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How to keep predators away when free ranging chickens?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Rich Marshall, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. Rich Marshall

    Rich Marshall In the Brooder

    Oct 27, 2011
    I am looking for suggestions for keeping predators away from my chickens when they are free ranging as we have fox, coyotes, hawks, racoons etc in the area.
    I wondered if there were any electric devices or suggestions for keeping them away?

  2. debid

    debid Crowing

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    You'd really have to fence the whole yard for the larger predators and then provide ample cover they can run to when they spot a hawk. FWIW, I had a hawk drop on one of mine even though she was under a brushy shrub and I was right there when it happened. Truly, there is no such thing as full protection unless they are in an enclosure.

    It's simply not practical for us to fence the whole property so I tend to keep a pretty close watch over mine. They also have a cockerel and a dog looking out for them. I've accepted that losses are inevitable and have decided that, for me, the risk level is acceptable.
  3. notiones

    notiones In the Brooder

    Oct 12, 2011
    Big Springs, KS
    This is my first year with chickens and, knock on wood, I haven't lost any to predators yet. My neighbours cannot say the same. They have lost a few in the last couple of months. All I do is lock them up at night, make sure they have places to hide when the hawks are overhead, and mark my territory. The latter part is a superstition of mine from my days backpacking alone in remote wilderness. Not sure if it helps, but it made me feel better. The coyotes challenged me once, but I stood my ground and though I hear them all around, they have not come back to my property. I know they will some day and when they do I'll go to meet them. I have a good roo too that's plenty big. That helps a lot. He's a little on the mean side, but stays clear of me and my daughter stays clear of him.

    Now if I could just keep the squirrels out of my orchard I would be a happy camper.

    1) critter proof coop
    2) big mean roo
    3) strategically placed hiding places
    4) marking territory
  4. Iron-Roo

    Iron-Roo In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    NW Ohio
    Quote:Like the #4. will be trying that. Would probably be good to walk the dog around the whole property and let her mark as well...
  5. Hodawg

    Hodawg Chirping

    Quote:Like the #4. will be trying that. Would probably be good to walk the dog around the whole property and let her mark as well...

    Heeheehee! Now I have an excuse when Mrs. Hodawg asks "what are you doing?????" Ah yes, life just gets better with knowledge and input from others.

    Beers y'all,
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    I would say a good dog trained to do just that. I don't think it would be cheap but that all I would come up with. Mine range all day with me and Morgan out most of the day, and so far I've had no problem. Although Morgan has run something off late evening, I know he hit a beeline chasing something but didn't see what.

    He's not trained to looked after chickens but does a pretty good job.
  7. The Driver

    The Driver In the Brooder

    Mar 19, 2011
    The Lone Star State!
    OZ of lead!

  8. anderson8505

    anderson8505 Peace, Love & Happy Chickens

    Quote:Like the #4. will be trying that. Would probably be good to walk the dog around the whole property and let her mark as well...


    5) Chain linked fence
    6) Chicken friendly Dogs
    7) Electric fence would deter some
    8) Luck, lots of it

    I had to nix #2 because he was also mean to humans, too, eventually!

    Mine free-range all day every day. No losses, but I know it may happen one day and it will probably be a neighbor's dog!
    These are the chances we take.

    edit: I've read that for flying things like hawks?? you can hang up CDs on strings, but I haven't done that yet. (I'm not ready to give up my CDs... [​IMG] )
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  9. kcwazzu

    kcwazzu In the Brooder

    Apr 30, 2011
    Auburn, WA
    I'm guessing anything short of a firearm will lead to dead chickens. If you don't have them fenced in anything can get to them, especially if you aren't watching them like a hawk(no pun intended). I don't know about you but I can get distracted and that would be all it takes.
  10. BarnGoddess01

    BarnGoddess01 I [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]

    I free-range mine but only when I'm home and only during daylight hours. (I'm lucky enough to work from home.) I guess some might argue that isn't truly free-range but it works for me. But I still have issues with hawks. Those guys are determined!

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