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question about free ranging

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by dandydoodle, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Songster

    Sep 21, 2010
    What time do you let your chickens out to free range? I usually wait until about 11 AM. I was told once if you wait until later most hawks are already full and less likely to come after your chickens. Well I have two different roos so I have to do yard time share, because they don't get along. It gets dark around here real early this time of year so that doesn't leave us much time. I let the first set out at 9:45 this morning but, now I am really nervous about hawks. Being able to let one set out at 9 would give both sets move time free ranging.

    What time do you let your chickens out and what do you think about what that person said. In your experience have you found hawks attack more in the early morning. Thanks in advance, I really appreciate the help. I am still learning. I haven't lost a chicken to a predator yet ( I better knock on some wood), I know I will but, prefer to keep that down to a minimum as much as possible.


  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Ours are let out as early as sunup, or sometimes as late as mid-afternoon. Depends on when we get around to it. (They are in their run whenever they leave the coop). Our reasoning has nothing to do with hawks. Just on whatever is happening for the day. We have an abundance of hawks, but I have never lost a chicken to one. I think it's because we live in a rural area (20 miles from town, sparse population) and there is plenty of wildlife in the open spacesthat's easier for the hawks to hunt rather than the hawks having to come near our building site.
  3. WalkingHorse

    WalkingHorse In the Brooder

    Honestly, I see them all day long. My hawk attack occurred around noon. I think the only time you are safer from them is when they go to roost at night. Not much help I know...sorry.
  4. That`s an interresting theory, but it is just a theory. I see hawks all day long and some of my fowl free range from dawn til dark and I`haven`t lost any to hawks. They scare the birds, but a good rooster and a few guineas help with the watch.........Pop
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    I've heard that too. I kept my eyes out most of the summer, and I will say I saw them most often in my area around 10-11am and again around 3-4PM. And that's the times my flock settled down under cover. I would occasionally see hawks at other times too, but mostly it was around these times here. Maybe it was coincidence?? And I wonder if it's seasonal, because as Fall approached, those windows didn't work - there was no pattern of times that I could tell. [​IMG]
    Just make sure there's plenty of cover available for your chickens. Mine will even just hang out by the cars, on the porch, or under the pines in my front yard at high peak hawk times. I let mine out of the run at 7 in the summer time and around 8 now that it doesn't get light till later.
  6. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Songster

    Sep 21, 2010
    I do have a good alarm rooster. He makes me feel a little safer. We have had one hawk scare so far. To the first person I really meant free ranging with out a cover.

    Thanks everyone,

  7. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    You know, where I live, I've lost one chicken a year to a hawk, and it was always in the morning. So I started letting mine out after 1pm, and then after that, I never say any hawks. If I do see one, I round everybody up and they have to stay in for a few days.

    This darkness is such a bummer. It was actually starting to get dark right after I got home from work at 5pm yesterday. I let mine out before I leave work at about 7:15 this time of year, otherwise, nobody's home all day and they wouldn't get to free range at all.

    I do think it's a bit riskier, but I think they enjoy the free ranging so much, I hate to keep them penned up. I'd rather let them have an interesting, happy life, than being bored but safe in their coop and run all the time. But that is just my personal belief.

    You should do what is right for YOU. [​IMG]

  8. HighNDryFarm

    HighNDryFarm Songster

    Feb 2, 2011
    Paradise, CA
    I think it's a good theory too but like Teach, I usually see them mid morning and mid afternoon. I have lost two in the last year but it was always new groups of younger chickens who aren't up on the Roos warning sounds. I will tell you, it's good lesson. They learn pretty quickly.

    I let mine out between 8-9am but if I have to leave for the day any earlier the get out earlier.

    Really, nothing cooler then to see the Roo let off his warning and everyone run for cover.

    We can only do so much to keep them safe and chose to let them free range.
  9. dandydoodle

    dandydoodle Songster

    Sep 21, 2010
    Yea, I really want them to get to free range. They seem so sad when they don't. By the time I get home from picking my kids up from school within about 30 minutes its getting dark. The chickens go to bed by 5, its such a downer when it gets dark this early. Its hard for the kids to get out and play too. [​IMG]
  10. ChickInDelight

    ChickInDelight Never an Empty Nest

    Apr 27, 2011
    Browntown, VA
    I also have screaming hawks in the morning. My chickens and ducks ignore them.

    I believe what I was told. I am in a very rural area with plenty of food, so the hawks already have established hunting grounds.

    I have never seen a hawk dive for my critters - not even kittens.

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