lurking in my back yard near the kids playset during the day. Mine have free ranged since they were old enough to go out and I let them out around 9 and they go in at dusk....
    eta- we have a free range flock of about 25
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  4. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

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    Jul 10, 2009
    I use to free range, I would go months without a lost or maybe an occasional one would go missing. Then a dogpack would show up out of the blue and kill 90% within 20 minutes.(Multiple times, even after SSS of the original culprits ) See my BYC page for pics of the enlarged run I built. I still will let them out in the evening for a few hours if I'm going to be outside til they go to roost. When I had a dog of my own , a Newfoundland border collie cross, he would be the livestock guardian (after training) and I never had any losses with him on the watch. I really miss him---old age finally caught up to him.
     
  5. I've been free ranging for a little over a year now. When we started, the birds were pretty small - maybe only 8 weeks - and we lost one. She just disappeared, so I'm guessing a hawk got her. Since then, we've had 21 birds, who free range all day every day, and not lost any more.

    I HAVE lost a bird who was NOT free ranging to a dog. Durn thing came right into my car port and snatched one out of the brooder box. [​IMG]
     
  6. ga_goat

    ga_goat Songster

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    Apr 7, 2010
    Lowndes County Ga
    I tried free ranging about 2 years ago had 100% loss in 2 days ( lost all 19 ) , now I have 3 large pens
    what we here in Ga. have always called chicken yards one is 40 x 30 then 20 x 12 and a smalled quarnteen pen 12x8 , , with 2 more pens under construction ,, just no way to free range here .
    I have 5 bantoms that free range but they mostly stay in the goat stables .
     
  7. grammy of David

    grammy of David In the Brooder

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    Jul 17, 2009
    rural Kansas
    I HAVE ALWAYS FREE RANGED IN THE SUMMER WITH A FEW LOSES, BUT THIS SUMMER TURNED OUT 70 FULL GROWN GUINEAS....HAVE 16 LEFT.....AND IT IS A BEAST THAT WALKS ON TWO LEGS....MAN:mad:
     
  8. chubbydog811

    chubbydog811 Songster

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    Dec 24, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I have just started free ranging this year...We were doing great until a fox found us...I lost 6 hens within 3 weeks...Along with about 6+ of one neighbors, and at least 5 from the other neighbor (in the same time)...This is a very well fed fox!! Now they are only allowed to free range a few days a week when I am home and have the gun handy.
     
  9. nursemeh

    nursemeh Songster

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    Apr 16, 2009
    Conroe, Texas
    interesting variety of responses.
    thanks!

    I do feel that the "clock is ticking" with free ranging, common sense dictates that. I think more about hungry stray dogs than other predators. I say mine free roam about 50% of their time now, but thisis because I do it when I'm home to keep an eye on them- still, if about 3-4 hungry dogs came up when I was changing the baby....

    most of their time is spent in their huge run and our fenced back yard, but my hubbys is getting really, really, really tired of the poop issue in our backyard. thus my thoughts on free ranging more out in the backpasture.

    again thanks for the replies!
     
  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

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    On the MN prairie.
    I've free ranged for years, and most of my losses occurred at night when I forgot to shut the coop door. But we're in a very rural area, and I think most of our daytime predators are happier hunting away from the buildings and commotion of the yard.
     

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