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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok guys. I lost one. :(

So I open the gate to the run every morning and the ladies have free range of the back yard. On 2 sides is 6 ft privacy fence. Othwr 2 sides is welded wire fence and barbed wire that is thebcow pasture. My parents used to keep the fenceline clear and. But somewhere in the last 5 years or so my dad decided to let it go and now there arw lots of evergreens some 15 ft tall maybe more. Its pretty thick.

Well it was under one of these evergreens where something got her looks like it teied to pull her through the pasture fence. There was a tuft of fur too. Wirey and gold and matted. We found her when we came home and found the othee 5 squaking under the back deck. They couldnt have gone in the coop because the door was shut from ke trying tonkeep them laying in the outside boxes.

Dh spent the rest of the day clearing all the branches on the fenceline to as high as he could reach without a ladder. The cows keep the other side pretty clear since they love to graze as close as they can to it lol. So now I have a clear sight everywhere along the fence from the deck .

Its our first loss. I still dont want to keep them locked up all the time though. Since I plan on culling every 3 years I am not attached to them like pets but I do what their short lives to be happy.

How often do those of you that free range lose one to a predator? How do you deter predators? Should I be worried about it coming back for more? This was in the middle of the day. I also have a big dog but he is in the house a lot of the time.


Im checking the fenceline like once an hour since then but havent seen anything suspicious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I lost a hen a few weeks ago, but not to a predator, though I have had that happen too. The predators who wish to dine on my hens often gets lead poisoning.
DH said he was going to put a gun at the back door. But. We have a 3 year old. Also my dh is a city boy and even though weve been hunting ive never seen him shoot. Im afraid hed hit a cow. With 80 acres to graze it seems the only place they wany to be is arpund out back yard lol.
 

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I understand that completely. Can he practice with a safe backstop and no one around?

We are avid shooters and I hunt on our property each year. The very fortunate thing for me is my husband is a competative shooter so his aim is true.
 

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Losses are always tough, and hard to deal with. I'm sorry you've experienced this. At some point, it happens to all who own livestock of any kind. :(
 
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It's a trade-off if you are going to free range. At least it sounds like you have a pretty well fenced yard to keep the big predators out.

In the long run (I've kept chickens for 50+ years) - chickens come, and chickens go. They have a purpose, they aren't pets, and their lives are sometimes short. Yes, it's up to us to try to keep them safe, healthy and happy the best way we can, but all the world loves a chicken dinner. My solution in the end has always been to keep them in a secure, tight-fenced, wire-topped hen-yard. I don't keep them to feed the foxes, bobcats, *****, weasels, mink and hawks.
 

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I no longer have chickens. Couple of weeks ago the neighbors dog got one. They are maybe a quarter mile away. That must have spooked the last one which flew over the 5 foot high chain link fence for my back yard. My new GSD got it. The chickens stayed out of the back yard. Will be time to get some more in a few more weeks. Then I can watch for no shoulders since the rattlesnakes seem to get active around St Patrick's Day.
 

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Free ranging chickens are pretty smart about staying out of the open where the hawks can spot them as long as they have some shrubs or trees for easy cover--If your messy fence line was their only source of cover, that's why they spend time there.

Birds of prey are the usual day-light predators for hens. Varmints tend to hunt as the sun goes down or at night. Cats don't usually mess with chickens, but dogs' behavior can be variable- some are too lazy to chase but others can purposely or accidently do some harm.

Free-ranging your birds is an attempt to be more natural. Natural means becoming part of the food web.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
We have a lot of trees and shrubs in the yard plus the overhang on the side of the barn and under the deck they like too. They like to hang out under the umbrella trees and a few weeping mulberries.

"Free-ranging your birds is an attempt to be more natural. Natural means becoming part of the food web."

This is where I'm at. I do want to minimize the risk but i know I can't 100% prevent it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oops that was a reply to you sorry.
Free ranging chickens are pretty smart about staying out of the open where the hawks can spot them as long as they have some shrubs or trees for easy cover--If your messy fence line was their only source of cover, that's why they spend time there.

Birds of prey are the usual day-light predators for hens. Varmints tend to hunt as the sun goes down or at night. Cats don't usually mess with chickens, but dogs' behavior can be variable- some are too lazy to chase but others can purposely or accidently do some harm.

Free-ranging your birds is an attempt to be more natural. Natural means becoming part of the food web.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If only they didn't taste like chicken! We've lost a few to various predators over the years. Keep them locked up at night and our dog is protective of them during the day.
Yep. We secure the coop every night.

If only I could teach my dog to stay outside all day. He has to be where we are. He is good around the chickens though. He doesnt chase them or anything. They are just part of the pack.
 
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