Free ranging??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by southernhens15, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. southernhens15

    southernhens15 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have my girls in a run, they have plenty of room to do all their "chicken things".. Lol but they are always trying to run out when I open they door to give them daily loves and treats etc.. My question is how do you train your birds to go back to the coop at night? And is there a way to train them where and where not to go? I have woods right behind the coop and I'd prefer them not to go in the woods, as I know we have a pack of coyotes back there. Thanks in advance! Have a blessed day!
     
  2. Free Spirit

    Free Spirit The Chiarian

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    If you know you have coyotes then I would highly recommend you not free range them. They do roam around during light hours. They will come near the coop and snatch a chicken if they are out and you're not out watching them.

    I have one roaming my area that I see an hour or two after sunrise but it is always right along our property line on our neighbors side. Since my neighbor runs cattle I can't shoot in that direction so I have to vigilantly keep watch. That's why my chickens are in a protected run and the ducks are behind an electric net.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    You don't have to train them to go in at night. As creatures of habit, they'll go back in at dusk without any training.
    As far as training them where to go, not really an option except perhaps to provide some scratch in area you want them to frequent.
    They love to scratch in debris in the woods for all the goodies they find there.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. southernhens15

    southernhens15 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2015
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    I definitely know they are back there. I can hear them just about every night. I guess I'll just keep pulling the grass and hand feeding it to them :) its fun to watch them play keep away. Lol thanks for the advice!
     
  5. jas humbert

    jas humbert Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have too may predators nearby to feel comfortable free ranging my birds. If I am home and have time I let them out about an hour before dusk and let them scratch around a little while I am supervising/doing yard work. They head back to their coop on their own as it gets near dark. I don't have time to do this every day but I try to do it at least a couple of times a week for an hour or two. I do not leave them on their own. We have too many stray dogs, coyotes, raccoons, hawks. My girls have a pretty large pen- 12 x 36 covered pen plus hen house for 10 birds and they honestly seem content inside the pen most of the time. I pull grass/weeds for them most days and offer treats.
     
  6. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I periodically hear coyotes at night, so I know they're around. However, I do free-range my flock almost every day. I've been doing this for four years, but have not yet lost any hens to coyotes.

    It's not unusual for me to lose one hen per year due to aerial predators (hawks), but for me, that's an acceptable level of loss. The flock is locked up at night.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
  7. southernhens15

    southernhens15 Out Of The Brooder

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    I was surrounded by the pack of coyotes we have one time, so I'm worried they won't have any hesitation grabbing my girls! I did have a raccoon trying to get in my coop a few months back but I caught it and took care of it. I haven't had any problems since then besides the coyotes, they stay right at the edge of the woods howling just enough to where I can't see them.. To smart for their own good if you ask me. Lol
     
  8. Going Quackers

    Going Quackers Overrun With Chickens

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    I free range some of the chickens but i don't have coyotes that hang out that close, there hear.. often i hear them and a pack of wolves but thankfully they stay distanced. Most of the chickens return to the coop or they like the huge cedar hedging off just beside and behind their coop to roost in(so yes, i remove them)

    Free ranging is great but you have to know where you stand risk wise, everyone's is different, i have a HUGE flock of ducks who go about daily, so i do know where i stand and what is here, been well tested lol.

    I do not free range my bantam chickens nor my heritage breeds, the first ones because they are small and the second because they cannot clear the 4ft fence to get out or back in.
     
  9. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have come home at noon only to find a coyote in the yard. Luckily the hen's were cooped at the time. Also, came outside at the front of the house just as a coyote stepped into the yard. They are bold. I turned out my three big dogs and they ran it off, but coyotes will always come back to test the waters if you have chickens.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    I lost a rooster and a chick to a coyote (or two) in the middle of the afternoon a couple months ago. There were 3 flocks free ranging at the time. The rooster gave himself up and all the rest were safely tucked in the brush when I chased the coyotes away. They just killed the chick but took the rooster away.
     

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