lost one of my free rangers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by marypcoleman, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. marypcoleman

    marypcoleman Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 14, 2016
    This is my first year of raising hens. I chose to free range. They come to the coop at night to roost and I lock them in and open in am I have a well protected small run that I leave open which is attached to the small door of the coop . I leave both open. I have five acres but they do not seem to go very far past the mowed acre or so in my back ...My white Foghorn did not return from an afternoon of foraging. The other 3 did. I kept them in the run for three days to break the cycle of the predator hopefully. Now, I worry all the time they are out. They move so fast and I lose sight of them all the time...Will I get over this sometime soon?
     
  2. FoodFreedomNow

    FoodFreedomNow Chillin' With My Peeps

    My condolences on your loss. I know it must be especially difficult since you have a small group.

    I also choose to free range my chickens, and have lost some to predators. I can't say that the anxiety around predator attacks lessens, but you learn to live with it. It's a trade-off, IMO: the risk of predation for chickens getting to express their "chicken-ness" (a la Salatin). Hopefully, your chickens are more predator-savvy now and you won't suffer any additional losses.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Mine are also free range, I think they live a more happy and fulfilled life that way. The trade off is occasionally I lose some to predators. I get really stressed when it happens, and we do what we can to stop it. Eventually you stop worrying until it happens again.

    I'd rather deal with that worry, than watching my chickens develop bad behavioral habits from living in confinement. Chickens need to run, and scratch, and forage. I can't imagine them sitting in a run their whole lives knowing nothing else. So it comes down to what you can personally live with and how you feel and think about your chickens.
     
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  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    I have lost my share to predators. A couple of things I have figured out:

    Don't free range every day for the same time period. Vary when you let them out, sometimes right away, sometimes in the afternoon.
    Do not let them out on high wind days or dark cloudy days, gives too much advantage to the predators.
    If you get hit, (and you probably will) do not let them out for several days. Making the predator move on to find food.
    A year old rooster can really help with daytime predation, they are more alert. A younger rooster is not much good. And your older rooster needs to be the first bird aware of you when you approach the coop/run.

    Personally, after years of chickens, I have found it is best for me to have a completely enclosed run attached to my coop. I love to let mine free range, but I love it best if I have somewhere to let them out and have fresh air, and enough space, that is protected from predators. Especially if I am going to be gone for a few days.

    Mine free range, just not always.

    Mrs K
     
  5. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm sorry you lost your chicken. I know how sad that is. Any idea what predator it was?

    I worry about mine all the time, honestly. I lost my first one last fall, to a bear. After that, I only let them out when I was outside with them to supervise, with a rifle in my lap. Not joking. Then I starting reading a free range chickens thread here on BYC. It's one of the really long ones with thousands of posts. It actually really helped me accept the loss of my chicken. It probably sounds silly, but I really blamed myself for her dying. After reading a lot of the free rangers' posts, I realized how much happier my chickens were with their freedom. There's always a little worry, and when I get home the first thing I do is go count them and make sure they're all safe, but I let them free range because they do love it so much.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2016
  6. alicexx

    alicexx Just Hatched

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    I lost one of my chickens to a fox ( I think) 2 days ago freerange and in the middle of the day, I found what was left of her and it was horrible, even more horrible was finding her friend ( I only had 2 ) so frighten cowering in shrubs, I couldn't even get near her [​IMG].

    I have fenced in an area close to the house so the can't wander to far, and got her a big scary rooster and 2 more hens.
    I'm hoping these measures help and they have been in a pen for 2 days also. I also really blame myself and am so worried for it happening again.

    Sorry for your loss xx
     
  7. marypcoleman

    marypcoleman Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all your helpful advice and sympathy. I really appreciate. No one but those on this site probably understand.

    I do not know what happened. She just did not come back with the other three. I looked everywhere, esp in the weeds and wooded areas around the house. Could have been a dog, a hawk, a fox, ..all have been noted by me over the past years that I have lived here.

    The day she disappeared, when the other three were working their way to the coop for roosting, all three of them started cackling and making noises for at least five minutes. Maybe to call her ...maybe to just be sad about it ..they may have viewed it.

    It has been almost a week and today one of them went in the coop to lay and the other two were hunkered in a corner by a bush. I opened up the nestbox and there she was. She came out of the coop then and the other two just ran to her.

    I do like my chickens. Not too much but I think the right amount.

    Thinking about getting another layer but maybe after winter. Are odd numbers bad or is that just girls in school? LOL!
     
  8. marypcoleman

    marypcoleman Out Of The Brooder

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    Sorry for all of your losses , too. [​IMG]
     
  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    White chickens are always a beacon, so maybe don't get another white one. I would add at least 2 that are friends if you want to add more, so any new ones aren't lonely. I have seen chickens get anxious and depressed after losing a member of the flock, so I would expect to see some reserved behaviors because of the lose.
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Adding a single hen is one of the most difficult integrations. One can do it, but it is rough generally speaking. All the other birds know this is a stranger, and giver a peck. If you add a couple, it spreads out the pecking. Chickens hate change and strange chickens. There are lots of posts on here on how to do it, but two is much better.

    Mrs K
     

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