Clickers for chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ybhco, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. ybhco

    ybhco Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 13, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    I've got a flock of four in a small coop in an urban setting. The yard is only half fenced, but they're smart well-behaved birds and know exactly where their boundaries are. They've never even tried to wander off.

    I'm the alpha of this squad, so I can pretty much say "girls, coop up" and they come running. My roommate shakes a bag of mealworms, and they come running for that too.

    To the point: You've heard about people using clickers to train dogs? I just bought a dog clicker to try to train the hens to coop up immediately. This is for two reasons: (1) when we travel occasionally, we'll have someone chicken-sit, and I'm worried the birds will get out and not listen to a stranger and (2) four red-tailed hawks nest near the coop, and they've already taken a few swoops at the hens.

    I'm going to try this out because I need a "get the f-k back in the coop RIGHT NOW" solution. The plan is to hang the clicker on the side of the coop so that it's always there. We'd practice with it so they can associate the click with a handful of mealworms, sort of like shaking the bag works.

    Questions: Has anyone trained their flock with a clicker like this? And if not, do you think it will work?
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Good question! Subscribing as I would like to hear others' thoughts.

    My gals know their names and come when called or "chookeees" for meal worms and treats but if we try either of those at the run door, they know what it means and do not come, even if we have treats or meal worms. Who said chickens were dumb lol [​IMG]

    I think they will just associate the clicker with being locked up [regardless of treats] and ignore it but that is only my humble opinion and as I said, interested to hear others' thoughts.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It can work, just like the 'rattling treats containers'.....just have to associate it with food.
    But might not be foolproof, especially once free range forage is in full 'bloom'.

    There's a bunch of threads about it:
    Advanced search>titles only>clicker training
  4. ybhco

    ybhco Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 13, 2016
    Nashville, TN
    My birds don't really mind being locked up because they associate the coop with treats. They usually get a handful of mealworms when they go back in the coop. In fact, when they get done grazing the yard, they'll often go back to the coop on their own.

    As I mentioned, my biggest concern is these hawks that nest nearby. When we spot one, sometimes we've literally got just a few seconds to get the birds back in the coop. I was hoping I could train them to know that when they hear the clicker, that means "get in the coop RIGHT NOW."

    They've got calls they use with each other for when they spot a predator, and when one of them sees a hawk, they all immediately scatter for cover at full speed. I'm hoping this will function like the "panic" call.

    Anyhow, the clickers arrive in the mail today, so we'll start training them tonight. They're smart birds, and I'm betting they'll pick up on this pretty quickly. I'll check back in and report on our progress.
  5. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2016
    Surrounded by the Amish
    I absolutely think that will work. I have my chickens trained to find me when I snap.
    1 person likes this.

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