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How can I get my freerange girls get in their coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SophieCaroline, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. SophieCaroline

    SophieCaroline New Egg

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    Aug 24, 2013
    Hi ya'all! We are new at this! We turned our "old" shed into a coop, we have 16 hens and 5 roosters. We got them last week and we are having trouble getting them into their coop for the night. We have 3 acres, 1.5 acres that is grass and the other part is forest. They loooove to sleep in the forest, they put themselves to sleep in it every night. What can we do to bribe them to sleep in their coop? I don'T want our hens to lay in the forest especially since 4 of them are supposed to lay green eggs (?).

    Thanks in advance! And we don't know what kind of hens we have! They are all beautiful though and are very much enjoying the ticks, organic feed and the massive BlackBerry bushes surrounding the coop!
     
  2. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2013
    Hixson, TN
    My friend suggested this and it worked, keep them in their coop for 1 week and then let them out. Then they should start to go into the coop on their own.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2013
  3. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might try leaving them in the coop and run a few days until they get accustomed to it. It also helps if you will feed them a little something in the coop at night when they come in to go to bed. Food is a good training tool. If you feed from the same bucket or container every time they will learn that bucket or container means food - "if you feed them, they will come". lol Have fun with your birds!
     
  4. Joshua G

    Joshua G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    Welcome to Backyard Chickens.
     
  5. Jeremy128

    Jeremy128 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Outside St. Louis MO.
    Hello! Newbie here myself. It sounds like you first have to get them into the coop right? Coax them in with food. Popcorn works good. Whatever you use, just get htem eating it. THen slowly lead them to the coop by dropping food. They will follow. I also use a call when I feed them. That way they have a sound to associate with eating. It seems to help a bit.
    Lead them to the coop, and close them in. Then as others said, keep them in there for a while. Mine free range all day. When I moved them outside for the first time (when chicks) I kept them in the coop for a week. I then let them out for an hour or two per day. as they got older and more familiar with the surroundings, they got more time outside the coop. Now they go out in the morning, and they put themselves in the coop when the sun starts to set.
    Sounds like you have a similar terrain that I have. I've got 3 1/2 acres. ABout 3/4 of an acres is cleared for the side/back yard and front yard. The rest is heavily wooded. My girls LOVE forraging in the woods for food!
     
  6. Brucepierce

    Brucepierce Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 15, 2012
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    My Coop
    I just started letting my girls out and what I did was I bought cracked corn...I put a bit in a solo cup, I started by shaking the cup and dropping a pinch of corn until they realized what I had...once they connect the red cup and the sound they chase me across the yard to get a snack..it took a day or two for them to remember the sound but now I have to keep the corn in the cup quiet unless I want to get surrounded...quick...good luck
     
  7. Jeremy128

    Jeremy128 Out Of The Brooder

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    Outside St. Louis MO.
    Yep! Thats about what I do. Its getting to teh point where as soon as I step off teh deck into the backyard, they come running! Which isn't a bad thing.
     
  8. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also forgot to add that when I first started letting mine out I only let them out for about one to two hours before the sun started to go down. That way they shouldn't go too far and should go back in the coop as it starts getting dark. Feed them a little bit when they do go back in and they will associate that with something good - food.
     
  9. SophieCaroline

    SophieCaroline New Egg

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    But how do I do to actually start getting in the coop themselves? At first, do i just grab them and put them in their box? What about the roosters? Would my birds naturally get in the coop by themselves when it'll get cold? I'm up in Nova Scotia and winter is pretty harsh here!
     
  10. Triple Willow

    Triple Willow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is your coop big and roomy enough for your chickens to be comfortable (3-4 square feet/bird)? Do you have poles up for them to roost on? Do you have an attached run that is roomy enough (10 square feet/bird)? If both are roomy enough and if at all possible I would catch all the birds and put them in the coop/run and not let them out at all for a while, at least two weeks. They won't be happy with you! lol Then I would go out about 1 hour before dark and let them out. They shouldn't go far. Then when it does begin to get dark they should go back in the coop and get on their roosts. Also, when they do go in feed them. You could try getting them to go back in using feed a little while before they are ready. Do that for a month or so and they should learn that feeding time and bed time happens at the coop. What breed of birds do you have? Some just like living wild more than others.
     

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