How to catch a runaway hen

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bobo, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Bobo

    Bobo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 19, 2009
    Just brought home two free-range hens. One already escaped and is scratching happily in the yard. Problem is...she may get out of the yard or be picked off by the neighborhood hawk. How can I catch her? Dumb question, but a problem I hadn't anticipated. My only solution at this point is to watch her all day until she finds a roost tonight, then grab her and put her in the pen.
     
  2. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    That will be the easiest way to catch her if she isnt tame enough to get close enough to use a long net to get her. But when she goes on roost tonight you can grab her then.
     
  3. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Columbus,IN
    I have heard you should keep them in your coop for the first few days. This teaches them that the coop is there home and safe place. After a few days let them out and they 'Should" come back in at night.

    As for trying to catch them just try carrying a snack ( worms. cooked spagetti, or some veggies) into your coop they should follow you. My girls come running anytime i come outside. Mine are'nt free range but they fight for who gets to closest to me. Good Luck
     
  4. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Chickens must be directed to go where you want. 'Coerced' is maybe a better word. Especially one that is new and doesnt know where home is.

    Shoot, I may as well say it, now: even old birds get real stupid, real fast, once you start chasing them around. They forget where home is, too, under these conditions.

    Besides, trying to run them down and grab them will test even the best Olympic athlete. You usually end up feeling stupid while the chicken goes happily on it's way. So dont do it... trust me.

    You gotta be smarter than the chicken.

    First, get a long stick like a broom handle. What the heck, just snag the broom. Then leave the door or gate open into their space and walk around to the opposite from the direction you wish them to go. Then move gently towards them and use the stick/broom to either side as you go. They will avoid the stick/broom and so naturally go the other way, right where you wish.
    Keep this up until you get them to go into the space and then shut the door.

    WARNING: DO NOT allow anyone else to come between them and where you want them to go. This sounds obvious, but take it from me - once you get them moving, it's easy to get over-confident. Someone usually does, saying something idiotic like,

    "Hah! We got this stupid chicken now... I'll catch it!"

    The chicken sidesteps and shoots off elsewhere, Mr. Cockypants stands there looking dumbfounded and it starts all over again.

    Direct chickens with gentle movement, don't try to catch them.

    Fail to follow this advice and they end up winning --- and you invariably look (and feel) silly.

    ============================================

    P.S. I've also used a large landing net, but it is at least bothersome to get a flapping, squawking chicken out of it. You usually tear the net.

    Instead, make a "hook stick." That's a 6-8 foot pole with a 3" wire hook on the end, with a 1" wide opening. Use 3/16 steel wire if you can get it. Picture a small shepards hook on the end of a pole and you get the idea. Size the hook according to the birds foot.
    In use, you get close to the bird and hook it's foot from a distance. It hangs there looking defeated and you smile victoriously. Believe me, you will.

    They work good, but do take a bit of doing to make. Meanwhile the bird is still loose, you know?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  5. Bobo

    Bobo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 19, 2009
    Thanks, everyone. I didn't deliberately let her out. I had it all worked out in advance to keep the girls in the wire coop until they adjusted to their new environment and would know that I'm the person with the feed.

    Now she will go to some goodies I toss, but not if I toss them near me. She was pretty wild in her previous home. I'm afraid that if I "herd" her with a stick, she will just fear me even more. I guess I'll watch her and give her treats all day, then hope to get my hands on her tonight.

    I'll be looking for more advice. For instance, before this one escaped, I had put a nest box in the temporary pen and the other hen pecked her every time she tried to get into it. Will this happen when I put them in my lovely 5x7 hen house with more than one nest?
     
  6. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    Quote:Cool! That is going to be a blast. Do yourself a favor - chase her fast and hard. I mean, really get into it... shout and holler while you're after her. Make sure you keep your hands extended in front of you the whole time you're after her, too. It adds to the whole effect nicely.

    Chickens are such great fun.


    I'll be looking for more advice. For instance, before this one escaped, I had put a nest box in the temporary pen and the other hen pecked her every time she tried to get into it. Will this happen when I put them in my lovely 5x7 hen house with more than one nest?

    Probably. Chickens are selfish little buggers and they don't like their flock mates to have anything they cannot. Even if they CAN have it, they are still selfish and wont let others have it.
    Just wait til they fight over one nest box. That's always a blast.

    NOTE: Chickens are nearly self-regulating and require far less input from you than you may imagine. They are new to you, perhaps, but people are nothing new to the chicken. They have been trying to avoid us for 3 or 4 thousand years now.

    Make them safe from predators and the elements, give them feed and fresh water and keep them clean and mud-free. Then calmly watch them for awhile. You'll learn a lot that way.​
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  7. Bobo

    Bobo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 19, 2009
    Davaroo, I should have taken good advice and chased her with the pool net. Now she found her way to another yard, then another (we live in the suburbs) and I've lost track of her. Hope she can find her way back to where she started, with her pecking penmate. Otherwise, the hawk will have a chicken dinner this evening.

    My only chicken experience was with Rhode Island Reds and they would follow me around crooning and come sit on the arm of my chair. Of course, they had been pets from hatching. I was prepared for the need to keep these girls caged, but having one aggresive enought to dive under my arm to escape was not in my plans.
     
  8. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    Quote:Let the neighbors know ASAP. She wont go far, once she finds a quiet spot. But she also doesn't know where home is. Get them in on the project quickly, share my previous directions with them and drop the word "chase" from your vocabulary here and now... that's an order!

    As you are learning, chickens are expert escape artists. We're 6 feet tall, they are only a foot - so they see things we cannot.
    Start to see things as they do .... and keep the net handy!

    On a bright note, your chicken might bring you and your neighbors that much closer together. That's a good thing.

    Like I said, "'Aint chickens fun?!"
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009
  9. tn chick

    tn chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 19, 2008
    SW Tennessee
    glad i read this good to be prepared
    hope she finds her way back home.
    i have heard from many people that keeping them confined for a few days is always best but soulds like she had other ideas wanting a day oout on your town,makes you wonder sometimes what animals are thinking.
     
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    Quote:I'd like to suggest, if I may, that the problem lies in the fact that they are not.
     

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