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Questions

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Allore79, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Allore79

    Allore79 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been reading about different predators. Does have a coop off ground help with predators? Having a coop closer to house help keep them away? How do chickens really get to free range with predators? Sorry for all questions. New to this.
     
  2. murphyfarm

    murphyfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No. coops off the ground won't keep out predators. Most people who free range do it with a rooster. In my flock I have two lab/anatolian/pyr mixes, a full pyr, and two roosters to protect my coop and my ladies and I haven't lost a chicken to predators since I got them. The rooster will keep an eye out for danger and in some cases even fight for his hens. I heard one time a lady found her rooster had killed a hawk that had went after her hens. In the case you don't have a rooster or any dogs that won't eat your chicks, I would make a run. There are plenty of tutorials out there for DIY runs. Good Luck!!
     
  3. Allore79

    Allore79 Out Of The Brooder

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    What breed roosters are the best for free ranging?
     
  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

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    It depends where you live. If your only predator is foxes I've seen a high coop with only a rung ramp to access it used. How successfully long term I don't know. If you live where your predators can climb like raccoons etc it won't help at all. It's also going to be hard to access to collect eggs if you aren't just keeping them to grow out for meat.

    Our coop is about 30 paces from our back door but lost our flock to a fox years ago and a fully grown bantam to a goshawk recently while hubby was in the garage. So distance won't really help you either.

    Really if you want to truly free range you are going to have a loss at some point. We got away with it for 3 years before the goshawk found them. Now they free range only when I'm in the yard or else get grass time in a movable wired off area with bird netting over it.

    I'm not convinced a rooster is really going to make you predator proof. Even the most vicious rooster is no match for a fox or a wolf or an eagle. People dump roosters all the time but the woods aren't over run with them because they get eaten. My boss' rooster only lasted one night out of his coop before becoming a meal and he was a very large leghorn. They may give an alarm but then I find my hens are pretty quick to do that too and they all freeze or run for cover but it didn't save them from the goshawk. And roosters don't come with guarantees they will stand and protect rather than run and hide lol. Each has its own personality.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  5. Allore79

    Allore79 Out Of The Brooder

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    We have a lot of Hawks. A lot! Right now I have not seen skunks or foxes but I saw them last summer. I got chickens at thanksgiving so I have not had very long. So far, I have been very lucky nothing has happened while free ranging. They do not venture off too far for very long. I have paid close attention to have coop closed up before dust. They are great at going inside. I read most foxes, skunks, etc are out early morning and dusk. Not sure if that is true. What is y'all experience when they are out.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Never feel like you need to apologize when you ask questions on here. This forum would dry up if people didn’t ask questions. And don’t be too ashamed or embarrassed to ask any question, we all have to start somewhere.

    Does have a coop off ground help with predators?

    In my opinion, not really. There are a very few predators that might have trouble climbing of jumping, but very few. What really helps is good barriers, walls, fences, and a good roof.

    Having a coop closer to house help keep them away?

    In my experience, no. If you set up a game camera you would be surprised at what is around your house at night. Raccoon and bear often raid garbage cans right next to the house. Skunks, possum, and raccoon really love to find any dog or cat food left outside. I don’t have dog or cat food outside and my dogs have cornered possums, skunks, and a groundhog right next to the house. Deer eat from my bird feeder really close to the house. Wild animals are quite adaptable. They quickly learn that there isn’t much danger when no one is active. A good dog that stays outside 24/7 365 will help a lot but even then things can get pretty close.

    How do chickens really get to free range with predators?

    That is hard to answer. A lot of times they don’t. Any time you free range your chickens you are taking a chance. While many predators are more active at night, about any of them will hunt during the day. I’ve seen raccoons, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and skunks hunting during the day. I even saw a possum feeding at my compost pile at 1:00 pm on a bright sunny afternoon. Your most dangerous time is at night because there is not as much human activity to keep them away, but hawks, coyotes, and bobcats have grabbed chickens right next to a human. Still, it is very important to lock them up in a secure place at night.

    Just because a predator is somewhere around does not mean it is going to grab a chicken, even if one is available. Predators are funny that way. They may ignore a chicken and just keep going. Or they might not. I grew up on a farm a few miles outside of not much. We had all kinds of predators around. We occasionally saw them. Sometimes we had an outside dog, sometimes we did not. From the time I can remember until I left for home after high school, I remember two predator attacks, a dog and a fox. Both were shot. Our chickens free ranged during the day, some even slept in trees. Other people would be wiped out in a few days if they tried to free range.

    Predator pressure doesn’t just mean if predators are present, they are present. It means do the predators you have go after your chickens. Practically everybody that free ranges for any length of time will lose chickens to predators. The questions are whether you are willing to take that risk and are the losses you experience heavy enough to make you quit free ranging.

    Electric fences require maintenance but they can circle pretty big areas and are very good at stopping land-based predators. You might want to look into that.

    I agree with Appps on the rooster. A good rooster might give some warning on a few predators, like hawks, but they don’t stand a chance against a predator of any size. Once a threat is identified mine tend to lead their ladies to safety instead of staying behind to fight a rear guard action. Occasionally you will get a rooster that fights off a small predator, and sometimes you will have rooster that gets eaten. Whether he was fighting off a predator or was just unlucky enough to be the one that got caught is sometimes hard to say. A rooster will very often put himself between a potential threat and his flock and check it out, so there can be some benefit from that, but many predators are ambush predators. They don’t give any warning.
     
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