Can you herd Chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by franfoley, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. franfoley

    franfoley In the Brooder

    Do chickens know to go back in to the coop at night? If you have a chicken house but want to let your chickens run free during the day how do you get them back into their coop? This is not a joke I really need to know if it can be done.
  2. Anne

    Anne Songster

    Feb 11, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    Chickens are creatures of habit. When night falls, they will return to wherever they are used to sleeping. Usually they don't roam too far.
  3. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    If you have kept them in their coop for several weeks and they know this is home, they will go back in on their own at dusk. All of my birds go back in, then I go in to do a head count to make sure everyone is accounted for and close them up for safety from night predators.

    I have to laugh when my buff orps free range because at dusk, they are lined up at the coop like they're going to a movie or something. Everyone waits patiently to take their seat. LOL

  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    You can't herd them per se, because they'll scatter all over creation...But if they know where home is they'll go in when it's dark.
  5. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    Quote:Or if you throw a handful of scratch in their run!
  6. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    Everyone is right - chickens are much easier to get back to the coop at night. Sometimes, however, you do need to get them back in sooner.
    You can actually herd a small flock, IF the hens are familiar with you, and IF you are trying to get them to go somewhere they consider safe, like their coop.
    You have to move very slowly, let them move forward first, and you just follow. If you throw a bit of scratch just ahead of them as you go, all the better. Don't throw TOO much scratch, though, or it will take all day! [​IMG]
  7. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I find that chickens are easy to put where you want them if you train them to a bucket. Nearly every day I put some scratch in bucket, mine is a small plastic one, and shake it calling chick chick. Then I stop and let some eat out of the bucket. This way I can lead them pretty much were ever I want. Normally I feed them only in their run so that when they hear chick chick and the bucket they just start walking in there. This way if I have to leave suddenly during the day they are easy to get into their run so I can lock them up and go. Back to your question, if you leave your birds in their coop for a week or so then begin by letting them out an hour or so before dark so they get used to going back in, after a few days they will go in every night on their own to roost.
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2007
  8. franfoley

    franfoley In the Brooder

    :yiipchickThanks to all who answered. I now am awaiting my chicks for the hatchery. Have everything ready ( I hope).
  9. Pringle_Sussex

    Pringle_Sussex Songster

    Apr 19, 2007
    well everyone's already said it.... chickens go back to their coop at night lol they put themselves away... so i normally go down when its dark and do a quick head count and i close the door.... since the past couple of times i've gone down late and found a possum in the coop eating the chooks scraps :mad:

    My chooks love me so much, the actually follow me around, so if i want them to go to bed early i just call them and they come running out from the bushes and they follow me back to the coop... easy![​IMG]
  10. bonbon31316

    bonbon31316 In the Brooder

    Jan 12, 2007
    Ludowici Georgia
    Mine do the same as Pringle, My hubby said I look like the chicken piper. The neighbors just laugh [​IMG] I dont know would think they never saw a woman being follwed by 20 chicken before. They do go in by themselves when it starts getting dark usually around the same time everyday.

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