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Chicken training question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jdaly91215, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. jdaly91215

    jdaly91215 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
    I'm new to chicken raising and have been doing as much research as humanely possible before we get our little peeps in the spring.

    We're going to build them a permanent coop and run, and also a 10x20' moveable pasture pen made out of pvc and chicken wire that they can use to forage in during the day.

    Can I train my chickens to follow me from the coop to the pen and back every day? I'm planning on starting their training while they're still chicks by teaching them to come to me with treats, and moving from there. I'm also planning on feeding them breakfast in the pens in the morning and dinner in the coop/run in the evenings to further entice them to follow me where I want them to go.

    Does anyone do this and is it feasible? Or are they just going to get too distracted by everything outside and am I more likely going to end up playing chicken round up everyday? Unfortunately free ranging without supervision is out of the question where we live.

    Thanks!
     
  2. TallChickMagnet

    TallChickMagnet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From my experience you can teach them to follow the food. After a while they will associate you with food... :)
     
  3. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 26, 2012
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    You can train them to follow food, but that training will show best when they are hungry, which isn't likely going to be in the evening when they have foraged in their pen all day. Would it be more feasible to build a smaller, more movable "chicken tractor" for free ranging? My friend, uses a chicken tractor, and it is a pretty good option, and it can also double as a brooder when you're ready for babies.... believe me, you will want babies!! Search "Chicken Tractor" in the forum, there are tons of ideas there!
     
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They love routine and food. If you only feed them in the pen in the mornings I think you could pull it off with a little patience.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  5. jdaly91215

    jdaly91215 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone! I'm hoping this set up will work and I can train these pip squeaks when they come :). I can't even handle the excitement. I can definitely see your point about it being harder to get them to follow me after a day of foraging, but hopefully their instinct to go back to the coop for the night will help with that in combination with some tasty meal worm treats. I guess we'll have to see. I can't wait to start building and experimenting!
     
  6. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Getting them to go home at night should actually be the easiest part. They really do LOVE routine. If you such them inside the coop for the first 3-7 days they live outside (grated there is enough room in there), they will sleep there and in theory should want to return there every night unless something spooks them.

    If you find yourself struggling to get them in try putting a little light on inside just at bedtime -- as it gets dark outside they will want to go where it is light. This can probably be temporary.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

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