getting chickens into the house at night...REALLY NEED HELP!!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by WagarFamilyFarm, Jul 22, 2008.

  1. WagarFamilyFarm

    WagarFamilyFarm In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Nashville, IN
    Our ladies are testing our sanity! They are about 10 weeks old and have been out in a fenced area with their elevated coop. We have a ramp to let them in and out and leave it out all day. But the question is, how do we get them in at night without highly stressing them out. The other day my dh and I plus three of our kids 7 and under all chased the chickens till we grabbed them all and got them in while our one year old watched, sitting on a blanket outside the fence! There has got to be a secret to this!

    Farm mama
  2. Jster

    Jster Songster

    Dec 11, 2007
    My only tricks are treats and...pool noodles!! They are great for herding the chickens, lightweight, brightly colored, and my girls are sort of nervous about them so move in whatever direction I get them to go. Usually, when its time to put them away, I through some scratch in the coop and start herding them in, once a couple go, the others follow pretty docilely, but it took awhile to get to this point.

    Other than that, just try to enjoy chasing chickens. It's kind of fun. A secret pleasure of mine, makes me feel like a kid again.
  3. Quote:What time are you trying to get them in? They should go in on their own in their time, usually around dusk. Mine have been doing this since they were about 5 weeks old. They are 10 weeks now and like clockwork they head in.

    If you have to, keep their feed in their coop, not outside and lure them in for a night or two. Chasing them probably freaks them out more. Good luck!
  4. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    We keep food and water in coop, so they know that THAT is home.

    Besides they are all trained so when i go out and snap my fingers, say "Time for bed, Ladies" and they all tromp right up the ramp and go to bed lol

    They've done that since day one of the coop....
  5. WagarFamilyFarm

    WagarFamilyFarm In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Nashville, IN
    Thanks everyone...I will try to enjoy chasing them more:D. It was fun to chase them with the kids because it was total chaos: chickens and kids in every direction!

    Well, I brought a bowl of barley and grit outside after coming inside to regroup and went out whistling (which lowered my stress level significantly and perhaps calmed the ladies too) to announce my arrival, all the while shaking their treat. I let them peck at it awhile to see what it was and then put it in the coop. I went inside and waited about 30 minutes. There was a few diehards, but they all went in!!

    But Amethyste, I've got to know how you trained yours so well!! Just luck? Tell me your secret!
    Farm mama
  6. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo...

    LOL I have no idea to be honest....

    I keep them in the coop for 2 weeks when they first went out there. I then let them out and started training them to go inside at night time when i snap my fingers... my head hen at the the time picked it up and everyone else followed


    Its quite funny tho....SNAP go fingers and all will start moving up the ramp....theres always one or two who hang back like "OMG does she REALLY mean it??" but then they hustle their bums when they see everyone else lol
  7. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

    Apr 22, 2008
    Wish mine were trainable like that, lol. We don't yet have a run for our girls so when they are allowed out, they just roam around the yard. We have two dogs, one of which is not at all trustworthy around the chickens so anytime the dogs have to go out, the chickens have to go in. I try and time it so that the dogs will be going out at dusk when the chickens are already naturally in their coops but it doesn't always work out that way. We end up chasing chickens a lot! I can't wait until our run is built...
  8. LilBizzy

    LilBizzy Chicken Storyteller

    May 20, 2008
    I was lucky, I guess. The "big girls" found their way in and we never had to show them. The "babies" we showed them the first night, but because of their temporary pen design, we couldn't show them any more than the first night. But they made it in.
    The big girls come wandering as it starts to get a little dark and go right in. The babies- one goes in and peeps like mad till all the rest come in.
    Tonight, 5 of the babies were not going in. so I pointed to the door and said Get to bed.. ad they ran in.. LOL it was cute
  9. tiki244

    tiki244 Flock Mistress

    Jan 1, 2008

    Yeah thats cute, I tell mine to 'get inside' and they go, except now I have some newer ones that dont have the routine down yet but they are getting there.
  10. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I don't think that chasing chickens is a good idea for you or them. It just puts them in a panic and wastes your time & energy. It's so hard to out-manuever a chicken, they've got moves like NFL players. Why upset them needlessly?

    Chasing chickens is different than driving them, slowly & calmly persuading them to go where you want them, using pool noodles or pieces of PVC or broom handles or palm branches, whatever, to guide & direct them.

    Chickens at 10 weeks are still so young, they may not have the good sense to put themselves to roost that older chickens will have. Try keeping them in their coop/run for a few days, then let them out only an hour/half hour before dark to see if they'll return by themselves. If they do, then you can start letting them out for longer periods.

    Instead of chasing them, condition them to come to you when they hear a certain signal. Whistling, rattling corn in a can, calling here chick-chick-chick, whtever. Just so they get accustomed to receiving treats when they hear that sound, and connect your presence with something good, not a scary chase.

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