Free ranging question.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sinistershelly, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. sinistershelly

    sinistershelly Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    39
    Jul 17, 2011
    So upon finding out I have roo's, I've been trying to figure out what to do with them. I have total 9 BR's. 3,maybe 4boys. I have 3 coops in a large run that's in a very spacious fenced in yard. When they get big enough(they are 8 weeks now), I was thinking of trying to let a couple free range out of the run. But, I have some horrible sticker burr weeds. They are everywhere. The dogs bring em in, they stick everywhere, and man do they hurt. Shoes are recommended worn in my house 'cause of them. The silly weird dogs I have eat them but will they be ok for the chickens? I worry about them hurting their feet or wings or their everything on these stupid things. I was hoping in the future a pet goat could help get rid of them because these darn plants never go away no matter how much I pick and pull.

    I'm really gonna have a hard time getting rid of these roo's so I'm trying to think of anything I can to keep them. They are so sweet and are actually the only ones that want touched. Hens stay away from us mainly. Can I do one roo in the run with 3 girls and let the other 2 roo's and 3 girls in the yard? I'm so lost. I wish we had just gotten all girls like we ordered. Or at least ended up with one roo only. Grrrrrrr
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,652
    4,168
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm guessing that that sticky weed is burdock. There is a lot in my neighbor's pasture where the chickens spend a lot of time and I've never seen a problem with it for them. No guarantees, but I would not worry too much about that.

    The rooster issue is something else. You'll probably get a lot of comments about guaranteed gloom, doom, and disaster. Some people keep one rooster penned in a restricted space with one or two hens for breeding purposes and do not have problems with barebacked or overstressed hens. Some have problems with one rooster free ranging with over 20 hens. There is no magic ratio where you are either guaranteed problems or guaranteed no problems. But the more roosters you have, the more likely you are to have a problem. And your highest risk time is adolescence. Often the roosters mature earlier than the pullets, the roosters' hormones are out of control, and the pullets just won't cooperate. It can get pretty bad. I always recommend you keep as few roosters as you can and still meet your goals.

    What I would suggest, since you wish to keep them all, is that you put one rooster with all the pullets and keep all the remaining roosters together. You can do a search on bachelor pad for a lot of discussion on this. Whether you free range one rooster and all the pullets and keep all the other roosters penned or do it the other way is up to you, but I think this gives you the best chance for success.

    Good luck!
     
  3. sinistershelly

    sinistershelly Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    39
    Jul 17, 2011
    Here is the plant I'm dealing with, I HATE IT!!!!


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice Ridgerunner. I guess my main concern is if it would be considered cruel to take one roo, one that is considered less liked I guess, and do a test run of free ranging my yard. Im just not sure what the dogs will do or what the roo will do, so all I can think of is to just let one go in the yard and see what happens. If the dogs take him out, then he is dinner and the remaining roo's will be given away. Is that mean??? 'Cause it sure feels like it. But I dont know what else to do. I have 2 fave roo's and Im for sure keeping one. But If I can let the rest free range together in my yard with no issues then I'll be one happy camper. And hey, If I'm lucky, the roo will set my dogs straight 'cause they need it.
     
  4. Arkantex

    Arkantex Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    0
    89
    Aug 17, 2011
    West Texas
    If you want to get rid of the stickers, get a couple geese. They will eat them. I have friends that tried this in thier back yard and much to our supprise, it worked great.
     
  5. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

    5,493
    60
    268
    Mar 28, 2011
    MN
    Quote:We have those too. The only way to get rid of them is to have a thick green grassy yard to suffocate those sticker bushes out! These sticker bushes are quite abundant late summer into fall. When the dry out, the tips break off onto you skin and they hurt like heck. We have them everywhere along the ditches and our semi sandy backyard. Our dogs and cats bring them in the house, which they are camouflaged by out carpet. The kids and I walk around barefoot and I'm the one who steps on them the most. Our propery is just too large to maintain a thick grassy yard.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,652
    4,168
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm not sure what that is called. It is not burdock.

    Dogs are definitely a risk. Some will not be a problem, but some kill chickens, usually more by playing with them than actively looking for something to eat. It's just in their nature to kill intruders. All they are doing is guarding their home.

    I don't suggest just letting the chicken out and seeing what happens. Introduce your dogs to the chickens. There are different ways to do this. Walk your dogs on a leash to where the chickens are. Maybe take the chickens to the dogs. But let the dogs clearly know that the chickens are not intruders. Be around when they first meet when they are free ranging.

    My dogs are taught to sit when I tell them to sit. Hopefully you have yours trained to the point you have some control over them. It's for their safety as well as your peace of mind.

    I had two experiences fairly early on. Almost as soomn as the dogs and chickens met, the chickens started running away and the dogs started chasing them. It looked like it would be a great game to them, losts of fun to play. I spoke extremely severely to the dogs when they started chasing. Extremely loud and extremely severe. They got the message I did not want them chasing the chickens. Dogs are conditional learners. They learn that in certain circumstances they either can or cannot do something, but in other circumstances they have no limitations. I'm lucky my dogs learned I did not want them chasing my chickens at any time. They could have learned that chasing chickens is a no-no only when I am around.

    The other experience was when a hen got into the dog's 30' x 80' pen and could not remember where the gate is. I went in the open to catch her and get her out. The dogs were not in that pen but were ranging. When one saw me after a chicken, she decided this is fun and she can join in. I immediately grabbed her, spoke very severely to her (it is amazing how the simple word no can be severe), and yes, smacked her a few times with my baseball cap across the buttocks. When I turned her loose, she ignored the chicken and left the area. The other dog watched. Neither has bothered a chicken since.

    I don't guarantee anything will work for you. I do suggest you try to teach them that the chicken is not a plaything and not an intruder. Your odds of success will go up quite a bit. And I am aware that either of my dogs could snap at any time. I know I take a chance letting the chickens and the dogs range at the same time.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by