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Raising Chickens Isn't Easy! :(

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mrs. Fluffy Puffy, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    I free range my chickens every day ( When we are home ). Latly I have been missing quiet a few chickens, lets just say I have lost about 12 - 20 ++. I am guessing something is grabbing them while they're way out in the pasture. Just about every chicken that I've lost these past few months has been a young pullet within a few months of laying age. I was getting pretty sick of loosing favorite chickens, young pullets and cockerels etc. I decided to move all the young chickens into the larger coop with the grown birds, they have been in there with them for about 2 - 4 days. I will have to let them out again sometime .... just don't want to loose anymore birds!
    I have a few favorite sweet birds, I couldn't bare to loose one of them! I just feel so lost ... I feel awful for my chickens because I let them out and then something grabs them and I can't do a single thing about it!!! I can't keep them locked up, to me that is cruel! They enjoy running around the ranch so much! Plus it makes their eggs alot healthier. I just don't know what to do!! Sometimes I wish I didn't have any chickens so I could just start over and have a nice safe coop/run for them and I wouldn't have to worry about anything eating them. If I ever do get rid of all my chickens I would only keep around 25 because that way I could keep up with them all! Right now I have 80 - 100 + and I can't keep track of them all!!! I was just going threw my pictures of my flock and I saw my mollted houdan hen .... I haven't seen her in forever!! Something got her, and just the other day my big Blue JG roo and a Buff Orp cockeral went missing. Along with my Easter Egger pullet ... the list goes on and on!
    My heart is very heavy ... I know the day is coming when I'll have to let them out ... and more will keep going missing.
    I have a empty coop this is medium size .. should I keep my favorite chickens in there? Would it be very, very cruel to keep them locked up for their own safty? Should I just free range the roosters or my old chickens or something? I need some ideas!
    Thanks for any ideas ... sorry about typing so much .. I just had to let it all come out!
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    You could range them along with a nice dog or two. Sounds like you have been a victim of fox predation. Invest time and training into a "free to good home" dog and then just sit back and relax!
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hi Mrs. Fluffy-

    So sorry to hear this. With my flock, there are two coops--a big one and a little a-frame. They both have enclosed runs. What I do is, I let them out after work, around 5, and then in the evening, when they all head into their coops, I lock them in. It really helps with keeping the losses down.

    Do you have a situation there where you can lock them up at night? It's my understanding that predators usually strike at night. Except for hawks of course. I've lost three chickens in two years to a predator that I've never seen. Two were lost in the morning, so I stopped letting them out in the early morning. One was lost at night because he didn't get locked in the coop.

    I don't think it's cruel as long as they get to free range a bit during the day, or, if you prefer never to let them out, as long as you have a nice big run with some interesting things for them to roost on and scratch at, that's probably OK. I do love to let mine free range though. You are right, they're much happier.

    You take care and don't give up on the chickens. (HUG)

  4. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Sounds like a fox or coyote to me. I keep mine in a secure run during the day and only allow them to free range a couple days a week and hour or two before its time for them to go to roost and only when I can stay outside with them. I have too many predators (wild and domestic) to allow them to range unattended.

    As for your birds that are favorites....I dont think its cruel at all for you keep them in a secure smaller pen. I would consider it cruel to you if you allow them to range when you know they are going to be taken sooner or later. You know it is going to hurt if you go out only to find them missing, when you knew you had a secure pen for them ready to go.

    Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do.
  5. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    Oh, one other idea...you might want to look into getting one of those mesh electric fences that can be set up and taken down. I know a lot of people use them with great success and they can be moved from area to area assuring your chickens always have fresh grass to graze on without the worry of ground base attacks. I know a lot of people on here use them, maybe they can give you some insight how well they work.
  6. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    Beekissed: My mom thnks part of the problem is that we have a Border Collie and he herds the chickens around all day long, he never really hurts them just kind of annoys them. So the chickens aren't really afraid of the dogs. We used to have a huge anatolian ( SP??? ) shepard and he would roam around our ranch at night .. never lost any chickens with him around! He would rip anything to peices if they came near the house! Sadly we think a Mt. Lion got him or something.

    chicmom: At night my older chickens go to the roost pretty early. My younger chickens stay outside till it is dark outside, even then there is always one still out I have to chase down. Here I have seen 2 coyotes come up to the barn ( which is right by the house ) while I was feeding the chickens mind you and they just sat down and stared at me ... I was screaming at them and they were just looking at me! [​IMG]
    I have also seen a Bobcat sitting in the tree in the chickenyard at broad daylight. The wild aniamls around here aren't really what I consider "Night Aniamls."
    So you think I could lock up my favorite ones and it wouldn't be too cruel? I'd spoil'em to death!

    Lbrad7: What I figure is happening is what ever is killing my chickens is just waiting for them out in the pasture and when they go out during the day he just nabbs one! I have heard of the electric fences .... I might want to add one of those to my wish list. [​IMG]
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    They say that the electric poultry netting can stop a bear, so it sounds pretty good.
  8. woolychicken

    woolychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 3, 2009
    mesick michigan
    OH how i know this story.
    this summer i too had a few birds missing here and there and you guess it FOXES!!!!!!!! [​IMG]
    rotten things so i went with my hens and sat out with them in the feild as they ran free. i just had told muade one of my hens she better get on this side of the fence and yup THE FOX!! had her in its mouth!! i yell and we looked eye to eye and he dropped her she lives just a stratch. but YES i would like nothing more then a few tail hagging over my hen house stating
    CHICKEN 5 vs FOXES 0
    we have had many people tell us they have seen the fox in front of our house with it pups playing in the road .
    they also got my daughter rabbit thru the cage. skinned some of the fur off on one side of her rex doe . she made it but she has had to move them close to the house with a spot light on all night, she lives next door . not sure what to do either.
  9. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with the electric fence since you have so many high level predators around. I feel for you. I only have 5 chickens and I'm attached to each one. It must be a heartbreaking thing for you.[​IMG]
  10. Mrs. Fluffy Puffy

    Mrs. Fluffy Puffy Fluffy Feather Farm

    Jan 26, 2010
    Texas, Panhandle
    Ugh, I have only seen 1 fox around here. Cats, Bobcats, coyotes and racoon are the main pest round here!

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