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Old 02-08-2013, 05:44 AM   #1
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Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

A predator got to my flock last night (was home alone with two sick kids, couldn't lock them up before dark). Out of the five that we had, we could only find two - both were terrified of going anywhere near the coop. We got one into the coop for the night, and another into the basement brooder.

This morning, another lady and my roo came from out of the woods, so we're only missing one.

I really want to keep them in their coop for a few days, so that whatever is snacking on them will lose interest (we lost one last week, too). But right now, they're out foraging and doing their chicken thing.

We're expecting about 2 ft of snow to get dumped on us today. Is there any chance they will go inside the coop early because of the snow? Or do I have to spend my day chasing them down to put them inside? Oh man, that will be a project...

I need advice!

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Old 02-08-2013, 07:08 AM   #2
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

I'm surprised they don't come home when the sun starts to set. Are you sure there is a predator or are they just getting lost once it gets dark? They could appear scared because they can't see in the dark. Do you have a light in their coop?
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:31 AM   #3
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

Their coop is pretty small, so I don't usually put a light in it. But I did for today, since I am hoping to keep them in all day.

I am pretty sure it was a predator, because my roo's feathers are busted up. He looks like he was in some kind of a scuffle.

They usually do come home at night, but I wonder if someone poked into the coop last night (since I hadn't gone out to lock it up yet).

At any rate, I just want them in for the storm. Hoping they'll come in soon!
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:23 AM   #4
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

We can't free range because we're in town so our hens are in their pen with the coop. They do usually come in when it starts to get rough, hopefully yours will too! We had bad winds (30mph, -10*) a couple of weeks ago and my young male cat did not want to come in at night, worried me so bad.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:50 AM   #5
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

I'm so sorry about your flock. I answered in the other thread but if I had any feelings they wouldn't come in on their own I'd just put them up myself. If you get in the habit of tossing a treat in there at dusk they'll learn to come on their own looking for goodies.
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:06 AM   #6
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

They are IN!!!

When it snows, I usually put a tarp over the coop and run (well, what's left of the run). I set out the tarp, and just waited them out.

It took SEVERAL tries (every time I went out to close the door, they ran out, looking for more treats!). But they are finally safe and sound inside. I then took a really BIG tarp, and laid that over a much bigger area that covers the coop and run. This will make post-storm cleanup much easier.

I just feel better now, knowing that there is a barrier between them and the hungry coyotes.

Now I'm second guessing my free-ranging. I can't believe I lost two chickens in one week!
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:24 PM   #7
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

You may have to do a modified free range, that's what I do. The hawks around here are ruthless. One tried to take one of my speckled sussexes right from my feet!
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:20 AM   #8
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

Glad they came in... ours put themselves to bed before any storms, usually, although they tend to sit under our evergreens when it rains... & they get soaked . The tarp is a fab idea... it probably encourages them to come out of the actual coop... going to ask DH about doing that so the girls can still meander a bit when it snows.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:01 PM   #9
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

Sounds like you have a good roo and he was trying to protect his ladies. I agree that you may have to do a modified free range. We can't let our girls free range, we live in town, They have a large run they have access to everyday.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:24 PM   #10
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Re: Chicken Experts! I Need Help!

So, what exactly does "modified free range" mean? Just letting them out when I'm outside, too?

I'm exploring my options right now. Unfortunately, we are stuck without a run until next month or so. I am making sure to be extra diligent about getting them locked up before dark.

And yes, my little roo is a good boy. He protects his girls fiercely, and is always watching out for them. <3 I'm SO glad he's OK!
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