hawks and owls

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kimf, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. kimf

    kimf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 11, 2011
    Seminole County, FL
    Ugh! We are going to get chickens. We live on just over an acre in a residential neighborhood. We have red shouldered hawks and barred owls that nest in or around our home. I am reading all of the info on predators and getting nervous. We plan to have a coop and good size run (I have a feeling we will want more chicks quickly) but want to let them free range a bit each day. i have seen posts saying evening is best for free range but that is when our hawks and owls are most active. Suggestions?? Is it best to just confine the chickens to the run?
     
  2. fldiver97

    fldiver97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
    Middleton, WI
    My property is not as large as yours but is next to a stretch of conservancy; we have hawks and owls, racoons, coyotes etc. The backyard is fenced (5 ft chainlink) to keep the dogs in and the creatures out as much as possible. I have a run (roof fully covered with PVC type material). I do let my girls free range daily though - they are only confined by the big fence but they never jumped the fence after they were full grown. I was very reluctant to let them out when I was not there but I have decided to risk it. I did wait until they were FULLY GROWN though, they are all pretty heavy breeds. I also have lots of vegetation, shrubs and tall prairie plants for cover. I never let them out of a covered enclosed area when they were small as I felt they were easy prey for the hawks. The nice thing about letting your chooks out an hour or two at the end of the day is that they will go to their coop/roost on their own. Usually I am home by then and often out in the yard with them. You may loose a bird even when you are nearby, you may loose a bird if your coop/run are not "Fort Knox"...... So, I think you have to consider the risk and benefits, age and size of your chooks and maybe try to find a way that is acceptable to you. My girls are so happy when they are out foraging, I try to let them out as much as possible. They generally choose to stay in the run and coop when we have a lot of snow on the ground, I also confine them to the run and coop if we have severe weather otherwise or if I can not be home by afternoon to make sure they are all in and the coop is closed up for the night. I have not lost any to predators for the 2.5 years I've had chickens but I know that it can happen. It's hard to make a decision when you want to protect your flock but also want them to be able to free range..... I hope you find some more info on the site and maybe some more ideas to help you make a decision that works well for all around!!!!
     
  3. WillieBoy

    WillieBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 1, 2010
    There is no given solution...Bottom line.when you freerange, you lose some birds.If you want to reduce your losses, don't free range..Everything likes to eat chickens..thats the way it is.....Free ranging equals more losses,period.If thats not acceptable,don't freerange your chickens, lock them down.Either way you will experience losses, its just the nature of the beast..
     
  4. Malita

    Malita Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2011
    McKinney, TX
    We have an acre in a slightly rural neighborhood which means we have hawks, owls, possums, raccoons, coyotes, bob cats, skunks, etc. Coop and run are entirely enclosed and surrounded by 18" wide gravel strip. The gravel slows down diggers. The roof coverage keeps the larger wild birds out while the girls are in the run/coop area. However, we free range them all day long everyday. Almost lost one to a hawk just this past Thursday but she yelled, hubby came running, hawk left. I know someday we will lose a girl or two to predators but they are happiest free ranging.
     

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