Help! 4 lovely ladies just moved in, coop and all - Page 9
 
 

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Help! 4 lovely ladies just moved in, coop and all

This is a discussion on Help! 4 lovely ladies just moved in, coop and all within the Farm Animals forums, part of the Farm Forum category

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        02-25-2013, 11:09 AM
      #81
    Started
    You just need to find the balance between free ranging them, the "cost" associated with it and the benefits. My main purpose of having chickens is to reduce my grasshopper population or else they wipe out my gargen. If they are going to control the bugs, they have to be out. At the start, I did turn them out when I was not home but that quickly changed when 3 went missing the same day. I built a pen and that worked for a few months until they got strong enough to fly out of the pen. Another one went missing than I got serious and covered the pen. They do get out most every day even if it's only for 20 mins right before dark but only when I'm home. Predators are going to hang back if you're out and the dogs are running around. Knowing the patterns of your predators is helpful too. My main problem is coyotes and they tend to hunt in my pastures in the afternoon so that's when I have to be aware of where the girls are and if the dogs are with me or with the chickens.

    Your day pen looks perfect.
    egrogan likes this.
         
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        02-25-2013, 11:13 AM
      #82
    Green Broke
    I think that is a darn fine looking run.

    I let my little flock free range and they are truly in their element when they are out in the farmyard doing their chicken thing. However, tragedy has struck in the past similar to your incident at our place so now, if we're out of the yard (whether we're in the field or off to town) the chickens stay in their run. It seems to be a compromise that is working so far for all parties concerned - they're staying safe but they still get "turn out" time and I don't have missing birds.
    egrogan likes this.
         
        02-25-2013, 12:29 PM
      #83
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chevaux    
    \I let my little flock free range and they are truly in their element when they are out in the farmyard doing their chicken thing. However, tragedy has struck in the past similar to your incident at our place so now, if we're out of the yard (whether we're in the field or off to town) the chickens stay in their run. It seems to be a compromise that is working so far for all parties concerned
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Left Hand Percherons    
    You just need to find the balance between free ranging them, the "cost" associated with it and the benefits.
    Thanks to both of you- this is so logical, I'm not sure why I was thinking it had to be an all or nothing thing. I like the idea of letting them out when I'm out there gardening (I am DREAMING of a warm spring day when I can get out in the garden!!), but being more diligent about keeping them penned when I'm not around. It really does make a lot of sense.
         
        02-25-2013, 12:35 PM
      #84
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by egrogan    
    I am DREAMING of a warm spring day when I can get out in the garden!!
    So are they. It's like a treasure hunt for them when they "help".
    egrogan likes this.
         
        02-25-2013, 04:39 PM
      #85
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by egrogan    
    I so appreciate hearing the different perspectives on this free ranging issue. I'm really conflicted about what to do in the future.

    ........ On the other, DA, I think what you're saying is that you feel guilty keeping them penned up all the time and have decided that losing one is the price for letting them range around (forgive me if I've mistated what either of you were saying).
    Nope, you've got my sentiments right on. My run is not big enough to keep 30+ hens in full time and I knew that when I built it. It's strictly for really bad weather and if I know a predator is prowling near by. So, if I do keep them in, I feel pretty guilty and they definitely let me know they are not happy about it. They all pile up right in front of the door to the run and squawk and chortle and generally tell me all about their "jail" time.

    When I buy day old chicks to replenish the flock I always buy with about a 20% loss ratio factored in. So, if I want 30-40 hens total, and if I was starting from scratch, I'd buy 50 or even more because I know I'll lose some in shipping and because they don't do well once they arrive. The last time I bought a large number, I bought 75 and I'm down to about 35 now, 1 year later. That's about the right number. I've only lost a couple to predators and mishaps, the shipping this time was what really accounted for a lot of the loss.

    While I love them and enjoy their silly antics, chickens are not the smartest of all God's creatures. They find ways to die even when predators aren't involved. They can get sick, egg bound, sour crop, prolapsed rectums....or just fall over dead on occasion for no apparent reason. I've had a couple fall into the horse stock tanks and drown. Why? Because they could. They always have LOTS of fresh water, for some reason that day the horse's water looked better than theirs and they flew up to the rim of the 150 gallon stock tanks I have and fell in. Unfortunately, I wasn't outside right then, so couldn't play lifeguard. I have done in the past, seen one go in and run and fished her out. Once their feathers get sodden that's it, they can't get out of a big tank like that on their own.

    So my advice to you is........get a whole bunch more chickens to watch after. It will keep you from feeling the loss of 1 hen so severely. It won't make you heartless about it, it still hurts but not like if she was only 1 of 4, then you really see the empty spot on the roost. I'm sure Irma enjoyed her "New Orleans Funeral", I hope somebody plays some good jazz for me when I go!
    egrogan and Celeste like this.
         
        02-26-2013, 08:21 AM
      #86
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
    ...then you really see the empty spot on the roost.
    This is so true. The barred rocks were "bookends" for the Rhode Island Reds on the roost. Now our symmetry is all off!!

    Chick days at our tack/feed store start at the end of March, but I'm already working on convincing my husband we need more while he's still a little vulnerable
    Celeste likes this.
         
        02-26-2013, 09:52 AM
      #87
    Trained
    I would sure pay the 25 cents extra each and buy all pullets.
         
        02-26-2013, 10:06 AM
      #88
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Celeste    
    I would sure pay the 25 cents extra each and buy all pullets.
    Yes, good suggestion. I will have to see what the options are, but I'm sure this is possible for at least some of the breeds I'm considering.
         
        02-26-2013, 11:53 AM
      #89
    Yearling
    One of the girls laid down a doozy today- I'm thinking Billie, the remaining Barred Rock, based on egg color. They all usually lay nice, large eggs, but this thing was so big I couldn't fit it in a carton and still close the lid. It was easily twice the size of what we usually get. I don't have an egg scale, but this thing is gigantic!

    Is there something environmental that would make the size vary, or is it just a fluke?
    Attached Images
    File Type: jpg Billie's big day.jpg (21.6 KB, 11 views)
         
        02-26-2013, 01:34 PM
      #90
    Green Broke
    I've had the 'wow' eggs on occasion also. It might be a double yoker - that's what I get with the big uns. For me, I'd say it happens once or twice a year, typically during the first half of the laying season. I always thought it occurred because of hormone changes (or something like that) in the hen so she'd drop two from her ovaries instead of the normal one but I have no scientific evidence to back this thought up. Either way, on behalf of the hen - ouch!
         

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