Freeranging unsupervised?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Clucking_Caramel, Apr 7, 2018.

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  1. Clucking_Caramel

    Clucking_Caramel Chirping

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    I have a flock of chickens that already ate the grass in their run. I let them graze in my backyard, only when I watch them. Usually it is for an hour or so. I do have two roosters who do protect the hens. I just don't want something eating them!
     
  2. Angeline1978

    Angeline1978 Songster

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    I free range mine through the day and when they're ready they will all go back in and i lock the door at night. There is always a threat of predators. They are less likely to attack if you are home. You don't need to keep a constant eye on them. I just scan out the window as I walk by.
     
  3. Ahavati

    Ahavati Songster

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    We let ours out after about 2pm (I want to collect the majority of eggs) and we aren't always outside. We haven't lost a chicken to predators yet. We have about 30 currently. I just do as above, look out the window when I go by.
     
  4. jthornton

    jthornton Crowing

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    My Coop
    I was sitting in the chicken yard having my evening beer with my chickens and a dog tried to get into the fenced yard and was not scared of me. I finally got it away from the fence and before I could kill it the dog had killed several of my neighbors free ranging chickens as well as a prized rooster. It happens faster than you think...

    JT
     
  5. Angeline1978

    Angeline1978 Songster

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    True dogs are predators and not afraid of people. That's when you take the dog out. Once they kill a chicken it becomes a game or they just like the taste. There no law against protecting your flock...well unless you live in town and have to call the police first.
     
  6. orrpeople

    orrpeople Grading essays - be back soon!

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    This is just my experience, not a recommendation.
    We have about 2 fenced acres (it's chain link, thank the previous owners!) and my birds are out on it from sunrise (or as soon as I can get out there) to when they put themselves to bed at dusk. (My breeding pens have to rotate days, but everybody else is out.) They have lots of large bushes under which to hide and two pretty faithful dogs that roam the yard with them. We -once in a great while - will lose a bird to a hawk. It's one of those things we have learned to accept might happen as a result of our choice; but we have had many happy, healthy birds live out their lives enjoying the ability to roam free.
    20180314_165751.jpg
     
  7. MillersFarm

    MillersFarm Easily distracted by Chickens

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    My Coop
    I've raised chickens all my life and had them free-ranged for as long as I can remember,
    unsupervised, And not once have I lost my birds from predators during the day while they're out foraging. At around 7:30 PM is when I put them away and I let them out at 7:00 AM. I've got a few dogs and a Bernese for protection, But I also have lots of different fowls, My turkeys and guineas seem to keep the hawks at bay. I've ordered some African geese as well to serve as flock protection for my ducks, chickens, and pheasants.. And every now and then i'll set some traps out for foxes and raccoons to prevent any losses.
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    I have. I have had coyotes come and wipe out half the flock. I had a mama raccoon come with her 4 babies in the middle of the day, go into the coop where my broody and her babies were and kill the broody (then the dog let DH know there was a problem and the raccoons were taken care of). I have had a few hawk kills, and a weasel got into my coop once in the middle of the day. Yet, I still free range. I had heavy predator losses last year with free ranging, but will do so again with my new flock this year. It's a risk I'm willing to take.
     
  9. adstowe

    adstowe Songster

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    I've lost a couple to predators while free ranging, but I personally view that as one of the costs I'm willing to accept for my decision to free range. Nobody likes to loose birds, but I think that being able to run loose, be free to explore and forage during the day gives them the best possible life I can provide them with and I'm fortunate to have the acreage to let them do it on. There's no way to eliminate the risk of loss though. It's a choice that isn't right for everyone.
     
  10. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Crossing the Road

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    My Coop
    We provide plenty of cover with escape options and let the flock free range from dawn to dusk. We know the risks, there's been a hawk in the yard before, but we still let them out.
     

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