There are two drawbacks to keeping your hens free range, the first and most problematic is keeping them safe from predators.
Without a doubt the one predator I have lost most stock to is the fox. They are nasty killers and will get amongst a flock killing everything in sight, but only take one bird to eat. I don’t really think they’d bother me so much if they just took what they needed to feed their family.
We also have to battle with Badgers (one Badger took out an entire family of Muscovy ducks by digging under a buried chain link fence), Crows (they take the eggs & young) and Buzzards (they take young birds). And of course we also have rats that take eggs and chicks if given a chance.
The second ‘downside’ is a lot more fun but just as time consuming! My new laying hens are in a temporary house where they have a lovely nest box which only three of them lay in every day.
Two others have discovered this outdoor nest box which is nice and easy for me to get to.
One lays in this log pile.
And one little beggar lays in this old disused pig sty. I have to jump down this wall…
crawl through the teeny pig sized doorway…
and she lays behind the roll of sheep fencing.
Yes, I could block the doorway up but I don’t go to a gym so figure this little assault course has to do me some good. And I only collect her eggs every couple of days :)
Where’s the craziest place you’ve found a nest of eggs?