gave up on free range......

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pinkyglory123, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. pinkyglory123

    pinkyglory123 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Due to the tenacity of the fox on our 100 acres-despite having controlled raccoons and possums-I have switched from total free range to confiement with pullet shut door and electric netting. Funny while free ranging was all about hamburgs, fayoumis, anconas, in an attempt at giving them the best chance outside (although they always had the coop with solar door for night)-now it is all about the larger more traditional hens. Wyandottes, RIR, BR, my beloved cochins who I had decided to give up for life. Luckily my big birds seem perfectly happy with their new lifestyle and my remaining hamburgs have stopped slipping thru the netting. I had always loved the big birds but had done a 360 in an attempt to free range. Now I am back with my big heavies. They seem happy so I am too.
     
  2. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

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    i loved having mine freerange, but i didn't love the MIA moments, so they have very limited time out, and like yours, have adjusted- cochins are addicting aren't they?
     
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    My birds have very limited free range, and you will never see photos of them running in the woods because my hands are holding a 22 as I stand guard. I have several hawks and owls, and recently noticed a fox running from me. Not to mention domesticated dogs running amuck. Another problem is I'm working in the shop which is a few hundred yards from the house. As soon as Stan sees me there is a parade of chickens coming my way! Kinda of embarrassing to have chickens wandering around an automotive shop.
     
  4. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 22, 2010
    Muskegon
    We are overcome with predators here, air ground and everything in between. I will never be able to kill all of them, nor would I want to, so free range was never an option for us. My chickens are in large outdoor runs and look happy and healthy too. [​IMG]
     
  5. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the South
    I free range all my young stags from at least 12 weeks until they can't be together any longer.

    Coyotes
    Fox (Red and Grey)
    Opossum
    Dogs
    Hawks
    Owls
    Eagles

    (We live in the swamp).

    Traps, poison, and electric fencing works to some extent: a guard dog helps too.

    Life is tough. You either get tough or die. I have found that Opossum are the worst of all the predators to deal with simply because of their number.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I free range my production/ brooder reared birds starting at 8 weeks and by 12 weeks they are roosting in elevated roosts that do little more than provide protection from owls flying in from above and side as well as direct rain. On property I have small number of game hens that spend all time free ranging and that is how they raise their chicks as well. Predator assemblage is similar to above excepting no eagles while racoons and bobcats are present. Oppossums also near top of my predators of concern list not because of numbers but because they are dumber. Other predators will avoid dog but oppossums keep coming, usually getting killed, but sometimes take out some birds first. By birds are most vulnerable between weeks 8 and 12 during transition from ground roosting associated with chicken tractor and when they move into elevated roost.


    For me some losses are tolerable which is usually less than 10% of what is hatched. Management of predators, not termination is my philosophy. Shooting is not practical (even without legal concerns) so I simply provide layers of protection where each by itself may not protect birds but as a whole are like a guantlet of hazards most predators will avoid. Key to making system work is a good dog and not sleeping through alarms birds make at night. Also having suitable refuges (brambles and trees) birds can retreat to when predators call gives time for dog or myself to intervene.
     
  7. Zootopia

    Zootopia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You are SO right! While we do lose a few, we hedge our bets. No bantams that would invite the airborne predators, younger birds are kept penned. We boundry train our dogs and run a large dog (a boundry marking male seems useful against coyotes, but I never leave one of my intact males out without supervision) and a pair of small "alarm" dogs. We use rescue terrier/chi mixes, not indoor pets. Hot wire and BB guns usually deter the neighbors curious dog if you catch them before they get out of hand to begin with.

    When I lose a bird, I try to see what I missed. Killing this predator is short term since it will soon be replaced. Management/Prevention is the way to go. Be prepared BEFORE you bring birds in, forums like this are a great resourse for that.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:You are SO right! While we do lose a few, we hedge our bets. No bantams that would invite the airborne predators, younger birds are kept penned. We boundry train our dogs and run a large dog (a boundry marking male seems useful against coyotes, but I never leave one of my intact males out without supervision) and a pair of small "alarm" dogs. We use rescue terrier/chi mixes, not indoor pets. Hot wire and BB guns usually deter the neighbors curious dog if you catch them before they get out of hand to begin with.

    When I lose a bird, I try to see what I missed. Killing this predator is short term since it will soon be replaced. Management/Prevention is the way to go. Be prepared BEFORE you bring birds in, forums like this are a great resourse for that.

    Yes, breed selection is important so avoiding batams and like is wise. Although just because a breed is historically known to be a proficient flyer or otherwise good at avoiding predators does not mean that is so now. Ability has been lost through hatchery selection with some. Another issue is learning that predators are predators and what to do when they visit. This year I had opportunity to observe first visit by a juvenile red fox. It would have bungled job of catching a couple juveniles if it were not for fact the birds did not realize fox was bad news. First bird did not even try to run. Second flew a little piece but settled down right in front of fox and was lost as well. Remaining birds figured simply flying into trees or onto roof of house was all that was needed to get away. Most birds lost would have survived if appropriate response was given in time.

    I wish I had a pet fox to challenge chickens with at the beginning of each production year to show who to watch for and what to do.
     
  9. Helen Carter

    Helen Carter Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello,
    I am so afraid of hawks that when I let my 2 chicks out I stay as close to them as possible.
    Because they are always looking for treats they stay close to me.
    I live in a big city and still we have racoons, possem, cats and hawks.
    I spend about 1 hour in the morning and 1 in the evening to let them free range.
    I am hoping for eggs around Frebuary or March.
     
  10. Hiram

    Hiram Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:I'm with you. I tried that nonviolent stuff. It is not satisfying.
     

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