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Our girls are free ranging and I am holding my breath.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by navychick, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. navychick

    navychick Songster

    May 17, 2011
    I am probably too over protective but we waited until our chicks were almost 12 weeks old before we allowed them to wander unsupervised today. Last night we let them out for 2 hours in the early evening as suggested often here on BYC and they were the happiest little girls. Today, they could not wait to "escape" their run. They are soooo very happy but I am a nervous wreck. I KNOW they are safe in their run now I can only hope they are OK. I hope it gets easier.

  2. crazygoatlady915

    crazygoatlady915 Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Don't worry! We all feel this, but if they are safe in their run, they'll be ok! But I am a but confused, are they in their run, or are they ranging? I'm sure that they will be OK ranging too, I personally have never had a predator take a ranging hen.
  3. ladyride

    ladyride Songster

    Apr 30, 2011
    East Tn
    I had 3 small roos 2 hens disappear while ranging , so you do need to keep an eye on them. They were taken while we were only 100 ft away where we could see out of the bay window never noticed a thing. Now they have supervised range time . Let me also state not all of the property is fenced a deep creek is on 3 sides the predator came across the bridge for them . ( we since have removed the bridge ).When finances permit a electric fence will be going up. Their coop & runs are secure . But we have hawks, coyotes, fox, stray dogs,raccoons for predators. To this day we have no idea what snatched them we never saw any trace of feathers anything. If your property is securely fenced they should be fine.
    Everyone's experience is different I will never again be complacent about loss. I was really upset about loosing my chickens & now I am vigilant about their safety. If you look under predators & pests you will see my story repeated by others . Again as long as your property is fenced you should have no problems.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  4. KarenP

    KarenP Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    I know this sounds a bit crazy,but i also get very nervous when they free range. I try to stay outside and keep myself busy while they have their freedom, but sometimes i can't. I started to put music on outside, hoping that the noise of humans might keep predetors away. We we see what happens, but it's worth a try!!
  5. navasima

    navasima Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    New Mexico
    After being anxiety ridden about it for a bit, I put the dogs & cat in, blocked off the backyard from the front yard, held my breath and let the flock out for the first time today. Well, I tried to let them out.....then I took a couple of them out - they went right back into their run. Finally they decided that this might be okay and came on out to the base of a huge couple of bushes about 6 feet from the door. Cool! They seemed pretty excited! Yeah right. [​IMG] 15 minutes later, without trying to explore the rest of the yard...they all paraded back in! Talk about anticlimactic! [​IMG] Ah well, I know they'll get the hang of it...and so will I! [​IMG]
  6. navychick

    navychick Songster

    May 17, 2011
    Quote:We built a very secure run but I feel very guilty keeping them IN it ALL the time. We live on 6 acres out in the country and have all sorts of predators but other than hawks, eagles, stray cats and dogs I think most would not attack during the day so near our house. Today they had a blast! The fun they had running around our back yard scratching in my flower beds [​IMG] was joy to watch. I won't let them out when we are not home but even if I am home I can't eliminate all possible risks. I waited until now hoping they might be too big for a hawk or cat. Fencing in our yard is not an option at this time either. It was so cute watching them head back to the run and into their coop promptly at 7:30 pm right on schedule. On the days I won't be able to let them out I'm going to have to feed them before I open the pop door as it will be very difficult to get into their run without them trying to escape.
  7. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    I "held my breath" for a while too. Then let my guard down and a falcon almost got away with my absolute favorite liittle. Dutchh banty. Beat her up a bit, but I was home and heard her screaming and saved heer, while the falcon watched from the neighbors roof. Even tho the big girls are probably safe from such a small falcon, we have bigger prey birds too (bald eagles) and I would rather be safe than sorry. They have an enormous outdoor run, so I just bring them things to do (cabbage tetherball, sunflowers to pick at) and feel better that I KNOW they are safe....even if they DO complain about not going out in the yard.

  8. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Day to day they will get further and further. They just need to practice comming out. [​IMG]

  9. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    In addition to what the above poster mentioned, chickens are quite defenceless really... against pretty much anything that tries to eat them. All my adult chickens free range but I never let them free range until they are adults, I've found young birds to be quite dumb when it comes to that sorta stuff.

    It is quite common to loose free ranging birds, but in my opinion, its still better then keeping them locked in a run all day.
  10. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Aww, that is sweet of you to let them free range! My chickens LOVE free ranging. Haven't had a predator loss yet. They are locked back in their Fort Knox coop at night when they put themselves to bed.

    Kinda funny, that any bird flying within eyesight causes an instant alarm reaction, and they all haul butt back to either the run or shrubbery to hide in. Whether it is a sparrow or bird of prey. But no hawk or falcon has paid them any mind, and instead go cruise for other prey in the farm fields.

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