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Hello from upstate NY and help is needed please

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Ahna, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. Ahna

    Ahna Hatching

    Dec 13, 2011
    Hello, my husband and I have browsed this website many time since we adopted our 3 hens and rooster last April. They have been pampered with a custom made coop, pen and yard. The coop and pen are predator proof top,sides and bottom. We let them out to free range (but mostly our rooster manages to liberate the others from the chicken yard). We live in a wooded area and I have only seen deer and squirrels on the property. This morning our chickens were free ranging and a hawk got one of our hens just outside our back door. Another hen is missing. The last hen and rooster are cowering in the coop. We never heard a thing. I am heartbroken. Are we wrong to let them free range? Is it because it has turned cold and food is more scarce? What more can we do to keep them safe? Any help is appreciated.

  2. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Crowing Premium Member

    Dec 22, 2009
  3. [​IMG] [​IMG] from Washington State glad you joined us!
    Sorry to hear about your loss, I would keep the rest of the locked up for a while since the hawk will be back looking for a easiy meal. I would only let them out when your around. I let mine free range but I'm always concerned and very watchful for bald eagles in our area.
  4. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello and welcome to BYC from OHIO!

    Now, you are NOT wrong for letting your chickens free range.....That is my personal opinion. I think chickens are much happier, if you allow that. This time of year, there is less cover since the trees are bare, and less forage....You are right about that.....

    I'm hoping your other hen is just hiding and will come back to you.....I think she will. Maybe call out to her, and offer some treat like cracked corn or scratch......She may come running.....I use a plastic pitcher to scoop out the cracked corn each day at dusk, and I shake it, and the chickens know that sound......

    In the spring, why not consider getting two more hens your pullets (younger hens) to replace the one you lost. It's always easier to introduce two rather than one new chicken to a flock.

    So sorry for your loss....This is one of the sad things about free ranging, but still, I'm all for it because I think, if you have the land, it's very good for chickens and keeps them happier......

    Good luck and Happy Holidays!

  5. Avalon1984

    Avalon1984 Songster

    Dec 22, 2010
    [​IMG] from West Michigan! Our hens are in enclosed pens because we have critter haven here and I am not about to kill all the predatores that naturally occur on my property, plus I cannot watch the flocks all day. That said we used heavy duty 2x4 wire mesh that we dig into the ground 2ft and we cover the top of the runs as well. Haven't had a problem yet. So sorry for your loss!
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Welcome to BYC.
  7. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    Welcome to BYC from another upstate NY'er. I also free range and I occasionally do lose one to a hawk - lost one this year and two last year. I keep them locked up when not home and let them out when I am around, which is most of the time. I have tons of forest/trees/places to hide and I do have a vigilant rooster, so that may be why I don't lose more (so far). You might want to keep them in for a bit during hawk season (now) since you have so few - I have about 50!

  8. S&N Livestock

    S&N Livestock Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    southern ohio
    [​IMG] from Ohio
  9. TheJuan-n-Only

    TheJuan-n-Only Songster

    Sep 10, 2010
    Welcome from Tampa, FLA.

    1st very sorry for your loss!

    I wouldn't say you are wrong from letting them free range, however, we we let them free range we take risks. I let mine free range a few hrs a day and I'm always "freaking out that something will happen. Since the "winter" started I have seen many more predators than usual, so I only let them out now when I'm going to be around.
  10. Howdy from Austin, Texas.

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