silly question about avoiding birds being killed by predators..

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by mdunbar12, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. mdunbar12

    mdunbar12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2013
    Central Massachusetts
    Some of the people i've talked to have said that theyve gotten up in the morning only to find some of their birds have been attacked in the middle of the night by something.. I thought it was common practice to keep hens locked up in their coop at night? I mean I live WAY out in the middle of nowhere and even though there is a lot of wildlife (i.e. fox, bear, bobcat etc) I never have any problems. My husband said thats because i "put mine to bed" and he thinks maybe others leave their hens to come and go from the coop at will... does anyone actually do that??

    (hey you were warned it was silly! but now hes got me curious!)
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    A lot of times when people say that it means something got into the coop and killed the chickens. Most people do seem to have their chickens in coops that they close, but find out that their coop was not as predator proof as they though it was. Of course some do leave the coops open or just have the chickens roosting where ever and are lucky for awhile, but that tends to run you short on chickens pretty fast unless you have some other means of predator control to keep the chickens safe at night. ie, I don't lock most of my chickens up, but we are fenced and have large dogs in the yard.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    A large part of my birds like those kept by others are not in locked pens at night. For some folks that is doable if they have ways of keeping predators away, Not everyone keeps the predators away which part of cause for losses. Another factor is with people that do lock up their birds, The lockup is often poorly designed for keeping predators from getting at birds. Also, some people simply forget to lock up when design is otherwise adequate. I had to go out at 2:00 AM to close a pen door because I forgot. Mind you I have dogs running at night but the door is back up.

    The real peeve for me is that we do not wakeup and check on birds when they are screaming bloody murder, They are seldom quite. I can hear from my bedroom window the neighbors chickens 1/8 mile away when a raccoon gets into them. More communication with birds is needed. Dogs that bark only when their is trouble helps greatly. Dogs that bark all the time are not much better than no dogs at all, especially if dogs are not able to deal with problem themselves.
     
  4. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2013
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    My Coop
    Hi There,

    I would just add that there are so many different ways people choose to "manage" their chickens. For example, me and my 2 neighbors all keep chickens. We all live about a mile from each other. We also all live in the middle of many thousands of acres of forest in the middle of nowhere in southern Kentucky. So, we all have the same set of predators that want to eat our chickens! I like to imagine them going from farm to farm, trying to get at each of our chickens in turn! We all free range during the day. We all have dogs. But that is where the similarities stop. Here's the 3 different ways we manage our chickens:

    1. Mine: I free range during the day and have 3 dogs. My 3 dogs are inside/outside dogs. The dogs stay outside for the better part of the day but sleep inside. My barn and chickens are about 1/4 of a mile from my house and I can't see it from the house. So, unfortunately, my dogs are not always with my chickens during the day as they tend to stay wherever I am. If I'm at the house, my dogs are too. If I'm at the barn, they are too. The dogs are pretty good at running everything off that comes in the area which is very helpful. One of the dogs is an Anatolian Shepherd guard dog and he's AWESOME at running the woods regularly to check for predators. I have a predator proof (as much as I could make it) coop that I lock the chickens in religiously every night. See my "My Coop" link under my name for details on how we built it with predator deterrent features in mind. So, the point of this is my biggest predator risk is during the day, especially early morning or late evening.

    2. Neighbor 1: He free ranges during the day and has 2 dogs. At night, he has a very insecure coop where he sometimes locks the chickens and sometimes, leaves the door wide open. His coop is close to his house, within sight of it. His advantage is he has 2 Pyrenees dogs that stay out all day and night so they keep the predators away. He did have a snake take 5 of his 6 chicks recently but hardly any coop is snake proof.

    3. Neighbor 2: She free ranges during the day and has 3 dogs. She has no coop, nothing. The chickens just run around and roost in the trees. She has 3 dogs that I believe stay out all night and day. She said the other day "Something keeps getting my chickens." In general, she seems at ease with the loses and seems to accept the losses as part of the trade off with the ease she has of having chickens.

    I guess my point is just to share that people are different and do things their own way with a different combination of factors and risk tolerance. I'm not really sure it's "common practice to keep hens locked up in their coop at night." It may be more common for people who participate and post in this forum to lock their chickens up at night. But if I were to guess, I'd say many, many people who keep chickens on rural farms do not secure their chickens at night. They may not have runs or fences either. Just a different way of doing it.

    Guppy
     
  5. mdunbar12

    mdunbar12 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 10, 2013
    Central Massachusetts
    ok... well thanks to all of you for responding...I have learned a lot since I first started with chickens 2 months ago, and i continue to learn from you all every day. I am crazy OCD and i have to make sure everything is in its place. So checking in on the chickens every night at the same time and making sure every one is tucked in is just my way. Thats probably why I assumed everyone locked up their birds. But now I realize that there are many ways to doing it, its just what works for you. Again, thanks for the replies!
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    OCD is great as far as your charges are concerned. It primes you for vigilance with respect to spotting problems and increases odd you will be consistent in the care of your birds. Consistency does wanders with respect to quality of life for animals in confinement and otherwise dependent upon us.
     

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