How to keep free range chickens safe

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by shaunta4401, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. shaunta4401

    shaunta4401 Hatching

    Aug 18, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    Hi there!

    This is our second year of having chickens. We started out with 4 chickens and then lost 2 to coyotes. This year we increased our numbers to 10 hens and a rooster. We have lost 4 chickens within the last 3 weeks to coyotes! : ( We have an injured hen we're mending right now as well! We are fed up with loosing our chickens, especially since we are really attached to them! The one I lost today was my oldest and my favorite : (

    We want to continue to free range them, because they're happier and their eggs are delicious! However, we can't continue to feeding the dang coyotes either!

    What recommendations do you have to keep our flock safe? They roost in a coop at night and we close the gate to keep them in until we let them out in the mornings. However, the coyote is killing them early mornings and midday! We plan to try and hunt him down, however, I'm sure coyotes will always be a problem.

    Thank you for your help!
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    I am not an advocate of free-ranging exactly for the reasons you have stated...predators. I'm so sorry for your losses...
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Some people can totally free range and have practically no predator problems. Others like you can’t do that. We are all different in where we live and the predator pressure. I’ve got foxes, coyotes, hawks, owls, bobcats, raccoons, skunks, and possums all over the place. I even saw a mink the other day. Last week a neighbor shot a coyote from her back porch. I did not have much of a problem from them free ranging for over three years. I just locked them up at night. I lost two in that time period to what I think was a fox. That’s acceptable top me. But people drop dogs off out here. Those dogs get hungry and that is where I have my problem. I got tired of large numbers of chickens being wiped out at one time by abandoned dogs. It’s free to drop the dogs off at the shelter, all you need is a driver’s license showing you are a resident, but no, they have to drop them off in the country to starve to death or get shot if the coyotes don’t get them first. Anyway, I‘ll quit my rant and get to your problem.

    I got electric netting from Premier about three years ago. I haven’t had any losses since except one to an owl when I was late locking them up. There is maintenance involved with electric netting. Grass and weeds will grow up in it and short it out. They will eventually eat all the good forage in there so the quality of forage diminishes over time unless you move it regularly. But electric fencing is the only way I could continue to let mine get out and eat green stuff and chase grasshoppers. Another option to keep coyotes out would be to set up an electric fence, not netting. Those can be extremely effective against coyotes too but have the same grass/weed issues. Which works best for you (if either) depends your specific circumstances.
  4. shaunta4401

    shaunta4401 Hatching

    Aug 18, 2014
    Seattle, WA
    Our entire property is fenced and we could run hot wire along the top. Because of the brush and weeds, I'm not sure if we could use electric netting. But we could limit their ranging area and hope they don't fly over the fence. We don't like clipping their wings since this helps them escape predators. We're having someone come out to hunt the coyotes this weekend. Hopefully we won't lose anymore between that time : (

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