Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The cost of free ranging

I love having our chickens being completely free ranged. We have them on a 2 acre pasture surrounded by woods. They love to scratch around underneath the tree's for bugs and worms. I even seen them catch mice (Gross) They are truly very happy chickens.

Lately we have been noticing a major decline in our egg production. We went from gathering around 40 eggs a day and within a month drop down to around 20! What was going on we wondered! Maybe it was the feed. So we switched to a higher protein feed and started feeding them black oil sunflower seeds. Still nothing.

No signs of anything wrong, No dead chickens...nothing.
Finally brad noticed one morning when going to open the coop up for the day, A bird hanging out of the crack in the coop door, Something tried dragging out one of the hens. It was dead and stuck. We looked around the coop and found scratch marks going up the sides of the coop! Something had climbed up into the rafters and had been getting our hens.
We figured it must have been a coon? And had been killing at least a hen a night. We were so shocked! We had no signs of anything being killed at all!

So brad spent an hour putting wire along the rafters of the coop in the front and back. It was another learning experience,They will find a way in!!

The bad thing about this pasture is our dogs cannot roam in it because the fencing is this pasture needs completely redone. However we did get one pasture finished and the dogs are finally out roaming the property. Hopefully their distant barks will keep critters away!


  1. Hi, I'm visiting from Brenda's Welcome Wagon, so nice to meet you! Your blog is going to be so interesting, love to live the farm life vicariously through those who really do!

    Redo 101

  2. I live on the edge of town in a subdivision and have 5 chickens and a rooster. I've lost chickens to raccoons and a bobcat! It is a constant battle. Now if I can keep the squirrels out of my peach tree!

  3. Thank you Mary and Lorilee for stopping by!

    Yes it is a constant battle Lorilee! We haven't lost any for awhile now though. We go out and open the coop up first thing in the mourning and close it up before sunset, That seemed to fix the problem Thankfully!