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Urban chickens - to free range or not? And what about cats?
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Grockle · 21/01/2011 20:23

I've had my 3 girls for about 5 months. They live in an Eglu. When I am home, they free range in the garden and are really happy. I check on them from time to time as we have a family of foxes nearby although there has been no evidence of them in the garden. There is also a massive cat that stalks them and seems a bit too confident and it worries me so when I go to work, I leave them shut in the run but they are beginning to hate it - they squawk and fuss and complain, even if they have plenty of grass, grit, corn, scraps etc. I want to let them out and leave them to free range all day but would they be safe in the garden for 8 hours with no supervision?

What do other people do?

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Lizzabadger · 21/01/2011 21:07

I don't think they'd be safe. I'd carry on as you are, tbh.

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MissBeehiving · 21/01/2011 21:31

I have three cats and about 20 free range hens atm. My cat (one large ginger one) has attacked a small pullet when it escaped from the run but he doesn't touch them once they're bigger. I don't know if that's any help?

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ilovemyhens · 21/01/2011 22:05

Couldn't you build them a larger run which is secure? I would't leave them for 8 hours unaccompanied with foxes nearby.

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ChickensFlyingUnderTheRadar · 21/01/2011 22:10

I wouldn't leave them free ranging if you're not there tbh. Some do, but you have to accept that you are taking a risk. I keep pekins, so no way would i leave mine out.

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Grockle · 21/01/2011 22:34

I'll carry on as I am then. I was happy with it til my neighbour commented that the birds seemed unhappy (they are not - they continue to lay 2 or 3 eggs a day so must be ok). I shall carry on as I am and let them out when I am home.

I am curious to know what the hens'd do if the cat went for them - the cat is huge but the chooks are feisty and I'd like to think they'd give a good fight. They usually seem to just cluck loudly and look around til I come to the rescue.

Thanks for reassuring me. I suddenly felt guilty for leaving my lovely girls locked up

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Grockle · 21/01/2011 22:38

Larger run in the pipeline but realistically, is not going to happen this year.

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