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Having A Hard Time Catching My Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Awestruck, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Awestruck

    Awestruck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 3 seven week old chicks and 5 five week old chicks. I have put the older chicks in the coop permanently, but the other ones I will probably put in next week. The younger ones are almost impossible to get from the coop back into the tub in the house. I used to pull them out from the run, but they would go under the coop, which meant I had to squeeze my body into the run and go flat on my stomach to try to reach each of them, one at a time. Well, I decided to let them out into the chicken yard. As soon as I try to pick them up, they run away from me. The older 3 aren't this hard to catch. Is there some easier way to make it so I can pick them up?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I have always found chicks hard to catch, herding them into a corner can help.
     
  3. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A lot of it is their age, young birds seem to go through periods where they're super flighty or paranoid, and the fact that you're trying to catch them is just going to make them run. Also, they're probably enjoying being outside and not wanting to go back in (and at 5 weeks, you might want to move them outside anyhow, depending on your weather).

    If you're really struggling to catch them you can always try a net if it's an emergency, or you can try training them with treats to come to you.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have too many chickens to catch during the daytime by actually pursuing them. Closest I come to that is collecting birds off roost at night. My preferred approach is to entice them to locations I want them in using feed or treats. Not chasing them reduces time it takes for birds to respond to the enticements. Grabbing at birds when they see you coming makes for a generally noisy flock.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Sounds like your coop is elevated but not enough to let you easily get under there. It’s probably too late to raise it.

    Where are you located, or more importantly, what is your weather forecast like the next week or so? At 5 weeks they can probably go out now and not wait until next week.

    One possible problem when you do move them out. They may not go into the coop to sleep at night but instead go under the coop. You might want to fence off the area under the coop until you are sure they are going to go into the coop to sleep at night. Or just fence it off now so they are easier to catch.
     
  6. Awestruck

    Awestruck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a good idea. I may want to put some kind of block in the way of the run that goes under the coop. I can slide under it, but then I will be sliding over all the mess they have made since they have been in the run. I did try to allow them to come near me while I sit and they seem ok with that. I am just not fast enough to catch them while they are that close. I guess there is some kind of art that goes with doing this. We are thinking of putting some kind of nightlight in the coop, so it won't be so dark at night. They seem terrified when I put them in and have the door on the other side closed.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    It's so easy to train chickens, chicks, too, to come when you call them, there's no need to ever have to run them down and grab them.

    As @centrarchid mentions, it's much easier to entice them with food to go where you want them to. You would be surprised how quick and easy it is to actually train them to come when you call.

    Chicks are super easy to train in this manner. Just use the same container and verbal cue each time you offer treats. The treat doesn't matter as much as using the same container and word(s). Soon the chicks will come racing toward you when you mention the word(s) or they see the familiar container. If you want the chicks to go into a carrier or tub, just toss some treats into it and they'll hop right in. It helps to have a transport container with a door or make a door in what you're using so they can see the treats and walk themselves into it.

    This training is very useful as they grow older and start free ranging. Often, I will need to get my two dozen chickens into the run in a hurry, and all I have to do is shake the container full of scratch grain and they're all inside in less than one minute. To show you how easy it is to train poultry, I've trained the wild turkey flocks that hang around my grounds to come when I shake the container of scratch grain, too. Food is the ultimate motivator!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They'll come to food, easy....but they often scatter once you start picking them up...haha!
    Depends on the number of chicks and the situation.<shrugs>
     
  10. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, they don't enjoy cooperating when it comes to being actually handled. That's why using a hands-off ploy works better. Using treats to get them to go where you want them to go gets them to associate your goal with something they find pleasant. The key is to use a transport container that is configured to allow them to walk into it, such as a pet carrier with a door. You can make one by cutting a door flap in the side of a cardboard box - no need to spend any money.

    You entice the chicks to the carrier using treats, then when they get to the carrier, you toss some treats into the carrier, they go inside to grab the treats, you close the door. This has worked extremely well for me in the past when I was still using an indoor brooder and doing the day field trips outdoors.
     

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