Keeping Chickens Free Range

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LadyBroody, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. K Epp

    K Epp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When I was 4 my Grandfather bought me a pony. When he was unloading it we discovered a rooster had hitched a ride. I loved that rooster and carried it around everywhere. They got him some hens, but I don't remember much about them. Now 40 years later I have 75+ chickens, 5 ducks, a turkey, and a goose.
     
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  2. blkjak

    blkjak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My cats are more interested in chasing my rabbits. They dont even try for the little chicks. I think they are afraid of my geese.
    If you are looking for winter hardy and good foragers think about getting chanteclers. We have 6. We call them our little vultures. They have no wattles or combs so no frostbite.
     
  3. Bobi9459

    Bobi9459 Out Of The Brooder

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    Well lost another one yesterday. The worst is we were outside all afternoon working on the old barn, didn't see it. This is happening to often. No feathers no nothing. I figured from above. It just makes me upset because Everytime a new starts to lay I lose one. I will never keep up with the demand of my customers this way. It is so frustrating. I know this will happen when free ranging this is why my customers love my eggs But really. Thanks for letting me vent. I know you will understand what I feel, everyone around here thinks I am crazy.
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Bobi9459 - I know exactly how you feel. I love them out scratching around, but the losses can be terrible. Nothing works perfectly but locking them in fort Knox, however, these tricks kind of help.

    * a mature rooster or two..... must be at least a year old before they are any real help
    * vary the time of day you let the flock out, some days a couple of hours, some days more, some days early, some days late
    * do not let them out if it is windy..... I think birds of prey can hover more easily on a windy day, and wind interfers with hearing, which makes them more vulnerable to land predators
    * if you have a loss, keep them locked up for several days, so that the predator gets hungry and moves on to somewhere else.

    Hope this helps.

    Mrs K
     
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  5. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    X2
     
  6. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    Mrs K

    I agree with all your points so make it a x's 3.


    I also delay their free range time on days it is low overcast and extremely still and darkish. I have found the birds of prey extend their feeding hours when "dawn" is longer.

    Not that anything stops them, but I think following your instincts helps a lot. I also allow my dogs to run free amongst my birds.. (I trust my dogs 98%) I really watch for the 2% to rear its ugly head.

    My biggest problem with my dogs now is their eating the chicken feed from the feeders, they spill so much!

    I think the dogs keep nasty things away.
     
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  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    For that very reason, I keep thinking it'd be nice to have a dog. But, am not prepared for the expense that goes along with keeping a dog.
     
  8. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

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    I can sure understand that, A good dog is expensive in time and money, and to be honest, IMHO, a bad dog is worse than no dog.

    It would be nice if you could find a dog someone is forced to rehome that is good with animals and trained already. It cuts the expense immensely.
     
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I have an Australian Sheppard, very good with moving cattle, not good as a watch dog. However, never bothers the chickens.....problem, my chickens do not see a brown dog as a threat. And I think that allows the coyotes to get too close.

    So when my son comes with his dog, I let him circle the coop/run, barking a little bit, putting the fear of predators into my flock.

    Don't know if it works or not.

    Mrs K
     
  10. Bobi9459

    Bobi9459 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the tips . The problem is usually around 5ish. The girls don't get out til about 3 when I get home from work because of all these issues this spring. On weekends when not working it is usually around in the morning. I do have a dog a little one he thinks he has big balls sometimes til they turn on him then his little butt is dragging the ground. Anyways it is usally later in the day and have scared them off a couple of times.
     

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