Freeranging unsupervised?

jthornton

Crowing
Aug 30, 2017
3,076
5,385
422
Poplar Bluff, MO
My Coop
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
 

orrpeople

Grading essays - be back soon!
Jun 15, 2016
4,846
17,819
702
State of Jefferson
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
 

MillersFarm

Easily distracted by Chickens
Jun 3, 2016
4,863
14,780
687
Lewiston NY
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.
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Mar 15, 2010
14,232
26,193
972
On the MN prairie.
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.
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.
 

adstowe

Songster
Aug 8, 2016
346
383
141
Colorado
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.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom