Run or free range?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by SandraMort, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. SandraMort

    SandraMort Songster

    Jul 7, 2008
    I moved to a lovely rented 8 acre property in the country and am fortunate to have a landlady who actually prefers me to free range my chickens in order to keep the deer ticks under check. This week, we've lost two chickens to hawks and I'm having second thoughts.

    I don't know if I can afford to fence in an area big enough so they can roam and be happy and eat grass without leaving the ground bare and dead. But I also don't want to have mister fat happy hawk coming for frequent meals and revolting my children, who found the first batch of entrails.

    I don't know what to do!!! I'm doing this so I can take good care of my birds!
  2. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    I live also out in the country, but I never let my chicken free range without one of us ( my wife or me) being close by because of the foxes , Halks , etc,
    I would recomend Run and free ranging that way they have thier freedom and you still can go to do your things with out wooring about your birds.
    you can check my page below and see my coop.
    thank you
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    A chicken tractor comes to mind...maybe even a couple of them! They don't have to be elaborately constructed things....just something that will allow you to free range without losing a bird. Other than that, maybe a good dog would come in handy...mine keeps the hawks away as well as other predators. Also might want to have several "hides" where they can run when the rooster gives a distress call. Pallets up on blocks work well.
  4. gottaknit

    gottaknit In the Brooder

    May 28, 2008
    Two words: chicken tractor! [​IMG]
  5. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I have just started free ranging. It's more for excersize, not food.

    I stay out there with them for an hour or so and keep an eye on them. I also have my bb gun in hand in case a critter comes around. Just enough to scare it off.

    Then I put cracked corn in the feeders which tends to make enough noice that they all hear it drop into the feeders and they come running for eats.

    Works out well for me so far.

    I know the longer I range them the further they travel and I want to make sure they are not on my neighbors property, so and hour or so is enough.
  6. NMbirds

    NMbirds Songster

    Aug 17, 2008
    Abiquiu, New Mexico
    I agree with the chicken tractor idea. Another thought is just a possibility and I don't know if anyone has ever had success with this notion and it may be crazy. BUT, has anyone ever trained or had a "guard dog" with their free range chickens? It works with other animals ( sheep, cattle, goats, etc) so why not chickens?
    Just wondering and since I have two dogs, have been thinking of the possibilities since we have hawks, coyotes and other predators. Good luck!
  7. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Songster

    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    I have a tractor, but 95% of the time just free range. What is the property like? I have lots of small trees and two dogs that are often out. I'm actually a little surprised that I've had no issues yet. They have free ranged for about 4 months now. If you have a coup already and it's just hawk problems, I'd consider a big simple tractor made with 2X2s and chicken wire. You don't even need to use chicken wire on the top. Just strands of wire will work. Use the tractor just when you're not around.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Quote:Have em and it works out very predation yet and have been doing this for 3 years.

  9. Clay In Iowa

    Clay In Iowa Songster

    Oct 9, 2008
    Near Wilton Iowa

    Hmmmm....... salmon Caviar ... sushi and fish roe.... [​IMG]

    Anyway I'm considering free ranging my birds... sort of.. They'll be ranged with in movable fencing to protect them. But they will have fresh range at leat once a week and free ranged most week ends.
  10. Renee

    Renee Songster

    May 7, 2008
    Beekissed, how do you keep those chickens out of your beautiful vegetable garden? Don't tell me your dogs do that for you too!

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