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Need advice on safety of my flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lukewride, May 15, 2009.

  1. lukewride

    lukewride In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2009
    I've got 4 bantams which will soon be 8 or so when i release my chicks with them in their run... they've lived within it for a year.

    My chickens run is 20 meters by 10 and my garden is significantly bigger. it isent really fenced off very well but is surrounded 80% by thick bushes and beyond that is a cows field surrounded by an electric fence... we're in a pretty rural location so no roads really.. just one thats very quiet most the time.

    My question is, if i was to take down the fence of the run and patch up some of the bigger more obvious gaps and holes in the fencing around my garden would the chickens be safe, return at night and not stray too far?

    I dont wanna put any at risk or lose any.

    any help would be appreciated.. i'm not brave enough to do it a hope its all ok..

    Last edited: May 15, 2009

  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    From what you describe on where you live I'm guessing there are several different predators that would love for you to take down your run fence and 'patch' up the other one. I don't think it sounds like a safe idea.

    Having said that... lots of people free range their chickens during the day and then lock them securely in a predator proof coop at night. In essence that is what you are thinking of doing. You need to be aware that anytime a chicken is free ranged there is always the chance of it being killed by a predator (hawk, fox, dog, etc.) so that is a risk you have to decide if you are willing to take.

    The chickens will love being in the bushes you talk about and will wander a good distance from their coop, if allowed. Mine easily wander an acre or two (but I have 40 and they always stay around our buildings) but they always go back to their roosts (in the coop) at night. So, yes they will return at night and you can lock them up.
  3. lukewride

    lukewride In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2009
    We dont have hawks in jolly england luckily... i dont think dogs will be a problem but foxes might well be since they banned fox hunting here... however, saying that, i've only ever seen one in the daylight here in the past 3 years.

    The fence surrounding their run is quite flimsy and i'm positive that if a hungry fox really wanted they could jump it quite easily..

    Its such a difficult decision..

    I want the best for them but is the best for them being relatively safe if a run of being free and happier roaming the garden, buses and field?..

    Cheers for your help. i'll keep it in mind.

  4. lukewride

    lukewride In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2009
    anyone else hav any experiance when it comes to this?

    all and any hep would be appreciated
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Google sez England has at *least* sparrowhawks and merlins, possibly others (I got lazy [​IMG]) (wait, here is a page listing all British raptors: http://www.bwrc.org.uk/Training/Lecture21Notes1&2.doc although it doesn't say which are in which regions, or in what numbers)

    Also pretty much everywhere on the planet has loose dogs; and I gather foxes are not uncommon in much of England.

    So, would they be safe? No (chickens in a totally fenced roofed run are not 100% safe either, but a whole big lot safER than free range).

    Should you do it? Totally up to you. As you say, it's a tradeoff, and everyone has their own feelings about it. I don't think there's a right or wrong, just what you're comfortable with and can live with.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  6. allmypeeps

    allmypeeps Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    Do you have weasils, racoons or opossums?

    If you really really want them safe but want them to have more space you could get some sturdier fencing? I used sturdy rubber coated wire, with the square holes and post it often to keep it secure- I use the 5' high by 100' long. if you get just two rolls that will coral a hefty area and will at least deter ground preditors a bit better than the flimsy stuff you said you have now. Also this will keep them from wandering farther than you want. (If you want to make it so nothing can reach thru the square holes you can run your flimsy chicken wire flat against and along the bottom sections of the square to double it up, 2 feet high or so.)

    Then think about throwing some netting over it....nothing too expensive just something to keep the sky preditors from dive bombing. I'm thrifty so always can scrounge up something...

    ...old volleyball nets sewn together for example...?? it doesnt have to be glamorous or cost a lot.

    Is it worth possibly losing one now and then to the cruelties of 'nature', knowing it enjoyed all the 'pleasures of nature' while it was alive, rather than living contained yearning to roam free?

    Its your personal call to make.[​IMG]

    Last edited: May 15, 2009
  7. lukewride

    lukewride In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2009
    We have buzzards and sparrowhawks in my area but buzzards only eat carrion and sparrow hawks are pretty small and would pose no danger to the bigger full grown birds.

    no possums, weasels or racoons either... the only snakes are grass snakes that are really small or adders which are bigger but rare and normally found near water.. which i am not..

    My uncles got a chicken farm not far from me and the only predator he's ever had problems with are foxes.

    Thanks for all your help... left me with quite a predicament.

    I think i'm going to trial it over the weekend and see how far they go and how we get on. wish me luck!

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