Supervised free range? Does it work to prevent predators?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by MydearWatson, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. MydearWatson

    MydearWatson Chirping

    Sep 20, 2010
    I am hoping to let my hens out of the coop when I am in the yard with them. They wont be alone outside without me there. I have a fenced in yard so the only predator I really worry about is hawks. Obviously I will keep an eye to the sky but is this enough to prevent one from getting taken?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  2. ellieroo

    ellieroo Songster

    Mar 22, 2008
    If you are there they will be fine mine free range over acres and until this spring I had lost only 2 birds in 12 yrs! If you dig in the dirt they will come esp if you are good bug/worm finder [​IMG]
  3. patvetzal

    patvetzal Songster

    Aug 12, 2008
    Bancroft, Ontario
    Ours free range all day a lot of the time and over the past 4-5 years we lost one to a hawk (I think). It was a little brown hen about the size of a partridge (we live in partridge bush) and was killed while in the run. I also spotted a fisher eyeballing them (also in the run)one day but it ran before I could find a gun.
    We have fox, mink, otters, peregrine falcons and raccoons in the area but no problems from them so far...[​IMG]
    If a hawk swoops, you probably won't be quick enough to do much....
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  4. dewey

    dewey Songster

    Nov 9, 2010
    north of eternity
    [​IMG] Unfortunately, hawks are quick opportunists and they don't mind if you're standing just a few away.
  5. Mattemma

    Mattemma Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    I usually stay with my hens. The moment I stepped away the hawk swooped down on the netted run. You have to stay pretty close and unfortunately the hens will scatter if a hawk comes at them. You won't know where to run. Still,being out there is better than nothing.
  6. britsngrits

    britsngrits In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    I used to have a hawk problem. Back when I did, I noticed that if my bird dog was allowed to be outside with the chickens the hawks wouldn't go near them. That was my experience. I have accepted the fact that if I allow mine to free range that there will be some loss for those that don't stick close to the roosters. My little banty rooster is very on the ball and he even gives the all clear to the other 2 roosters in the flock. I have noticed that when I walk down to the coop in the mornings they come piling out of the door eager to start their daily commute to the field. After watching them I can't imagine taking it away!
  7. neverbdone

    neverbdone Songster

    Dec 9, 2008
    Lake Isabella, CA
    I free range when I am home and can watch and have the dogs close. They are trained to chase everything except my hens and ducks. However, I also expect some loss. Worst year was a bobcat that would take a full grown hen on the run right in front of me and the dogs. The yotes around here are pretty dumb when we are around and usually have only managed to get a mouth full of tail feathers a time or two. Never had a hawk problem (yet). I think they stay away because of the dogs mostly. I'd still give them their freedom. I can't imagine having the girls locked up full time.
  8. montanachickie

    montanachickie Hatching

    Oct 5, 2010
    I have started to sit in the yard with my hens. We had a fox get into the fenced yard and kill 8 of my hens and injured one. We are now going to run an electric fence around the other fence. So sad [​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by