Keeping Chickens Safe

Lottiee

Hatching
Jun 27, 2018
4
1
8
Hey everyone! :frow

I have had chickens before in the past and most of them have died due to predator issues (i.e., coyotes, foxes, raccoons, owls, hawks, skunks), pretty much everything under the sun. From what I have noticed it is only when they are free-ranging during the day. Do you guys have any tips on keeping chickens the safest when they are out free-ranging? I'm open to all suggestions and recommendations!

I look forward to reading your suggestions!
 

21hens-incharge

Addict
Premium member
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
16,770
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Northern Colorado
Chicken tractor....
Portable hoop run.....

Not true free range but certainly safer.

I know many use electric fence that is movable. It doesn't stop things from above though and again not true FREE range.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,810
11,760
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I don't free range anymore due to losses in the past but all of my coops have nice large pens. I have electric wire around the coops and pens, concrete under the gates and heavy duty netting covering all of the pens. I have been making flock cakes for my birds. The birds love them. It gives them something to peck at to occupy them. There is no way to totally protect the birds when they are free ranging. That is the risk you take. Good luck and have fun...
IMG_20191225_094954[1].jpg
 

Howard E

Crowing
Feb 18, 2016
2,561
3,121
286
Missouri
So most of the OP's chickens were killed during free ranging......by many predators?

No secret to it really.......if you give predators a free shot at em, predators win most of the time. True free ranging is about as dangerous as playing Russian Roulette with a single shot rifle. Outcome is pretty certain.

So secret to keeping birds safe is secure housing that nothing, absolutely nothing, can get into a night.......when the door closes at dusk, birds are safe from all comers.

Then during they day........they are either confined inside a run or other housing, or somehow you have to find a way to establish a perimeter zone of protection. Some trust it to physical fences......which are leaky......some use guardian livestock.....dogs, etc. For some, that works well, others not so much.

Another option, and the one I use, is an electric fence designed specifically for poultry. Keeps birds in and varmints out. The only predators that can easily defeat an e-fence are hawks, owls, etc. And if you provide some sort of cover to escape to, the birds are pretty good at defeating them too.

A super hot electric fence establishes a mental barrier that few varmints are willing to test....twice. Hit em hard......and you may only get tested once.......no chicken is worth another dose of that.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,810
11,760
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I agree totally. I love the electric wire. My wire when touched will make my heart skip several beats and I'm sure I weigh more than a predator with four feet on the ground. This is a chick/grow-out coop and pen. The pen wraps around the coop so it is on both sides of the coop. This coyote knows the hot wire is there. It will get close but not touch it. Fox too.
DSCF0002112019 01.jpg
 

twendt

Songster
Feb 23, 2019
565
1,552
176
SE Wisconsin
That picture still freaks me out! I know they're lurking outside my fence at night too! Along with the 30# raccoons. The kids saw a small fox tipping it's head to one side watching my chickens inside their pen last spring. He came back a couple of times. I heard the chickens warning call, I ran outside but never saw anything myself.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,810
11,760
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
You will hardly ever know they are lurking. There are times when I have looked out my windows and never saw anything but around the same time one of my cameras has caught a predator in the same spots. Once in a very great while I have actually seen a predator when I have looked out the windows. Here most of the predators roam at night.
 

Lottiee

Hatching
Jun 27, 2018
4
1
8
Thank you so much for your replies! I figured the best solution would be to keep them in the run. I've been thinking about electric fencing and I will look into it more seeing how much it helped keep your birds safe. I like the idea of the flock cakes as well!
Has anyone had experience keep a goose with your chickens? This is an idea I have been tossing around in my head as well.
 

twendt

Songster
Feb 23, 2019
565
1,552
176
SE Wisconsin
@cmom, may I please have your recipe for flock cakes? We got a lot of snow last night. The girls won't step outside of the run, they hate snow, maybe they're smarter than we are! Anyway, I thought the cakes would be a great boredom buster!! I have a small run because they have access to my large fenced in garden. I built it in summer, not realizing chickens don't like to walk in the snow.
 

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21hens-incharge

Addict
Premium member
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
16,770
66,946
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Northern Colorado
@cmom, may I please have your recipe for flock cakes? We got a lot of snow last night. The girls won't step outside of the run, they hate snow, maybe they're smarter than we are! Anyway, I thought the cakes would be a great boredom buster!! I have a small run because they have access to my large fenced in garden. I built it in summer, not realizing chickens don't like to walk in the snow.

While you wait for the recipe....
Depending on snow amount and temps if you can shovel paths they will use those.
:tongue At snow!
 
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