dealing with stress, and catching chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicknmania, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    We have been trying to catch all our flock over a period of three days, in order to administer this vaccine!:mad: Last night we had caught all but two by dark; had to stop for other commitments (work, school, life, that type of thing). One of our young roosters waited til we left, then punched through the top of the high walled pen they were in, by apparently hitting it repeatedly til he loosened a staple, then leading two hens to freedom [​IMG] this was after dark no less! They then flew to the rafters to roost, where we couldn't reach them. This is day three of us trying to catch all of them; the ones that are loose now are becoming very wary. So here's my questions:

    1) any ideas how to catch them? One of the loose hens went back in the pen on her own this morning, at feeding time, so four remain. We have tried nets, blankets, and bribing with mealworms. Today we set up a trap to feed them in , but they won't go in all at once. The hens probably would, but this rooster is very smart and cautious; he won't even let them begin to get near us. Obviously they are confined to the barn now but it is very large and they have lots of room to fly around. We are becoming concerned about stressing them to death, and all the others, too!

    2) Anything we can feed them, to help combat stress?

    WE NEED ANSWERS FAST!
     
  2. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    The easiest way to catch a bird is at roosting time...They sort of shut off after dark.
     
  3. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    I wish it were that easy!!! These are roosting in the highest rafters of the barn; we can't even reach them with a ladder. We even tried knocking them off the roost with a blanket ball, or getting them to step on to a perch we held up to them, but they just fly to another rafter. [​IMG]
     
  4. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh boy - a challenge! Hopefully they will relax if you can take a break for a few days from trying to catch them, as long as they are safe in the barn and get get to food and water. Then the bribes will likely do the trick. Mealworms are a great bribe so you are right on the money there! A few blueberries, a small amount of a good quality whole grain bread, pieces of green grape or tomato, black oil sunflower seeds....
    A small amount of Rescue Remedy (one of the Bach remedies) in their water, for stress.
    Am I visualizing correctly - your coop is inside your barn?
     
  5. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    I thought of that, too, leaving them alone for a few days. That's what we did today, and we have been going in and out of the barn, and ignoring them. We made a sort of makeshift three sided pen with a roof, and have been feeding them only in there; they won't all go in at the same time, though. We hope we can trap them in there. We're anxious to vaccinate quickly as we have a few sick birds. Rescue remedy is a great idea I didn't think of!

    Their coop is in our pole barn, yes. Most of the other chickens are in it, and are very unhappy about being there, especially our "boss" rooster who cheerfully led most of the hens in there for us the first day. It's him I'm most worried about stressing out... or getting sick;he's eight yrs old, and my favorite. We have a couple of individual pens as well. Normally they can enter and leave the coop as they please.

    I thought of borrowing a really long ladder if I can find one, and going up there at night; but I think by the time we turned the lights on and climbed up there, they'd be awake, and ready to fly, wouldn't they?
     
  6. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you work by torchlight then you'll be fine.

    I'd also recommend a long handled fisherman's net.

    When you get them, you might want to consider clipping a wing.
     
  7. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I was gonna suggest a net also.... One of those miner's helmet lights are an awesome help too...lets you hold onto the ladder with both hands...
     
  8. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

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    We are gonna set up an extension ladder, I guess, where they roost, then come back tomorrow night or Friday night if nothing else works. (They do love the blueberries but haven't all gone in the trap at the same time) Has anyone ever tried one of those leg hooks to catch them? We have a neighbor who uses those; it works, but the chicken ends up hanging upside down from the hook til you can grab em. We were worried it might dislocate a leg, or worse, but our neighbor swears that it won't do that.
     
  9. soonerdog

    soonerdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have used the leg hook to catch some chickens roosting in a tree about 10 or 12 feet high. I just hooked the leg of the chicken and brought them straight to me before any flopping, flapping, and twisting occured. It didn't hurt them at all. I was standing on the ground though. But I don't know about you guys climbing a later and attempting to use a leg hook to catch those birds. That sounds way to dangerous of a thing to be attempting that high up. I hope you all get this resolved. This makes me nervous to hear. Be safe and be careful.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2007
  10. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon Premium Member

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    O.K., don't know if this will work for chickens, but it does for obstinate turkeys: We had the two hens playing hooky in one of the hickory trees about twenty feet up. I used the ladder to get close enough to toss one end of a rope across the branch. Cass got on one end of the rope and I duct-taped one of the grandkid's inflatable balls to the rope. We worked the rope over the branch until the ball was pretty much on it. I then turned on the mil-candle spot and aimed it toward the ground (nice patch of light), then we moved in on the girls by sliding the ball toward them - down they flew. none the worse for wear, and waited to be carried off. This works if it's completely dark and the only illumination is on where you want them to land.
     

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