Predators in the South

Amenbrotherben

Chirping
Mar 24, 2018
27
26
59
Conyers, Georgia
My Coop
My Coop
Are predators just worse in the south? I live in Georgia and free ranging chickens is completely unheard of for longer than a few months. Our pens have to be totally secured also, with a roof and an underground fence. Between foxes, raccoons, hawks, owls, coyotes, weasels and snakes there is literally always some type of threat. What is yalls experience?
 

HuskerHens18

Crowing
Mar 11, 2018
2,158
4,965
397
Chickenlandia
I know Nebraska is quite a long ways from Georgia, but we HAVE to have cats and dogs on the loose at all times while we free range. Otherwise the coons, skunks, possums, minks, rats, and coyotes pour into the farm and multiply like rabbits. Hawks and owls are the only things my dogs can't keep away unfortunately. If it weren't for my guard dogs I couldn't free range at all. No matter how many predators we shoot and trap ourselves, new ones come in eventually.
Free ranging has pretty big risks, but my chickens are happiest when they're out foraging for themselves. I just lock the coop doors at night to keep predators out, and then I let the chickens back out in the morning.
 

Amenbrotherben

Chirping
Mar 24, 2018
27
26
59
Conyers, Georgia
My Coop
My Coop
Are predators just worse in the south? I live in Georgia and free ranging chickens is completely unheard of for longer than a few months. Our pens have to be totally secured also, with a roof and an underground fence. Between foxes, raccoons, hawks, owls, coyotes, weasels and snakes there is literally always some type of threat. What is yalls experience?
It makes sense if you think about migratory birds. I know from observation Canada geese can’t raise off spring here.
 

EggyErin

Songster
Apr 2, 2011
287
22
159
N. Ga mountains
After free-ranging for years, I finally had enough of the predators. A bobcat killed off my entire flock, over several months, except one. I now have a large chicken yard that I'm putting the final touches on - aprons and electric wire. Mine isn't covered, too big and too difficult because of trees, but hopefully all the other stuff will work.
 

X_and_Z

Songster
Feb 16, 2018
207
404
116
SF Bay Area
My Coop
My Coop
I live in a very urban area (a large city's downtown) - I put my 4 week old chicks into an ex-pen* with top in my backyard while I cleaned the brooder. They had only been out in the ex-pen once before and then only for 1/2 hour.

Within 15 minutes of being put outside I heard a ruckus and saw a hawk bounce off the top of the ex-pen, hit the grass next to the pen and then fly up into a tree in my yard. I went out to check to make sure that everything was OK and the hawk didn't fly away from the tree until I called my asleep-on-the-job dogs out.

Anyway - this is a very long winded way of saying that predators are everywhere and are quick to take advantage of chicken dinner.

*If you aren't familiar it looks like this: http://www.midwestpetproducts.com/midwestexercisepens/exercise-pen-wire-mesh-top
 

Foster's Freehold

Songster
6 Years
Jun 7, 2013
346
458
182
South Central KY
I live in a very urban area (a large city's downtown) - I put my 4 week old chicks into an ex-pen* with top in my backyard while I cleaned the brooder. They had only been out in the ex-pen once before and then only for 1/2 hour.

Within 15 minutes of being put outside I heard a ruckus and saw a hawk bounce off the top of the ex-pen, hit the grass next to the pen and then fly up into a tree in my yard. I went out to check to make sure that everything was OK and the hawk didn't fly away from the tree until I called my asleep-on-the-job dogs out.

Anyway - this is a very long winded way of saying that predators are everywhere and are quick to take advantage of chicken dinner.

*If you aren't familiar it looks like this: http://www.midwestpetproducts.com/midwestexercisepens/exercise-pen-wire-mesh-top

I'm an ex show dog kennel manager, yep, love those ex-pens. I got (and still get) all of the old ones with rust, or busted wires etc. My 6ft chain link run panels are what came from the old dog kennel.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,066
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Here in Maine, we have it all except for snakes. Possums exist, but they are a rarity. We have all the predators from rats/weasels, on up the size/food chain to fox, bob cat, fisher, coyote, bear. Hawks of all size and description. Northern goshawk is my nemesis. Hawks will sit in the trees and taunt me, pace on top of the chicken run fence, pace on the ground in front of my grow out coop. Evil creatures they are who have taken leave of their natural place in the food chain web. We even have mountain lion, even though the official word is that they are not in Maine. A neighbor has footage of a Mountain lion taken in his front field, and I have an other friend who had a face to face with one about 15 years ago.
 

deepbluesea

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 14, 2014
743
1,629
337
coastal NC
Everything likes to eat chicken. We have all of the things you mentioned, though I've not seen a bear or a bobcat in my little town neighborhood. Down the road a bit yes, but not in the backyard. I've had trouble with raccoons and hawks, but have only lost two birds and had one hurt in the 4 years I've kept chickens. It's sad to lose them, but I've decided that it's worth the risk for me because they seem to enjoy it so much. I have lots of cover for them and an enclosed yard for stray dogs, etc. but in the day time they're free ranging.

That said, when the hawk and raccoon were doing their things, I kept them to the run for more than a week. None of us were particularly happy about it, but they didn't get dead.
 

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