keeping chickens in rural Florida

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by tlocke, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. tlocke

    tlocke Hatching

    Oct 3, 2013
    We have been keeping a backyard flock for a few years in our city in Nebraska, not many predators to worry about. We are planning a move to NW Florida and I am wondering if you can free range chickens there or what the best method is for keeping them predator (mice and snake incl.) free when everything eats chickens? Hoping to hear from someone who has experience living there and dealing with the local issues.
  2. Wrooster

    Wrooster Chirping

    Apr 13, 2013
    Northern Florida
    We're in North-Central Florida in a fairly rural area. We also moved from North. Our chickens have a generous corral mostly wooded with a 4-foot fence, an enclosed A-frame style pen and a house.Many locals do not use houses, justs roofs with roosts. It doesn't snow (usually) but most years you have a few 24-hour periods below freezing. We'll replace the house someday with another house but it will have more ventilation and a concrete floor. You ain't seen humidity and wood rot until you've lived in Florida.

    We have 2 1/2 acres and most of the neighbors are on 2.5-5 acres. We free-ranged until the rooster slashed one too many people (specifically, my wife). No real problems free-ranging. They made it as far as the doorsteps of 2 neighbors' houses, which could have been a problem with different neighbors. Now they're fenced in.

    We have lots of trees and brush for cover, some pasture, many hawks. I think we lost some chicks to hawks while they were free-ranging - they just disappeared during the day. Lost several pullets to a raccoon but that was my fault because they were in a temporary cage that was not critter-proof and I had seen tracks. Got the coon the next night. With the amount of cover we have and their own survival instincts, it's been OK.

    We have a killer rooster. Short on personality but he was invaluable keeping the flock together and safe free-ranging. Recently bloodied the nose of a medium-size dog that got in the A-frame while the girls got out.

    I wear a .22 pistol and an LED headlamp when I lock them up at night. About once a year I've had reason to use the pistol. I believe very much in live and let live, but I have my limits.

    Some communities are nasty about chickens or roosters. Be sure you check before you buy.

    You might want to watch Tropical Storm Karen. Other than that, the weather right now is what we waited all summer for.

    Good luck. If you want to PM me we can switch to email if there's anything specific you want to ask.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2013

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