I knew this day would come…

…I always dread this.  Goldies chicks are 11 days old today, and today is the day Goldie decided to take them out of the safe chicken yard and start teaching them free ranging.

Their first outing.  Goldie took the chicks out of the chicken yard today for lessons in free range.

Their first outing. Goldie took the chicks out of the chicken yard today for lessons in free range.

Ugggg.  Now WE (me and my hubby) have to be vigilant.  As soon as we hear one of the rooster alert, we have to run.

Our main predator here are hawks.  We have Red Tailed Hawks and we have Sharp Shinned Hawks.  Both are scary predators, with different ways of hunting.  We’ve witnessed both.  For me the Sharp Shinned is a very scary bird.  They can hunt from a low branch in a thicket, and when their in search and catch flight, its amazingly super fast.  We have less of a chance to save our flock from a Sharp Shinned because of their speed.  The Red Tailed, we usually can hear, or see them in flight and allot of times see them land in nearby trees to search for food.

Goldie so far, has been one of the best moms out of my flock.  This is her first brood and she is doing excellent so far.  She keeps those babies close, she keeps them hidden, she keeps them under her.  I’m amazed to still see her put all 5 under her and them all be out of site.  The chicks, are really good chicks, they listen to their mom and do as their told. I’m sure you know, if you’ve had chicks, they don’t all behave as their mom would have them behave.

Luckily, she didn’t keep them out long, it started to rain.  The next thing that I dread is when the mother hen leaves the chicks. A mother hen will leave her chicks anywhere after 3 weeks of age, I’ve only had one hen leave her chicks at 3 weeks that was Blackie, all my other hens left theirs at about 6 weeks.  We’ve decided to try something new after Goldie leaves the chicks  we will keep them in the run instead of letting them free range.  All the other times, we had let the chicks continue to free range, they did very well up till the ones we had in December.  We lost them all but 1 (Danny Boy: AKA Jr) to predators, 4 to a red tailed hawk, the other one, we don’t know, possibly a fox.  We will wait until their big enough that the hawks won’t be as interested in them.  So, we’ll let you know how all this goes, as we make these changes.

One thing I am thankful for is that Dottie is due to hatch her eggs in 10/11 days, generally, around here anyway, the mother hens hang out together, and when the older chicks are left without a mom, they follow closely to the next mom with chicks.  How do things work in your chicken yard??


5 thoughts on “I knew this day would come…

  1. Hopefully your mama hen will keep being a good mama. Our chicks stay in the covered run until 7-10 weeks. And they only free range when we are home. So far, no predators and no losses. Knock on wood!

    • Thanks for responding. Me & my hubby are retired and my 89 year old dad lives here also. So, generally, someone is around to keep an eye on the flock most of the time.

  2. Stressful times indeed..we have no chookies at the moment,we have been here nearly two years and have many other fencing issues etc to do and we won’t get girls until we can keep them safe from foxes and snakes..we are thinking when we do to also get guinea fowl..we usually get rescue chickens from horrible factory farms and give the a proper life..we won’t do this until I know they can range free safely..goodluck!! and we hope they saty safe..we also have..hawks and falcons and wedge tailed eagles so we have our work cut out for us!! Have a great day Fozziemum

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