This is a picture of a chicken up a tree. She looks very at home up there. Makes a lovely picture. Shame about the photographer not getting the picture in focus.

Here’s another picture of a few chickens up a tree. They look lovely too. They’ve even got their kids up there with them. They all look completely at home and ready to settle down for the night.

Here are one cockerel and one pullet practicing professional tree hugging.

This is a picture of a rooster telling his hens that he could climb this tree if he wanted to. His name is Oswald and he was always trying to impress the hens. Of course, if you see this you don’t need to worry because there is no way Oswald could climb that tree. I think the hens know this. Some trees are better than others for roosting in.
Of course I can climb it.JPG

This is the first very important point. Chickens roost in trees. They’ve been doing it for centuries.
I can have about a dozen chickens up trees at dusk here. In the past I’ve let some roost there for a period of time.
My preference is that they use a coop. I sleep better believing they are safe.
This is a picture of the chickens that were up a tree where you want them, in their coop.

The next important point, fewer predators will catch a chicken up a tree than on the ground. It’s why they went up the trees in the first place.
This is one of the predators here that will climb up a tree to catch chickens.

On a warm summers evening with time to spare, climbing trees and grabbing chickens off branches can seem like fun, a bit of an adventure with some risk involved.
Doing it the dark when it’s cold and the rain is hammering down isn’t much fun and is downright dangerous.
Next point, you’re no good to the chickens lying in hospital, or dead. It’s something I have tried to explain to them on numerous occasions.

A very important point!
There is something chickens don’t want you to know about their physiology. They have at least three involuntary reactions that I know of. One of these reactions can keep you out of the hospital, or morgue when trying to get a chicken out of a tree, or a lot of other high places come to that.
There is an area between a chickens knee joint and it’s ankle that if you apply firm pressure to, the chickens involuntary reaction is to step back and grasp whatever it is behind them.

If you’ve got any chickens that aren’t up trees, but are roosting at an accessible height I suggest you go and ascertain the correct position to apply the pressure and verify that they will step backwards. You may find if it is not dark they will step back and then jump forward again, maybe even fly off whatever you applied the pressure with. A stick strong enough to support the chickens weight is fine at this point. You can even use your hand as if you were doing a slow motion upward karate chop with your hand thumb side up.

If you have got a chicken up a tree problem; it’s okay, you can admit to it, it can happen to the best chicken keepers. You will have noticed they go up the trees a while before what we humans would call dusk. Dusk happens a bit earlier in the chicken world. They can see changes in light levels that we can’t. or are not consciously aware of any more. Being intelligent creatures they go up the tree while they can see well.

I’ve read that chickens can’t see in the dark. This isn’t true. What is true is they don’t see anything like as well in the dark as they do in full daylight.
This is another point that needs to be born in mind. Chickens can see in the dark, just not very well.
So, chickens go up the trees while they can see properly. They stay up there after a certain light level because they are not confident about flying out with limited vision. Under extreme circumstances a chicken will dive out of a tree at night, but it’s more luck than judgment about on what and where they land.

Armed with the above knowledge it should be apparent that the light level you try to get a chicken out of a tree in is fairly critical. If it’s too light (early dusk, headlamps, torches, etc) and you try this method the probability is they will make a leap for the ground, or another branch. I’ve made this mistake and the chicken flew to the ground and by the time I had climbed down the tree and rearranged my clothing so I could walk properly the chicken had gone back up the tree and was sitting in the exact same spot I just took it off.
Obviously, pitch black moonless nights you probably won’t even be able to see you’ve got a chicken up a tree so that’s the problem sorted.
The ideal time frame to get chickens out of a tree for all parties is that period at late dusk just before dark. You can see the chicken. The chicken can’t see well enough to fly and won’t unless you, or they panic. If it all goes wrong and the chicken flies to the ground it should still be light enough to find it again.

Sometimes chickens that are two fat to climb trees get into bushes instead. The problem here is finding them in dense bushed. If you have a group of chicks missing at dusk, bushes are a good place to investigate. I’ve ‘lost’ 6 chicks in one bush before.
This is a picture of a chicken in a bush.

Method 1.
You’ll need at least one of these; preferably all three.

(A tip.) You need to increase the diameter of the pole in relation to it’s length. If the pole is too thin when the weight of a chicken is added to the end, it will bend and wobble. The chicken won’t like this much.
(Another tip.) The piece one the end that forms the T must be securely attached. If it falls off while the chicken is gripping it, the chicken will fall out of the tree holding a piece of wood. They won’t like that at all.

This is how I attach the T piece to the pole. You can get metal clips like this at plumbing shops. The are used to fix piping to the wall.

Of course, when you push/encourage a chicken out of a tree in this manner, all the others chickens will shuffle along their branches to be further away from you, shouting to each other that you’ve just pushed Aunty Ethel off her perch.
So, beginners start with ‘encouraging’ the chickens that are up a tree with the stick at early dusk. A gentle shove with the T piece of the pole should suffice. They’ll be very cross, make a bit of noise but they will be on the ground. If you can herd them, one at a time if necessary into their coop at this point, technically you’re winning. You’ll know if you’ve done it wrong because they’ll go back up the tree.
If you get the light right tree climbing won’t look so attractive and most will seek safety in their coops with a bit of encouragement.
Most of the chickens that go up trees here choose a tree that is close to the coop where the food and water is. In general chickens tend not to stray very far from feed zones, coops and human habitation.

To give an idea, much after this level of light, the chickens are unlikely to want to fly out of the trees and method two should be used.

Method 2.
Intermediate chicken in tree tactics and something that should be experimented with for those days where everything goes wrong; you’re late, it takes ages to find them, stick’s too short, can’t find the ladder to give some extra reach, the full tree removal practice should be practiced.
You need to do this when it’s dark, so dark in fact the chicken hangs on to the T piece like grim death because not only can’t it see very well, it’s branch seems to be moving!

Locate your chicken. Having chosen the pole with T piece of suitable length, gently apply pressure to the point between the ankle and knee until the chicken steps back and grips the T piece. This next bit can be a bit tricky. You need to move the chicken away from the branch it was roosting on fairly quickly. If you are not quick enough it’s possible that the chicken will just make a dive for it’s original perch. It knows where that is because you’ve just taken it off it.
Slowly and carefully lower the pole with the chicken on the end, either right to the ground, or to a height you can grab it.

Another important point. As soon as you have the chicken in your grasp, drop the pole. Do not under any circumstances keep the pole in your hand if the chicken isn’t actually on it. You can test the wisdom of this in the daylight by trying to approach a chicken with a pole in your hand.
A few practice runs with the intermediate level will give you confidence and assuming it’s the same bunch of pro tree huggers you are trying to get out of the trees, they will become used to this routine.
I’ve had a few hens here that seemed to think that this was how chickens should go to roost. Go up a tree, wait for Bucket Boy to arrive with the pole, get lowered out of the tree receiving a quick goodnight cuddle on the way to the coop and be placed on the roost bar without any of that squabbling and jumping the rest do. A couple even expected a treat for their cooperation.

Method 3.
Advanced method.
This is how I do it. It’s called bribery.
It’s easiest if you don’t leave feed down all day and feed last thing before the chickens go to roost.
Make up a handful of treats; something that’s nutritious such as cooked sardines, or a bit of chopped cooked meat.
Put the treats in a treat box a red plastic container works well. This container is new reserved for this purpose.
At dusk, but not dark, ‘encourage’ the chickens out of the tree with one of the poles you’ve made. Leave their regular feed on the floor near the coop. Once you’ve got a couple out, scatter some of the treat food near the commercial feed. If you know who the top hen and rooster are push them off their branches first. The rest may just follow, but if not, get the rest down and spread the rest of the treat food on the ground. Hopefully the first chickens you got down are now eating and the rest should join in.

The timing is important. By the time they’ve finished eating it should be too dark for them to risk going back up the tree and you can then herd them into the coop.

The advanced method takes time and patience. With the pro tree huggers here they come down now when I arrive with the treat container. Even so, if I don’t time it right some will try to go back up the tree (you can herd them towards the coop to counter this) and if this happens you can lift them out with method 2 once it’s got a bit darker.

Method 1 and 3 require you being there at a particular time and as the days pass the time you need to be there moves with the seasons. This may not be convenient for some. I like to be there every evening to make sure that all get back to their coops and go to roost with a full crop.

Finally, there is no method of preventing free range chickens that want and are able to get up there from trying to roost in high places. The instinct is very deeply embedded. The large production breeds often can’t fly well enough to roost in high places. if you have the right climate and not many climbing night predators my inclination would be to let them roost where they want. With free range chickens some are going to get predated; it’s something one has to accept. It doesn’t really matter if it happens at day, or at night.