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How do you get free-range chickens to go in before dark?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by boxermizer, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. boxermizer

    boxermizer Hatching

    Aug 4, 2016
    We have no problem when it's almost dark, they put themselves up, but occasionally we'd like to leave the house before dark and continue to be gone after dark. Chasing them for a half hour has gotten old real quick, and today we weren't successful after that much time. One experience with letting them go ended up with a missing duck (we actually have chickens, guineas and ducks). They used to do real well when they heard the frozen peas or saw the container of scratch, but a couple are getting stubborn.

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    A run may be worth considering. That way, if you are going to leave them, you can confine them to the run for that day. An automatic pop door to the coop would also be something you may wish to consider.
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chasing chickens is good exercise. It accomplishes nothing further. People don't realize how easy it is to train chickens to come to them. It's quicker and easier than training a dog. You can accomplish it in just one day. Even minutes!

    Get a container and fill part way with scratch grain. Stand inside the run and shake the container. Pick a verbal cue and use it when you shake the container. When your chickens show some interest in the sound of the grain rattling in the container, toss some grain onto the ground inside the run. The chickens are now all inside, or will be soon. Shut the gate. You have them.

    Next day, repeat. The chickens will be inside the run so fast, you won't believe it.

    But you'll need to find some other way to get your daily exercise.
  4. boxermizer

    boxermizer Hatching

    Aug 4, 2016
    We have a run. This particular day my husband was adding a nesting box to the coop, so keeping them locked in the run was not possible. However, that is an idea for the future.

    As for shaking a can of scratch, I did that. However, they were a long way from their run/coop (they wouldn't have heard me). Most of them went in fairly easily, it was just 2 that were giving me fits. I even had one of them (our most friendly, easiest to pick up chicken) eating out of the container in my hand, but if I tried to pick her up or lure her to the run with the container of scratch, she ran as fast as she could from me. On another page several people suggested mealworms, cooked spaghetti, sunflower seeds and a few others, so I'm going to see if I can increase their interest in treats by changing things up to see if that helps.
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    You train them to come when called. Every time you go out to give them a treat, you use a verbal cue (whatever you want it to be). That verbal cue becomes strongly associated with goodies. After a few weeks, all you have to do is use the cue and they come running to see what treat you have for them. Chickens are very food motivated and easily trained.

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