Catching my Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ravenvalor, May 14, 2011.

  1. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,
    I have free roaming chickens that are proving to be quite difficult to catch. I have a net on the end of a pole but whenever they see it they scatter. Would a net that I can throw over them be better?
    Thanks,
    Jim
     
  2. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    It's much better to lure them with treats than it is to chase them around trying to catch them. Luring them with treats is faster, easier and you end up with chickens that are tamer, as well as less anxious.

    They should go back to their coop on their own at night, when it starts to get dark. If I need to put mine into the run earlier for some reason, I get out the treat container and they follow me. Then I toss in the treats and close the door.
     
  3. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks for the reply. If I open the gate to let them in, the others will get out. I have to catch them some way or another.
     
  4. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you mean that you're only letting some of them free range and keeping the others locked up?

    If you're letting them all free range and you teach them to follow you when you have the treat container, they should all follow you back to the coop as a group. Then they should all go in together, to get the treats. You don't lure them back one at a time.
     
  5. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:There are a few that go where they do not belong. These I would like to catch.
    Thank you for the friendly advice.
     
  6. KlaHaYa Gardens

    KlaHaYa Gardens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @ravenvalor

    WoodlandWoman has given you great advice. The best thing to do is lure the chickens. Do NOT chase them and do not EVER allow someone else to chase them.

    I keep mine loose as well. I also have a "call" that I use when I feed them. I do this every time so that when I want them to come eat, or when I want to count them, or catch them, they come.


    If I want to catch them -- and this is what I'm recommending to you --

    1. I feed them, at my feet. I let them gather all around me. The closer I put the food to my feet, the closer I get the birds to me. I may have to scatter a small amount of food further out, but the bulk of it close to me.

    2. When their heads are down, and preferably tail toward me, I slowly bend at the hips, and then in a very SWIFT move with one hand I grab the tail.

    3. Then I land the other hand on top of their back pressing them down to the ground so that I can get a better grip.



    Now, my "method" may sound a bit different, but only one of my hands work -- and that is my grabbing hand. Interestingly, I can catch a chicken better with one hand, than others can with two. Grabbing the tail is not something I would have done except for the one hand issue, however, it works quite nicely. I don't hurt them, and I don't yank out tail feathers -- I grab round the tail right where it connects to the body.

    If you have already frightened your birds today, you may have to wait until tomorrow. Just remember to never chase them. It accomplishes the opposite of what you want and you and your birds could get hurt.
     
  7. ravenvalor

    ravenvalor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the great advice, I will try it out and let you know how it goes.
     
  8. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

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    I can lure mine away from an area and back to me, to be picked up. I also toss the treats at my feet, in the beginning. Since mine are used to getting treats, now all I would have to do is call them to get their attention, so they would run over and I could pick them up. I usually move slowly and just gently but firmly put my hands around their bodies, making sure that I hold the wings down, so they can't start flapping.

    Even untrained chickens will usually come to you, if you call them to get their attention and then they see you scattering something like scratch grains on the ground. If they are obsessed with something fantastic where they are, you may need to use something more irresistible. For my hens, that's hulled sunflower seeds.

    It's always more difficult to work with them if they don't have a trusting relationship with you yet or if they've been spooked by chasing and grabbing. I would start working with them every day. It doesn't take long to see a change. They're very smart.
     
  9. jmpurser

    jmpurser Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a new chicken rancher so take my words with a grain of salt.

    We've got a mixed 10 chicken flock that had a chicken yard with a low fence (we've raised the fence) in a suburban neighborhood. They quickly learned they could fly out but since they mostly stuck to our fenced in yard we didn't mind. Two of them (Thelma and Louise of course) became QUITE adventuresome, always the first out of the pen in the morning, over the yard fence, down the block, scratching in the alley, and occasionally crossing the street in front.

    As a result of this I regularly needed to round up chickens. Also my girlfriend has a 3 year old grandson and catching chickens is one of his FAVORITE activities!

    What I learned:
    - Don't chase them.

    - Chickens are easier to drive than they are to catch. Don't chase them. Get on the side away from where you want them to go and slowly move in. This creates pressure. Now there's pressure where you DON'T want them to go and a nice friendly coop with the rest of the girls on the other side where you DO want them to go. Don't rush. When their head's pop up and they start looking around they're seeking a way out. Let them find the one you want them to take. Be patient.

    - Chickens are easier to BAIT than they are to drive. I have a feed call (and VERY tolerant neighbors) that ALWAYS means I'm delivering food to the chicken pen. Get them used to one call (CHICK CHICK CHICK CHICK in my case) and they'll come running when they hear it.

    - If you HAVE to catch free ranging chickens (Really? It's not just an ego thing cause they beat you last time?) I like a fish net with a LARGE hoop. I use one designed for pulling salmon into a boat. 5' long handle and the opening is about a yard in diameter. Much bigger than you "need" for a chicken but boy is that handy. Someone working with you using the "Driving" method above is a big help. Don't chase them. Set up an ambush and try to out think them. This can be tough when they're not thinking. I use a stab with the net to place it ahead of them followed by a twist if I guessed right or a curse if I guessed wrong. Once you got the chicken in the net settle her down FAST. I like to lay the net down with her trapped under it, walk up, press down on her back gently but firmly to immobilize her. Extract her from the net and then do yourself a HUGE favor: Hold her and stroke her head for a bit. If she's quiet drag it out a few minutes. If she keeps panicking get on about your business quickly and let her go.

    - Don't chase them. It's a pointless, harmful, humiliating way to amuse the neighbors.
     
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:You got THAT right! BTDT
     

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