free chickens on the land

free chickens on the land

Postby Freeman Stephen » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:55 pm

i now have a big cock :blush: and two hens. i want them to be free chicken beings except when its lunch time for foxes. so when i let them out the box, will they stick around or do i put them straight in the run?
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby huntingross » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Straight in the run.

I have had ducks, geese, chickens and peacocks (in great numbers at some points in time) and the fox always wins eventually....it is a game of attrition.

If you want to increase your stock, keep the cock, otherwise move him on....they eat food for little other benefit.

Heras fencing makes an excellent "A" frame which keeps the fox out.....one on the floor, two slopes and one at each end.
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby kevin » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:14 pm

never underestimate the fox, they are very strong, very determined, very crafty and alway looking to kill all it can, it will kill all of them in one go given the chance!!
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby hurn » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:05 am

catch em foxes m8 and use the fur to make yourself some fox fur boots and if you get enough make a vest ..
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby Freeman Stephen » Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:02 am

:clap: a vest! i look strange enough being in the middle of a bunch of fields without roads. maybe a hat.

orchy the adventutpus hen, fiesty the inqiisitive hen and mr fluffy (rocket the rooster) are 16weeks old and have lived in a cage or box all that time being fed pellets, scraps and grain treats with little forage opportunity. i want them to forage more but they are afraid to leave the shelter unless i act as lookout - during the day there are no predators. they are amazed to realise where grain comes from as i open up seed pods that dont look like food and pop out/split out seeds which they are very happy to eat. i have sea shells for calcarious grit and i mine hard stones from the small bit of land north of the stream which is the only part of the land with stone accessible from the surface so far as im aware.. they like young heather which theres loads of and their favourite forage is a particular weed i know but cant identify yet.

they will eat anything green and anything with six legs they can catch, apart from ants which they unfortunately ignore. they turn their noses up at slugs and i dont blame them but then i dont piss in my feeding tray as they do. ideally they will shun the feeding tray during summer and harvest but right now they are afraid of shadows to forage as they should outside. tghe shelterine hard stones from the small bit of land north of the stream which is the only part of the land with stone accessible from the surface so far as im aware.. they like young heather which theres loads of and their favourite forage is a particular weed i know but cant identify yet.

they will eat anything green and anything with six legs they can catch, apart from ants which they unfortunately ignore. they turn their noses up at slugs and i dont blame them but then i dont piss in my feeding tray as they do. ideally they will shun the feeding tray during summer and harvest but right now they are afraid of shadows to forage as they should outside. tghe shelter
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby kevin » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:58 am

Freeman Stephen wrote: i want them to forage more but they are afraid to leave the shelter unless i act as lookout - during the day there are no predators.


Ever heard of a buzzard Stephen? big hungry birds with large claws that eat chickens, also foxes sometimes do the rounds in the day
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby huntingross » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:59 pm

Freeman Stephen wrote:a particular weed


My guess is Sorrel....lots of seeds up a green woody stem...
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby Freeman Stephen » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:43 pm

its not sorrel. theres alternate opposite spear shaped leaves up sometimes a single stem and sometimes larger ones have stems coming off the main stem. a single pink flower at the top of each stem. i could be mixing two similar weeds up cos the multi stem ones are only slightly hairy and the smaller ones are visibly hairy. the leaves are not serated or warbly.

im aware that foxes will roam in daylight during winter but i have big black feathery fox alarms all over the place in the guise of ravens. not so sure about buzzards. i heard there were air predators but this was very rare. ive seen videos of free ranged hens which stay so close to the nest they dont even realise theres a fence. id like them to be as close to wild as a chicken can be rather than the big dependent sooks they are at the moment. afterall what better type of chicken can a freeman on the land keep if theyve got the land to keep them.keep them.
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby Freeman Stephen » Sat Aug 27, 2011 7:47 pm

a kinda pinky beigey browney almost ball shaped thing a little larger than a golf ball just dropped out of one of my hens arses. its not like her usual excretions which are mushy and attractive to insects. should i call a vet to see if this egg shaped thing indicates health problems or should i dunk it in the frying pan. :) 22 and half weeks light sussex - feisty. ill let you know when orchy my other hen gives me her first surprise.
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Re: free chickens on the land

Postby enegiss » Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:29 pm

sounds great there stephen, 22weeks, quick init :grin: might get me some of them thar chickens
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