Can you teach a chicken to return to the coop?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hollophil, May 19, 2009.

  1. hollophil

    hollophil Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2009
    Bend, Oregon
    I would like to be able to let my beautiful young chickens roam in the yard while I work but I am worried about getting them back to the coop.

    Any ideas for getting them to return to the coop on command:D[​IMG]
  2. fivestring

    fivestring Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    Nashville Georgia
    Mine always come home to roost at dusk but you may be able to get them in the coop with some treats. Mine love bread crumbs or scrambled egg crumbs.
  3. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    You can try bribing them with treats, or chasing them. If you do have to chase them hold long sticks in each hand to extend your arms.

  4. Lobzi

    Lobzi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Try meal worms to bribe them. Mine have gotten so that if I have a plastic container in my hands and go into the pen they come running in after me.
  5. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    I find getting them used to their coop as home is the first step. Once they've been in their coop for several weeks, they find it a safety zone and will want to go there to feel safe (especially at night). If they "know" their coop and find it safe, they will return at dusk for bed.
  6. red46

    red46 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 3, 2009
    If they are very young, you may have to spend 3 or 4 nights, training them. I simply had to usher my girls up the ramp, just at dusk. I also let them keep a lamp at bedtime because they weren't going in, early enough to see inside.
    With 100 hens, it was quite a fight, for awhile, but they finally caught on and I don't have to watch after them any more.

    If they are mature birds, the old farmers rule of thumb is 3 days. This, I've also done before. Mature birds like going back to familiar surroundings, at bedtime. All you have to do, is close them up in the coop for 3 days, and they should go in at night, from then on.

  7. Pug Momma

    Pug Momma Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    Auburn, WA
    I started giving them treats at dusk when I moved them into their coops when they were small - an ear of corn, or some carrot foliage or something and I use the same tone of voice and words every time - so they know the tone matches with the words matches with treats.
    They come bounding across the yard so quick - last Sunday they actually stepped on each other. It was hysterical. I also give them whey from batches of cheese that I make, or the meal worms.
    I put their treats in the same place every night, too -
    Ritual, ritual, ritual...
  8. hollophil

    hollophil Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2009
    Bend, Oregon
    Thanks so much everyone for the great suggestions. I particularly like the one suggesting long poles. I visualize having gloves on the ends of the poles to look like a set of

    I think I will try training them with the meal worms and voice since they already fall all over themselves for them. Great suggestions---THANKS!

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