Herding the crew into the coop!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mommawolf, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. mommawolf

    mommawolf Out Of The Brooder

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    I feel like I am scaring the poop ( literally ) out of the poor kids when trying to get them back into the coop in the late evening. I have #11 - 5 week old branhms and between myself and my hubby rounding them up in a LARGE run, we feel so bad as they are so scared by the time we catch them all and place in the coop! It has only been two days but is there a "training" ritual that we need to start now? In the past I had had 1 chicken and the coop was level on the ground so I would simply leave the door open and she would waddle in and I would close the door in the evening. I hate to hear them in such distress. Thanks all
     
  2. Cass87

    Cass87 Just Hatched

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    I'm new here and to chickens as well but I kept pigeons as a kid and would always have call or whistle when it was feeding time. That way if I needed them to come down out of the sky quickly or for any reason I could just call them and they'd drop into the loft quickly and easily. I do this with my chickens now too and they always get excited now when I go to feed them and run into the coop to greet me. Going to try letting them free range for an hour or so later today and hopefully they come in no problem. Will keep you posted. Calling them in is certainly easier than chasing them
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  3. mommawolf

    mommawolf Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 27, 2015
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    I completely agree! This is their second day outside and I'm sure in time this will become easier on all of us, so please let me know how your training goes too. Thanks for replying.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Are they used to sleeping in the coop? If so, wait until dark and they may go in by themselves. But they may not. See below.

    If they are not used to sleeping in the coop, when it gets dark they will settle somewhere to sleep. At five weeks that’s almost certain to be somewhere on the ground. If it is truly dark, it’s really pretty easy to just pick them up and put them into the coop. If you have a lot of light down there, that gets more challenging.

    If they are not used to sleeping in the coop, you can try leaving them locked in the coop until they are used to going to bed in there. They are creatures of habit. Get them in the habit of sleeping in the coop and this problem goes away.

    I think you have an added complication. I find that if the coop is raised, chicks that age tend to sleep under the entrance to the coop when it gets dark. Until they learn to roost they seem to seek a low spot to spend the night in a group. That’s on the ground, not in the elevated coop. If the coop is on the ground I just don’t have this problem. They quickly learn to go into a ground level coop. Mine tend to start roosting somewhere around 10 to 12 weeks of age. I’ve had some earlier, some later, but 10 to 12 is about average.

    Even if I house mine in my elevated grow-out coop for over a week before I let them into the run associated with it, they still always go to bed on the ground under the entrance. I wait until it is dark to pick them up and lock them inside for the night. Sometimes they learn pretty quickly to go to bed in the coop, but there have been times I had to do this consistently for three weeks before all of them caught on. I have had them learn after one night. They are individuals with individual personalities. They are not consistent. I generally start this training around five weeks of age.
     
  5. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Put a large cardboard box or two on the ground near the coop. They will settle down in them at dark, and then just put the box in the coop.

    Instead of chasing, which is terrifying for birds. You need a long stick. You can even buy them at a feed store. They are called sorting sticks for livestock, but any long enough stick to tap the ground will work. Stand with the birds between you and the place you want your birds to go. Tap the ground so that the birds move away from you and toward the door. Do not move until they stop moving away from you. Then move slowly again toward them, and call "Hut, Hut". If one tries to get around you, just tap the ground in front of her, and she will head back towards the flock.

    This technique is and example when slow and calm is faster than chasing and feathers flying. This will work well even when they are older.

    But for now, I would use the box at ground level. I too have my coop at ground level, and my chicks have always followed the broody right in. But this fall I will be keeping chicks out in my garden durning the day time, and will round them up with the box and the dark.

    Mrs K
     
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  6. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    This works for me....
    I first get my Chicks used to the coop and run for about two weeks....I then allow to free range as I sit with them...They never venture to far from the coop/run at first.
    If they feel chased, they will run and be frightened...I use a long branch and make a CHICHICHI sound and only use the branch as an extension of my arm...They will quickly learn that sound means its time to go home..Young Chicks are more flighty...Wait two more weeks and try Free ranging again once they are a bit older...
     
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  7. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Thanks for liking my info....Chickens are easy if you never over think them?
    Enjoy your birds!!

    I do!

    Cheers!
     
  8. Cass87

    Cass87 Just Hatched

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    Aug 25, 2016
    Ontario, Canada
    Well I have no update to give on my method. When I went out to round them up last night after their first free range they were already back in the coop waiting for me to feed them lol
     
  9. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's great! My answer was going to be "Food - Food- Food!" Mine are conditioned from an early age to the fact that I'll bring them a treat at bedtime. If I get home after dark, most of them are already in the coop and roosting; the few that are not will meet me when I turn the light on, then go on into the coop to get their treats. If I go out at dusk to lock them up, the entire flock will rush to meet me, then turn and run to the two coops I have and go on in. I'll follow and lock the gates, then feed them treats in the coops. They've learned that they have to go in to get the goodies, so all I have to do is call them "Chick, Chick, chicks!' and they will come, then go into the coops. Food is a great conditioning tool, and it doesn't take much.
     

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