Today we wanted to tell you about a flying-predator deterrent method we are trying out with our chickens, so that they can happily free range, with less risk. It’s not guaranteed prevention to protect our flock, by any means. But designed to merely be a deterrent; to discourage hawks and other flying predators from attempting to fly down and get our chickens.
We had always originally planned to allow our flock to free-range wherever they pleased, when we got chickens. But that intention all changed one day, when our oldest was sitting at the sun room table, eating her lunch, and watching the little birds happily eating at the bird feeder, just a few yards outside of our slider glass door. As she watched, a hawk came down in one fell-swoop, and grabbed a little feeding birdie, right off the feeder! It happened so fast, and left her in such shock and so upset, she could hardly speak at first. Soon, all of the kids were all upset, over the tale she told. We needed a new plan.
We got our chickens as one day old chicks, in July 2014. They grew up, in size and maturity, in their ample-sized, predator proof (for sure!) chicken run, attached to their predator-proof (for sure!) coop. Most every day while they were young through the Fall, they got to come out of their run with the kids or us adults, and free range under our supervision. The chickens also get lots of ‘one-on-one’ time and attention from our kids; being carried around, brought out front to meander, carried inside the house for a visit, etc.
The winter season that followed, the chickens’ first cold season, was a brutal one. Free-ranging was not even an option, since they’d have immediately gotten lost in the snow several feet over their little heads. The temperatures were detrimental, as well. But their run was protected with a canvas over the top, and that seemed to keep most of the snow out enough for them to venture out within that area. The inside of the coop was on a temp regulator, so it never fell below 38 degrees or so. They can actually handle much colder temperatures but, we’d feel bad anyway, and we also were trying to keep their water from freezing. So they went in for a spell throughout the days, whenever they felt the need to warm up, or lay an egg.
Spring finally arrived, and we definitely wanted them to be able to free-range on their own, throughout the day! As we had always planned. So it was time to devise a plan to try and keep our chickens somewhat protected, so they could come out of their run and have the freedom to roam, all throughout the daytime. As chickens love to do! We want our chickens alive and happy, if we can possibly help it.
So first, my husband, Michael, and I agreed that [Read more…]