Limited Free Range?

Flock of Many Colors

In the Brooder
May 23, 2017
13
11
34
Hello! I am new on BYC but have seen so much good stuff.

So I have 12 pullets right (10 standard and 2 bantam) now in a 6.5ft x 30ft temporary run. We have a section of our back yard that we don't use very much and it is very woodsy. There are lots of shrubs and trees for the chicks.
We do have a cat who is wayyyy too interested in the chickens.
We also have lots of hawks and a couple owls around our neighborhood. I should also mention we have a Great Pyrenees and Lab mix who will be in the first section of the backyard and when I train them not to chase the hens then hopefully they will be integrated. I have high hopes for them because they train easily and are good with all other animals.
I asked someone who works at TS about her free range chickens and she said even though she lives way out in the country where she's seen any predator you can think of, she's never had any of her chickens get eaten.
I was wondering if anyone has had experience letting your chickens free range or do limited free range and how it went? I know there is always a chance something could get them, but I've heard if there is a dog in the yard and lots of cover for the chickens its a big turn off for the predators.
Thanks!
 

WesleyBeal

Chirping
Nov 28, 2016
230
63
86
Douglas County, Minnesota
You'll read on here a lot about people who have had no issues with predators until they do, often a couple years into things.

I believe that dogs do help deter a lot of predators, whether they're trained or inclined to protect the flock or not.

Mixed bag on the wooded areas. They provide some cover, but also hiding places.

I free range (technically, "day-range," as they're locked up in their coop at night) my chickens. I haven't lost any - yet - to predators, but I know I'm going to eventually, it's just a matter time.

I don't know how big your chickens are. When they're small enough to be vulnerable to hawks, I make sure they have places they can quickly get to and dive under for cover.

It's a trade off. You'll lose one eventually. Could happen the first week, or 6 years down the road. On the other hand, they certainly prefer it over being penned up.
 

morganalefae

Head nut at the nut house
May 2, 2017
1,057
1,959
271
Leicestershire UK
I'm new to owning chickens only had mine for a lil over a month but I let all 6 of them (incubating a lot right now with another lot or 2 in the following week so number will go up in the coming weeks) but I let them free range in my yard we have fox's, badgers, cats,owls & other large birds round here and I have forgotten to lock them up in the coop and lock the run 2 nights ago and they thankfully were still alive in fact they were down right mad at me for flashing a light into their house and they let me know. I free range my girls as long as I'm at home they get put back in their coop/run tho if our young lab needs out as some of our yard needs clearing. Also I heard if you have a rooster that puts off predators specially very large breed roosters but that's what I have heard.
 

Robin37

Crowing
Mar 27, 2017
682
1,189
297
Lavonia GA
My Coop
Hello! I am new on BYC but have seen so much good stuff.

So I have 12 pullets right (10 standard and 2 bantam) now in a 6.5ft x 30ft temporary run. We have a section of our back yard that we don't use very much and it is very woodsy. There are lots of shrubs and trees for the chicks.
We do have a cat who is wayyyy too interested in the chickens.
We also have lots of hawks and a couple owls around our neighborhood. I should also mention we have a Great Pyrenees and Lab mix who will be in the first section of the backyard and when I train them not to chase the hens then hopefully they will be integrated. I have high hopes for them because they train easily and are good with all other animals.
I asked someone who works at TS about her free range chickens and she said even though she lives way out in the country where she's seen any predator you can think of, she's never had any of her chickens get eaten.
I was wondering if anyone has had experience letting your chickens free range or do limited free range and how it went? I know there is always a chance something could get them, but I've heard if there is a dog in the yard and lots of cover for the chickens its a big turn off for the predators.
Thanks!
Welcome to BYC. I am sure you will love it here. We let our chickens free range in the day time off and on. I make sure that they are shut up in their coop at night. We have woods all around and on our 2 acres. Our chickens haven't been bothered by predators except our Chihuahua, but she has learned to leave them alone. We do have neighbor hood dogs though that chases stuff during the night periodically.
 

Chickassan

Wattle Fondler
May 23, 2017
13,880
68,136
1,247
Greenville S.C, formerly Noneya U.S.A
Iv'e let mine run the backyard for nearly a year with only one incident where something either attacked my roo or he attacked something I only saw the aftermath so I can't be sure.Yard is nearly an acre with my neighbor's goat herd and goat guard dogs on two sides.Chickens are locked up at night.It really is a crap shoot when you let them roam nature is nature.Personally though my flock isn't happy cooped in the run yeah they're safe but not pleased one bit.
 

SueT

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 27, 2015
8,583
24,690
857
SW MO
What kinds of chickens do you have? Some breeds are better at evading predators than others. Our neighbors have brown leghorns free ranging and have had good luck with that breed, so I am now raising some as well, having lost a couple of my heavy breed hens last year during the daytime. (everyone is locked up at night.) I think I will keep my bantams confined, and let the leghorns free range, and see how it goes. It makes such a difference in the eggs, that to me, it is worth doing all I can to succeed with free ranging.
 

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