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Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jamband, Feb 29, 2012.
just forget it...did not mean to argravate folks
no. i let mine free range on our 3/4 acre with the knowledge that i will occasionally lose a bird. i lost one yesterday morning for the first time in about 18 mos. i see how they are when they're locked in because of snow and how they get after about two days of being cooped up and deciding to wade out into breast deep snow with the end result being surely painful feet, and i can't do that to them full time.
I really don't think you can put chickens and humans on the same level, so your "Would you cage yourself?" is kind of off kilter for me.
I would say though, I do let my chickens free range during the day, and then they get locked into their coop during the night. This keeps them from becoming an easy dinner for some predator. and I do believe they're happier free ranging. When they're confined to their run, they do just sit around, or pace back and forth.
Free ranging has so many benefits. The big one is that they eat less layer feed! I seem to lose one chicken each year to an unseen predator, which I suspect is a hawk. Personally, I feel it's worth the risk because the chickens have a more interesting, fuller life.
Now here's the thing.....I am not against locking them up from time to time for their safety. I lock them in when I'm not home, I lock them in at night, and I lock them in during inclimate weather. If I see a predator lurking around, I offer them treats inside their run, and then I lock them up.
That's just my humble opinion though.......I won't ever keep mine totally locked up "for their safety".
Would I cage myself? If entering the ocean during a great white feeding frenzy - yes. If observing polar bears - yes. Free ranging is all about common sense. Given the proper safeguards and expecting some losses it's a great thing. Uncontrolled and unprotected - simply remove their heads yourself. It would be more humane than being killed by most predators. This is absolutely not a yes or no question. Common sense (a quality sometimes in short supply) is essential to free ranging.
What choice do they have if they refuse to do something about the predator hunting their chickens? I drive by a chicken coop that has 12 - 20 birds penned up in the mud and they never see a blade of grass - if I had to do that to my chickens - I would give it up. I want my chickens to be out and enjoy life. I dont lock my dog up in a cage 24/7 why would i do that to my chickens. I had a serious ground hog problem once destroying my tomatoes/peppers that I grew from seeds - I spent $800 -1,000 on an electric fence - that didnt do it. So, I put a portable tree stand overlooking my garden and I hunted those sob's. You have to protect your property and chickens but locking them up is not the answer I agree with.
I like my birds to free-range since it is less costly in respect to containment and feed. Some losses are acceptable, even desireable with some games when animals that would eventually be culled by me are most likely to be taken by predator first. Such continued light predator pressure is required to keep game population's resistance to predation up. Generally with my games they are very predator resistant. Problem is with my production flocks which have a lot in common with flocks kept by others. Those birds have been selected for food production performance at the expense of survival ability when faced with predators, plus they are typically managed such that social structure that provides my free-ranging games a measure of protection does not operate with the production birds. Games have a harem master and hens work with harem master to protect chicks at least during daylight hours. With the games it is a risk of any individual being lost to a predator while with the production birds it is a high probability the entire flock will be lost during same time frame to same predator. I will pen the morons, at least during winter months when predator pressure is heaviest and value of individual birds (breeders for nest years production flock) are the highest.
of course time to time its necessary just like staying home if you have the flu............Not putting them on the same level at all..Thats why i said the chicken version of you. My point was they dont like confinement.
i did not mean unconditional free range......I lock mine at night and if I saw a fox wandering of course I would. I am referring to the locked down all the time or except when I am there mentality.
Some days I let mine out,and some days I lock them up.Some days I decide to stay home if I think driving is too risky.If there was chaos in the streets I would *bug in* so to speak for however long was needed. I get what you are saving though.
My yard is flooded right now,and the hawks are out,and the chickens are now out too. I worry.Like I said some days like when the 3 HAWKS are around I might keep them in until I am able to stand with them. Right now they are out and I gotta leave.
Always hoping for the best,but I know one day it will be my turn to post of a loss to predators.
Some humans live in a guarded gated community, a fence around their property, security bars on the house entry points with a whole house alarm system. All for protection from "predators".
Yep some humans choose to live in a "cage".