How do people free-range their chickens??!!!?

Krcismesia

Chirping
Feb 5, 2018
61
78
86
Ok, so I have 8 chickens currently and have tried to free range in the past. Sadly, 2 died from a hawk. Since then I built them a run and it was great until they ate all the grass. I really want to let them free range but am so scared that they will die considering that I see at least 5 hawks in the area. I've tried decoy owls and even hung sliver reflective string, but nothing seems to work. I just don't know how all these chicken owners post picture and videos of their chickens happily free ranging. If anyone knows the secret to free-ranging please let me know.
 
Mar 30, 2018
1,095
2,103
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I let mine out for at least a few hours every day, and longer if I am home all day. We have about an acre around the house that is yard, and the rest are wooded. The chickens tend to stick to the edge of the trees. I have seen hawks and the chickens pitch a fit and run for the trees. We have neighbors too close for me to leave them out all the time, though. They tend to wander through the woods to the neighbors yard.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium member
Jul 23, 2018
12,315
91,338
1,442
Apalachin, NY
My Coop
My Coop
There is no secret. When you free range your chickens, you are accepting a higher level of risk that they will be lost to predation.
I stopped free ranging mine when they started going too far into the woods across the road and behind a neighbors house where I've heard fox.
They will be confined to about 1/4 acre of lawn enclosed in poultry netting that is charged with 10K volts/1.2 Joules to protect from ground attack.
They have an extremely large, dense shrub they can shelter under from overhead attack. They can also run back into the covered run attached to the coop.
I also decided to raise a cockerel to guard the flock. They look out for overhead threats and sound an alarm. He is quite good at that.
 

llombardo

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
3,013
4,761
336
Illinois
I choose not to because I don't accept loss by predators because I chose free range. Mine know nothing different and are happy ad healthy. I did attempt to see of they would come out and explore. I put tarps up and sat out there for about 3 hours with the run gate open. They walked right past it and stayed in the run. The boy slightly crossed over but would not allow the girls to do so.
 

mixedbreeds

Crowing
Aug 10, 2016
1,318
2,098
256
Washington State, Coulee City
I free range every day, I let them out in the morning and shut the doors after they roost in the evening. The only chickens I lost was because I sadly forgot to close up one of my coops one evening they were all taken made me sick but was my fault it was cayotes I won’t ever forget again. I have 4 coops and haven’t ever lost a bird free ranging. There are no Fox here but hawks, owls and cayotes. I do have a rooster that keeps them pretty close to the coops and barn the only other thing is there are a lot of wild quail around the hawks seem to focus on. I have several fruit trees compost bins bushes around that may break up a hawk attack as they can’t really zoom in on a straight line at them in most places. I don’t know what keeps them from being taken but I’m sure some day it will probably happen even if it turns out to be a stray dog.
 

roosterhavoc

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Jan 5, 2012
18,696
32,786
971
Everybody’s yard is different some people hardly have any problems while other will constantly lose birds. I free range a lot of birds but I trap a lot of foxes, raccoons and opposums pretty much year round.
Hawks aren’t a big problem for me but I might lose a bird a year to them. That varies from year to year though.
 

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