Brand new flock escapes! Help!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by duhgman, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. duhgman

    duhgman Hatching

    Aug 1, 2014
    I just finished building my coop, and last night bought a dozen year old hens. I put them all in the coop last night, locked the door, and then went to bed. This morning, one of my kids decided to go collect some eggs without telling me, and opened the coop. 8 of them immediately flew the coop, while 4 of them stayed. My intention is to have them free range anyhow, so I am not concerned about them being out. I allowed the other 4 to leave the coop, which they did a few hours later and they have been scratching fairly close to the coop. The other 8 have taken refuge in a bush about 50 feet from the coop. My question is will they go back into the coop tonight so I can lock them up, or are they FREE!? I could catch them with a net if I have to but I am wondering if just one night inside the coop is enough to teach them where "home" is?

    If they don't go into the coop themselves, is there a way to train them by luring them with food back to the coop, or do I need to catch them and put them in myself?

    We have lots of raccoons around here, so I need to act quickly before night time comes.

  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Hi and welcome to BYC from northern Michigan [​IMG]

    Unfortunately your birds do not know where they live yet. Best for new fowl to be kept strictly in the coop for several days, then be allowed out into a pen until they realize where they live and where to lay eggs (you may want to put a lock on the coop door to prevent a reoccurrence).

    You may be able, if they are quite tame, to lure them in with feed, but be prepared to watch where they roost, they are relatively easy to capture off a roost after dark.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC!

    As 1muttsfan has said, usually new birds are locked into the coop for a few days so they do know to return back to the coop.

    In your case, they may or may not return. They may certainly hang around if you leave food and water around.

    You might post this question in our Chicken Behaviors section of the forums for more help with this...

    Good luck and I hope you can wrangle them all back in. :)
  4. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    You've received good advice above.
  5. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Crowing

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC! Glad you decided to join our flock. You've received some good advice from 1muttsfan and TwoCrows. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck in getting your chickens back into their coop.
  6. luey

    luey Hatching

    Aug 1, 2014
    Patience and pure stealth. My son developed commando skills recapturing flighty new chickens- they love to have a regular nesting and roosting area altho they will relocate at any hint of danger. We have used a 'human net' to herd a terrified bird into a coop successfully, or failing that, to entrap one in a tangled area of bush. But any fails result in an increasingly neurotic chicken. Good luck!
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! You've gotten some good suggestions above, Good luck rounding up your birds tonight.
  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    can you put one of the "stayed" birds into a crate outside- the others may hear her and come back

  9. Normally I leave the chickens in the coop for several days to a week but anyway did you get your chickens back in the coop last night ??????

  10. duhgman

    duhgman Hatching

    Aug 1, 2014
    We set up a funnel with some chicken wire and then used a hose to spray them and some sticks and other humans to push them out of the bushes back into the coop. Unfortunately a raccoon breached the coop at 430 this morning and managed to kill two of the hens. It was still in the coop when we went out to investigate the ruckus. If it survives the blows from the baseball bat, I doubt he'll be coming back. The coop has been reinforced now. I will keep them in the pen for about a week so that they can adjust to their new home before I let them free range.

    We're looking forward to getting some free range organic eggs!

    Thank you everyone for your assistance!

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