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Nina

Working 9 to 5 - to free range or not to free range.

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Hello

 

I have not ordered yet - but hopefully soon to be the owner of a cube. I have just read a post (sorry, i have forgotten the name) which seems as if the keeper can let the chooks free range while at work.

 

This is something I hadn't considered possible while I was at work - thought I would let them into the run in the morning then have free range of the garden in the evening till sun down and beddy byes.

 

What do 9-5 working omleteers do in this regard? Considering I live will live in a semi detached in Chelmsford, do not have fields :( . Can urban foxes be a problem during the day?

 

I would luuurve to have the girlies free range as much as possible but want to keep them safe.

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Yes, foxes are a problem during the day time. I live in an urban area and have an average sized garden. I also work 9 – 5 and I’ve been keeping Chickens for around 4 years now

I leave my hens in the run when I'm out at work and then let them free range when I get home, until dusk - they seem to put themselves to bed then. If not they can be tempted back into the run with a little piece of fruit. I let them free range at the weekends as long as I'm at home to keep an eye on them. I had the unfortunately task of almost wrestling one of my chickens out of the jaws of a fox in broad daylight, right outside my kitchen door. So now as I rule I always put them back in the run if I'm going out for more than an hour. Good luck.

:)

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I wouldnt personally let mine free range whilst I wasnt at home.

 

Anything as well as a fox could happen......cat.....escaped dog.....parcel man leaves gate open :roll: etc etc

 

We are lucky that hubby works nights and im on days so the chickens free range all day. However when we go away/go out our girls are quite happy in the run scurrying around...and so will yours. If you wanted to you could let them out for an hour before going to work (if you can) and then when you get home - during the summer they also have a few hours in the evening to free range until it gets dark.

 

We also invested in the run converter to give our girls more room, and hanging up treats will occupy them when you are at work :D

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Mine don't play out if I'm not around.

 

The fox is cleverer than we are.

 

It isn't worth the risk.

 

They will be happy enough in the run, with free ranging at the weekend.

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I don't work (full time Mum, slave, cook etc :roll: ) but I don't even let my girls free range if I have to pop in to use the loo or answer the front door unless my 7 year old is in the garden ready to shout for me if there is any trouble. :shock:

 

Urban foxes are a massive problem and I love my girls far too much to take a risk. That's just my opinion though. :D

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I agree with Jay, but then I suffer from urban foxes too. They come out during the day instead of the night, because they are looking for people to feed them.

 

If you are moving, you will have to assess the situation when you get there. But just because you go a month or year without seeing a fox it doesn't mean that one won't suddenly appear. It's an awful problem.

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I had the unfortunately task of almost wrestling one of my chickens out of the jaws of a fox in broad daylight, right outside my kitchen door.

:)

 

AH! :shock:

Good advice indeed. Think letting them out in the run in the morning and taking the route of run enrichment during the day will be best, hanging veggies and the rest. :idea: Hmmmm, can anything else be tucked in the run of the non-food variety to keep them entertained?

 

 

Eglutine (sp) yep, - safety first fun last!!! :lol: Definitely for the best. Or - good excuse to work from home more often.

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we hung a CD on string from the run. They sometimes check their hairdoo's in it.

 

We also put small log to perch on. and where my husband works with poultry they even put footballs in with the chickens to entertain them :shock::lol:

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I agree with the other posters. We work 9-5 and our girls are in the run whilst we're not around. As soon as we're home from work we open up the run and let them free-range until they're ready to put themselves to bed.

 

If we're going out that evening then we'll put them back in the run before we go. Even if they get an hour free-ranging before we go out they seem to appreciate it.

 

I'd rather have two girls with slight 'cabin fever' than two dinners for Mr Fox!

 

Rob

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I agree, I never leave mine out free ranging if I am not around. If I am going to be out for the whole day, I let them out as soon as I get up, then put them back just before I leave.

 

Best wishes

 

Rosemary

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My girls only come out if i'm at home. I did build them a large run, 12 foot by 12 foot,though so that they had more room than the eglu runs give. If i ever get a cube i will order it without the run and still use our existing run.

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agree with all the others - after two near misses, I won't even leave mine free-range while I go to the loo or put the kettle on.

 

It's not what I'd planned, I had hoped that I'd let them out when I got home from work and let them roam all evening, but I can't take the risk.

 

There are people on here who leave theirs out all day, I am guessing they live in rural areas where foxes are less bold. Your girls will be fine in the run - CDs, hanging vegetables, and a dust-bath will keep them happy.

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After we had the girls for 6 days we started letting them out for a few hours a day. They loved it. Probably for nearly 10 days now I let them out of the run at 9am and they take themselves to bed at 8.30pm sometimes with a bit of incouragement. But I am in and out thourghout the day. Always doing a quick number count. So far so good. I'm not sure about the risk of foxes in my area but we have a high risk from cats. :lol:

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Guest

Our girls are out all day and tuck themselves in about 9pm. We have 3 cats who are no bother and the neighbors cats are no trouble. Both our neighbors have dogs too but they are Jack Russells so no chance of them jumping over the fence! Postie sometimes opens a side gate for a parcel but its the one where there is a second gate before the garden.

 

I told Mum they need shutting in when she goes out but she just doesn't listen! She hates to see animals caged. I've not seen any sign of foxes since we've been here, its a rural area - I see horses from my windows. When I used to live in Basildon I saw foxes all the time and would never have thought of having chickens running around with "Ooops, word censored!"ody home.

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Well..heres a tale...just this morning at 5.30am a fox managed to get hold of my neighbours hen (the eglu pop hole had been placed on but not locked (i think)). She is quite a big hen and quite aggressive and does not have her wings clipped..and this was probably what saved her. An almighty noise woke next door and as my OH does not sleep well and was already up they all went out to investigate. Next door saw the fox with the hen in its mouth :cry: .

The hen is injury slightly and has been to the vet, she will evidently be ok...the moral of this tale is usually as my OH doesn't sleep well he gets up and lets out our girls for an early morning forrage while he has a shower and a coffee, before I go to work. If he had done so this morning who knows what might have happened. :shock: My two babies are in a home made run which is nowhere near as safe as the Eglu and I guess I will loose some sleep now !

I have decided that no unattended free ranging is safe, and I am considering a cube with a larger run for sure now. .....Logic goes out of the window doesn't it....a £10 hen v £700 cube :roll:

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we never let ours free range when we are out.

 

I let them out when I get home from work and we put them back in if we decide to go out.

when the neighbourhood cats come in the garden the chooks yell and tell me. our cat never looks like she will attack, but Simba next door is always looking for an opportunity to get something. :evil:

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Hmmmm, can anything else be tucked in the run of the non-food variety to keep them entertained?

 

.

 

We bought a little mirror that's meant for parrots and put it in the run - it's sturdy and doesn't seem to have any damage from their pecking. And they look in it (I think trying to find the other chicken) for 10 minutes or more at a time!

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we hung a CD on string from the run. They sometimes check their hairdoo's in it.

 

We also put small log to perch on. and where my husband works with poultry they even put footballs in with the chickens to entertain them :shock::lol:

 

LOL, I think I will give the CD dressing device a go. In the run during the day is the way foward, with free ranging in the evenings and weekends when I am in.

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My girls are only out if we are out. We wouldn't really have them out even if we were out of eyesight for more than five or ten minutes to be honest. We are new to this: chooks have been here for five weeks, and I have no doubt that we are over-protective, but it just isn't worth the risk. Even my husband's arch-nemesis the fat black n' white moggy from two doors up is probably too lazy to have a go, and i think the girls would see it off, but we take no chances.

 

I had contemplated getting the girls a ball to play with but was met with derision when I mused out loud. I'm glad to hear other people like to provide their chooks with means of entertainment when they are not there!

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I am now going to make 2 statements that contradict each other. But here goes, this is what I do. When I am at work (1 or 2 mornings a week) or if I go out anywhere, I shut the chickens away in their run. So they are never out when I am not at home.

 

But ....... I happily let mine free range when I am at home. I do the housework, sit in the study, potter around the house for hours. I can't even see them in the garden and I don't watch them at all unless I'm washing up by the kitchen window. But as soon as school run time comes I shut them away for half an hour. Can't explain that one even to myself. But it works for me.

 

Your chickens will be fine in their run. You could let them free range after you come home from work and at weekends.

Edited by Guest

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Not watching your hens may be all right for "Hen Watch", but everyone's circumstances are different. For many people in towns it is too dangerous to allow hens to free-range. Mine would be dead the very first time I did it.

 

I had two hens in the standard Eglu and run for nearly a year, then four hens with two extensions for nearly another year. They only came out when I was in the garden, which of course because I work meant that in winter they were lucky to get out once a week. They were perfectly happy. Sometimes a fox came out in the garden with us all, so I still had to be careful: the fox nearly got them just behind me once while I was talking to my neighbour over the fence.

 

Now that I have a Cube there is a bit more scope for the hens; but you should not feel guilty about keeping them in the Eglu run: they will be safe and happy. There is a recent message on another thread from a very new Eglu owner who didn't like shutting her hens up during the day, and she has lost two sets of hens to an urban fox already, in broad daylight.

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I am envious, because I would love to do what HenWatch does - and when I planned to get my Eglu, that was exactly what I'd anticipated. I just hadn't realised quite how bold a town fox can be. Even being IN THE GARDEN - albeit sitting quietly in the greenhouse - does not deter him from sneaking up to the Omlet netting. Like Gallina, if I let mine free-range unsupervised, then they'd be gone within half an hour.

 

It's not how I meant it to be, but I am entirely satisfied that my chickens are happy, healthy and have enough space for their needs. Don't forget that Omlet designed the Eglu and run for exactly this purpose, and I presume they took advice on it. I'd love mine to be able to free-range, but that would be Chicken Utopia. As Gallina says, it depends on circumstances - so I don't think you are being over-protective, EdgeWife! It would be horrible to find out the hard way that you had a neighbourhood fox.

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Previously, before the loss of Gerty:

 

Spring/Summer - we let them out first thing in the morning and shut them away at night, despite both of us being out at work all day.

 

Autumn - we make sure one of us is home before it is too dark, although invariably the girls put themselves to bed before we get home.

 

Winter - we just cannot get home before it is pitch black, so the girls stay in their run and only come out at the w/end.

 

However, with the arrival of Cilla and Gwen, the girls are now only allowed out when someone is home. This is not because of foxes, but because I don't (yet) trust them to not find a way out. [Gerty managed to escape Houdini-style, and it was one of our own dogs who caught her].

 

I fully expect the girls to be out and about free-ranging when we are at work as soon as I am convinced they cannot escape from "their" part of the garden. This is especially the case as at w/ends, they are out all day long, and I certainly don't spend the day with them - if a fox wants to get them, he will, and it would only take 5 minutes...

 

Peter

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I fully expect the girls to be out and about free-ranging when we are at work as soon as I am convinced they cannot escape from "their" part of the garden. This is especially the case as at w/ends, they are out all day long, and I certainly don't spend the day with them - if a fox wants to get them, he will, and it would only take 5 minutes...Peter

 

But surely the whole point of a fox proof run is to ensure that they are safe when you are not there to watch them. :?

You say that if a fox wants to get them, he will-but as pet owners is it not our job to protect our hens rather than just leaving them to take their chances??

 

That's sort of like me saying that there is no point in me watching over my children because if someone wants to kidnap them, they will and it would only take 5 minutes........ :?

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Just re-read my last post and realised that it may sound like I am being a bit stroppy :oops:

 

Of course it is down to personal choice and we all have to make decisions that suit us I just worry that people do not take the urban fox problem seriously enough and next thing you know-it's too late. :(

 

I hate the thought of my girls being fox food and wouldn't let them 'take their chances' as it were.

 

Just wanted to clear up the fact that I wasn't being stroppy-just concerned! :)

 

(As if I am ever stroppy anyway-just ask OH!!) :wink:

 

Edited to correct typo!

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