Chasing chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LittleMissCountry, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. LittleMissCountry

    LittleMissCountry Songster

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    Okay, I know the title sounds weird. Lol.

    I have four pullets. Two are laying, one is close...she may have laid a soft shell last night. The other is nowhere close and has really gotten skittish lately.

    My problem is that my chickens free range for at least an hour or so every day, sometimes longer. I usually let them out any time I am outside, and for an hour or two before dark. Three of them come running when I call them and shake a handful of scratch in a cup. They will also put themselves back in the coop at dusk.

    The fourth, the immature one, has started refusing to go back when it is time. She is the lowest in pecking order, and was being pecked at (not enough to draw blood or lose feathers), so I separated the main bully for a few days, and when that didn't work, I separated her for a few days. That seemed to do the trick and she doesn't get picked on anymore, but still keeps to herself much of the time.

    So I have to chase her every time I put up the chickens. She won't come for treats, and won't let anyone catch her. It takes three people to get her back in the coop, herding her toward the door, while making sure the others don't get back out. It is exhausting. Lately, I let the three out and just leave her in the run attached to the coop, throwing some greens in.

    Will this alienate her more, and make the others reject her again? Is there a better way to handle this? I can't keep chasing her all over.
     
  2. Now I don't know anything about your property, but when I struggled with your same situation, I waited until it was dark. I found the skittish chicken's favorite roosting spot in an abandoned barn, and could sneak up on her and catch her. That eliminated chasing her. She went to the same place every night until she gave up and began going to the coop on her own. I will admit, it's a risky thing to do with predators running around.

    You do what's best for you. In reality, your chickens only free range roughly four hours everyday? If that's all, you should have no issue with alienation if you leave her in the run. In your situation, I probably would just keep her in the run. When she matures a bit and calms down, you can try letting her out again. :)
     
  3. LittleMissCountry

    LittleMissCountry Songster

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    Thanks. We have 6 acres, and she takes off into the deep woods, where I do not want to venture as there are brambles everywhere. Or she runs for the neighbors yard.

    We have lots of predators: fox, raccoons, owls, hawks, and someone spotted a bear a few weeks ago in the area. I wouldn't want to venture into the woods at night searching with a flashlight. We don't have outbuildings.
     
    penny1960 and HuskerHens18 like this.
  4. Okay yeah definitely do not do that, I'm suddenly more grateful for being surrounded by cornfields :th

    Leave her in the run for now, they will all be fine. :)
     
  5. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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    Do you have a run attached to the coop? Keep them in there for a while and make sure they go into the locked coop at night. You might need to put them in.

    Basically do not free range them until they have re integrated as a flock--can take a couple of weeks and they are all homed to the coop
     
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  6. LittleMissCountry

    LittleMissCountry Songster

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    I do have a run attached. The one that doesn't want to go back runs with the others when they are outside. They all stick together until it is time to come back...then she doesn't follow them back in. I was hoping once she starts maturing like the others she will come back on her own. The others even go back in and lay their eggs while free ranging.
     
    HuskerHens18 likes this.
  7. ronott1

    ronott1 A chicken will always remember the egg

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    I suspect the separation has messed up her homing instinct. Keeping them in the run and coop will reset it.

    Hoping for the best!
     
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  8. LittleMissCountry

    LittleMissCountry Songster

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    Thanks, I will try this. We have some rainy weather coming, so perfect timing.
     
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  9. red horse ranch

    red horse ranch Crowing

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    I have found over the years that a pullet doesn't feel like part of the flock until she starts laying eggs. She still sounds immature and things should improve once she does start to lay. But for now I would just keep her penned until she's easier to handle. And I would suggest holding her as often as possible so she will get over her fear of you. Maybe give her a treat when you have her alone. She need to be tame to earn her freedom. ;)
     
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  10. LittleMissCountry

    LittleMissCountry Songster

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    Thank you. I have tried holding her and my daughter dotes on her and carries her everywhere. She tolerates it but tries to escape if she gets an opportunity. I will continue to try to tame her.
     
    ronott1 and red horse ranch like this.

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