What can Protect My Free Range Hens?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Whittni, Aug 5, 2011.

  1. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    So soon I'm putting up a 5 ft tall chain-link fence for all of my chickens to free range in. Its going on an acre of land. Its going to be open on the top since there's so much area...could some goats, sheep or any smaller farm animal that's not a dog or a something big like a llama protect them from hawks or aerial predators? I live in the desert so there aren't many trees to protect them from hawks...I can get goats or sheep for sure, if that would keep my flock from any losses.


    Edit: I can get 3 white leghorn roosters from the animal shelter right now, if that is going to help... I have a big flock though, 1 RIR rooster, 4 RIR hens. 1 Rosecomb bantam Rooster, 1 rosecomb bantam Hen. 1 White Leghorn Rooster, 2 White Leghorn Hens, 1 barred rock,2 Barred Rock Hens, 1 Buff Orpington Hen, 3 Polish hens and 6 straitrun babies (listed breeds of all chickens in my signature). So are there enough roosters to keep them all safe? I'm also into the idea of llama but I can't really get something like that...I could get some goats though....could those help, they can be big or small I am surrounded by goat breeders.

    Edit Edit: Someone had the idea with the Guinea Fowl...I used to have three of them but I got rid of them...I could happily get some more of them if they would HELP keep the flock safe. How many would be appropriate for my flock?
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:So, plant some in your future Chicken Run area. You can plant them in cages to prevent the chickens eating them. I recommend fruit trees suitable for your climate. See my BYC page for pics of my setup with Illinois Everbearing Mulberry trees in the run, it really helps out with food, shade and temperture control. My chickens have done fine this summer in the 100+ degree heat.
     
  3. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    donkey, lama. [​IMG] [​IMG] opps misspelled Llama.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2011
  4. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Quote:Hawks are a tough one. Llamas are definitely the pet of choice for land-traveling animals like coyotes and wolves. I heard a story last week from a cow farmer up the street who told me about a friend of his who was losing cattle to coyotes. The farmer borrowed a llama from someone and the very NEXT morning, he awoke to a pasture scatterd with coyote carcasses! That's my kind of night watchman!

    Probably the best you can do on a parcel of land that size would be to provide them with plenty of places to duck and cover. Loss to hawks is a given when you free range (I know from experience) but you can limit the losses by providing the girls with a way to defend themselves (ie: by hiding).

    Some people recommend a dog as hawk protection. I have no first hand knowledge to share in that regard, but it's definitely something that is worth researching!
     
  5. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    My dogs have really protected my chickens from all sorts of wild animals...when I see something out there I let the dogs out (boxer and choc lab) and they tear off after it and chase it FAR into the woods. Even chase chicken hawks away [​IMG] They HAVE come home smelling like skunk once though [​IMG]
     
  6. WillieBoy

    WillieBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When it comes to freeranging, their is always a predator that will climb or jump your 5ft fence, coyotes, foxes, etc.As you mentioned, hawks as well with no overhead protection.You may have little problems for awhile, but some hungry critter will find your birds sooner or later.Free ranging birds suffer more losses in most cases,than other methods, IMO...Good luck.....
     
  7. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Quote:[​IMG]
     
  8. hcppam

    hcppam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Hawks are a tough one. Llamas are definitely the pet of choice for land-traveling animals like coyotes and wolves. I heard a story last week from a cow farmer up the street who told me about a friend of his who was losing cattle to coyotes. The farmer borrowed a llama from someone and the very NEXT morning, he awoke to a pasture scatterd with coyote carcasses! That's my kind of night watchman!

    Probably the best you can do on a parcel of land that size would be to provide them with plenty of places to duck and cover. Loss to hawks is a given when you free range (I know from experience) but you can limit the losses by providing the girls with a way to defend themselves (ie: by hiding).

    Some people recommend a dog as hawk protection. I have no first hand knowledge to share in that regard, but it's definitely something that is worth researching!

    yes, they need some places to hide, even if you build some hide outs.
     
  9. Barn Maid Ann

    Barn Maid Ann Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A big rooster will help with hawks, too. I never lost a hen to hawks when I have had roosters. They may get beat up, but the roosters will fight them off in the end.
    I free range my chickens. Have done so for several years. We have actually saved a couple of hens from hawks in the act of denuding them. And, as I said, since I've had roosters, I have never lost one to a hawk. But coyotes are my biggest problem. Even though mine go in the coop and it is locked up tight at night, we've had the rare morning, or late evening attack. We have lost a hen here and there, over the years. Two at one time, at the very most, up til now. But I took my worst assault the other day. My husband, who is normally home during the day, is out of town. So I came home from work at 4:30 PM and found feathers all over my yard, barnyard, and pasture. I was just sickened as I scanned the scene. All but one of my mature egg layers were gone. And several of the 16 week olds that I lovingly raised all summer. A dozen total. It had to be a huge pack of coyotes...

    Still grieving. And not letting the survivors free range until I get home from work now. Til DH gets back, anyway.
     
  10. nzpouter

    nzpouter Chillin' With My Peeps

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    you can't beat well trained dogs if you want to reduce predator numbers...
     

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