Catching Free Range Chickens - HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lexa, May 10, 2007.

  1. lexa

    lexa Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2007
    I have inherited a property that has an enormous amount of chickens (to me), probably 40 or more hens with over 30 chicks and 5 or more roosters! I'm told they are Burmese (how do I tell)? They range freely over the property and the neighbor's properties and will eat anything. They fly very well and all roost in two trees in our yard, but our neighbors have asked us to round them up so they don't destroy their new garden. How am I going to catch all these birds!? Also, how long do I need to keep them cooped up before I can start letting them out for a few hours a day to catch bugs? Will they learn to come back to the coop or will they just start roosting in the trees again?
  2. Oaknim

    Oaknim Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 25, 2007
    Sylvia, KS
    I've found that it's easiest to catch awol chickens in the dark - I've only had to do it a couple of times with some new pullets we had. If they're in trees, it's quite a bit more difficult, of course. All I can think of is to get them addicted to treats and lure them into wherever you would like them to sleep. Good luck ~ Oaknim
  3. Buckguy20

    Buckguy20 OKIE MOSES

    Apr 13, 2007
    Choctaw Oklahoma
    Quote:It depends a lot on the breed. I am not sure what Burmese chickens are but if they have been roosting high in the treees it will be hard to break them of the habit.
    You can rig a catcher by nailing a cross piece atop a long board or pole. (The lighter the better). It will look like a T. Then when the chickens are roosting, you gently and slowly push the T end of the pole under the chicken's belly area.The chicken should step up on top of the T. Then as slowly and gently as you can lower the chicken down until they are low enough for someone to grab its feet.
    This is hard to do in trees, especially ones with a lot of limbs close together. It works great in barns when they are roosting on rafters.
    You can also rig a trap with a pen or coop. Just tie a long rope or string to the door, bait it with corn or whatever and then position yourself where you can pull the string and close the door. After the chickens are in of course. You may only get a few at a time and it will take time and patience but it will work.
    The third option is to find a good tree climbing teenager, stick a small flashlight in his mouth, give him a burlap or onion sack, wait till its dark and give him a boost. He won't get them all because some will spook and fly out of the tree but over a few nights he might get most of them. ( If you know any coon hunters, there is usually a designated tree climber among them.)
    If there is a pen or coop the best way is get them used to eating in it and to trap them in there.
    A combination of all these things should allow you to get them all.
    Hope this helps, Monty
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  4. cookinmom

    cookinmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2007
    Saint George GA
    Maybe in the interest of good relations you could assist the neighbor in putting some netting over their garden, until you capture the chickens?
  5. fowlweatherfriends

    fowlweatherfriends Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2007
    The Sunny South
    Such resourceful advice! You seem so wise [​IMG]. It's great to hear from someone with chicken experience-you sound like you have had many dealings with fowls.

    Just wanted to say your helpful advice seems sound and full of knowledge-a belated welcome to the group!
  6. prariechiken

    prariechiken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2007
    Buckguy has the right idea, and has given some advice from someone who seems to have been there it is up to you to outsmart your the way....I used to be the tree climber with the flashlight in my mouth, (the youngest of six kids), and that ground isn't any softer in the dark...LOL...
  7. MTchick

    MTchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    Bribery might be a good way- you could make a pen that is open (with a large gate or something) on one side. Put feed in there and other tasty treats until the free rangers decide they should go in as a flock and eat stuff. Let them do it for a few days, keep bribeing them every day, until most of them think it is just the best place in the world. Then once you have a whole bunch in there munching away, close the gate quickly but not in a big scary way- you don't want to scare them really badly. Remember- they can fly- so this pen needs to have a cover. The idea is to force them to stay in there until they go to sleep, and then you can just grab them when they are sleepy and it is dark out. Then repeat the process for the rest of the flock in a few days.

    Just a thought I had. I don't know if it would work, of course.

  8. Buckguy20

    Buckguy20 OKIE MOSES

    Apr 13, 2007
    Choctaw Oklahoma
    Quote:Thank you so much. Well, growing up and living on a farm, I had to figure out ways to catch them. We had old English game running everywhere and they seemed to always want to roost in the tallest trees. I don't climb any more but I was the designaated climber when I was younger.

    Also to Lexa,
    I forgot to add that you can also use a long piece of long wire with a narrow U shape bent at the end. Just slip it past the chickens legs then yank it back toward yourself. The crook or U shape should hold the foot long enough for you or a helper to catch it.
  9. lexa

    lexa Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2007
    Thanks so much to everyone for their great advise to a newbie!

    Buckguy, I'll certainly try at least a couple of your techniques! Unfortunately I don't have a teenager handy so I'll either have to borrow one or I'll be the lucky one up in the tree. [​IMG] I've heard about the U shaped wire on the end of a pole. You're sure it won't hurt the chicken? I don't want to break any legs or cause any injuries. I'm not even sure I'd be able to get that close to these guys anyway; they're pretty feral and start running when you're about 20 feet away. The T-pole sounds like a fabulous idea, I'll try that one for those roosting in the lower branches.

    How about clipping wings once I've got them? How high can most chickens jump with one wing clipped? Maybe I can keep them inside my 6-7 foot fence that way?
  10. Buckguy20

    Buckguy20 OKIE MOSES

    Apr 13, 2007
    Choctaw Oklahoma
    I guess there is always a possibility of an injury but i've never hurt one that way. If you can't get closer than 20 feet it won't matter any way. The only time I have ever hurt a chicken was one I caught with my hand and he started flapping and twisting. When he twisted it dislocated his leg. So now if I ever grab one and it starts to twist, I let it go.
    As far as the pen and clipping wings,
    I don't think they will fly that high with clipped wings. But if you don't get a top on it then it really is just going to be a big Coon feeder anyway.
    I don't think you ever said if you wanted to keep these chickens or not. The simplest and maybe best way way to solve the problem is to find someone who wants to buy them and then give them a discount for catching them.
    You could use the money and start over with some breeds you want. Maybe some heavy breeds that can't fly very high.
    As a very last resort a pellet gun and a big soup pot might be the answer.
    Last edited: May 11, 2007

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