"Free ranging" dllemna

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by roz, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. roz

    roz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2010
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    So I am at war with myself! I want my girls to be able to get out of their dirt run and get on some fresh grass, but we got worm issues when I started letting them. My 8 hens are in a fully hardware clothed run because of all the lovely predators we have around here. I had originally wanted to let them free range while we were outside, but we have hawks that dive bomb our yard and house even when we are out, so I can't guarantee I can keep them safe. The hawks have even crash landed into our run on a couple of occassions and it will sit in a tree above the run like it's waiting for us to screw upl Anyway, I had my husband build a little "daycare" pen for the girls to get some fresh grass in...that was in the spring. A couple weeks later we had worms, and being new at this I started with wazine, then tried to follow it up with natural means such as verm-x, but then had to go hardcore and give them 2 rounds of valbazen. We have missed practically the whole summer of eggs (we cant have them until the 24th of this month), and one of our girls died before I realized they had worms, and we've had 2 others in the house this summer resting to get better (one might have been heat related, but the other was definitely worms because she expelled a whole load of them after an interesting 24hrs with her. I would really LOVE to get them back on grass, but am gunshy now. Has anyone else had trouble related to getting their chickens grass? I thought I was doing something positive for them by letting them on the grasss, but it seemed to have backfired on me. Could it be because it was in the spring and very wet? Ugh! Not what I had in mind for my chickens when I decided to get some. I had visions of them roaming around the yard...makes me sad, but I'm not willing to feed the hawks either.
     
  2. monaname

    monaname Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Have you tried putting DE into their feed? I know that some say that it doesn't do anything, but I guess it wouldn't hurt either. Also, you can put Apple Cider Vinegar into their water. Make sure you're using a plastic water fount. The ACV needs to be organic with "mother." http://www.amazon.com/Bragg-Apple-Vinegar-gallon-liquid/dp/B000OP1W0S
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  3. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    hmmm, mine have been out in the yard and never had any trouble with worms. Are you sure they got the worms from your yard? I would think the hawk issue is more worrisome than the worms in the yard. If you just cant let them out then after you mow your yard, throw the clippings in the run. Also you can rake a pile of leaves and throw that in there. They love scratching through it. Hang a cabbage. There is tons you can do to give them the greens and keep them entertained in a run. Mine only free range for an hour or so in the evening before bed and we are out there with them. We can not do it every day but we try to at LEAST 3 times a week.
     
  4. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    They'll get worms cooped up, too, so don't let that stop you free ranging. (Now the hawks are another story).

    Plan to treat them at least yearly, and plan to do it when they're not in peak production season and that should keep the load down to an acceptable level -- all outdoor animals get worms, there's no real way around it, they just need help keeping the numbers down to where their system can deal with it. They likely had worms long before you knew they did (because that's the nature of worms, you don't notice them until they're pretty bad).
     
  5. Uzuri

    Uzuri Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2009
    They'll get worms cooped up, too, so don't let that stop you free ranging. (Now the hawks are another story).

    Plan to treat them at least yearly, and plan to do it when they're not in peak production season and that should keep the load down to an acceptable level -- all outdoor animals get worms, there's no real way around it, they just need help keeping the numbers down to where their system can deal with it. They likely had worms long before you knew they did (because that's the nature of worms, you don't notice them until they're pretty bad).
     
  6. roz

    roz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So how long does it take for worms to get out of control? I would love to only deworm them once a year. I'm glad to hear they probably didn't get them from being on the grass...I feel so bad with them cooped up in their run even though when they free range it is still in a daycare pen.
    I am so tempted to just let them out an hour before bedtime...my husband says he will walk around and watch over them, but we have a friend who had a hawk come right down in front of her son and her and kill their hen. I drool over pictures of chickens wondering around in yards! Our yard is like a big fishbowl...no place to hide In the yard, but fields and forests on the edges of our yard for the predators to hide in!
    I do put acv in their water, and they get fresh kale from our garden hung from a bungie type cord everyday.
     
  7. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greeneville, Tn
    I am betting they got there worm from thier pen not the yard. Hookworm live in feces and enclosed pens are loaded. I would move the pen if you can and get hens in a clean area. If not it is time to dig and gravel and sand and mulch the pen. That at least will keep it drier and less worm prone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011
  8. roz

    roz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info. I don't know how way it would be to move the pen. We can certainly try. If not, would wood chips work? I have been tilling their run a couple of times a week with a hand tiller too. Any chance that helps?
     
  9. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Yes put in alot and mix it with DE.
     
  10. Stuck in the Coop

    Stuck in the Coop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2011
    North Central, MO
    My chickens are just naturally fearful of anything flying above. As long as you provide shelter they can run into I think your loss should be minimal or nonexistent.

    I live way in the boonies with hawks, eagles, owls and vultures. When the girls see anything (even a plane) flying they run for cover. Let them out and both you and the birds will be much happier. [​IMG] Life is too short to live in fear, face the problems as they occur instead of worrying 'what if'. [​IMG]
     

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