How to get chickens to return to coop after free ranging

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by math ace, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    Our girls are 7 - 10 months old. We would like to start free ranging them for a couple of hours on the weekend when we are home to monitor them.

    My question is - - - - -

    How do I get the birds to return to the coop after a couple of hours ? ? ?

    Is it like my cat or dog or pot belly pigs and I just call their names and they will come
    or do I have to go and collect them one at a time
    or is there some trick to getting them back in the coop?
  2. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Just let them out an hour or so before dark. Once the sun starts to set, they'll automatically return to the coop, which is their "safe place."

    Kathy, Bellville TX
  3. srsmith69

    srsmith69 Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    If you free range them in the evening they should put themselves to bed as it begins to get dark. They will just naturally return to their roost when the shadows start getting long. If you want them to free range midday and put them back in the coop while it is still daylight, you will have to do a chicken roundup. Only fun if your sitting on the porch with a cold drink watching someone else do it
  4. Chick_a_dee

    Chick_a_dee Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Peterborough, ON
    We locked our girls up for like 2 days with lots of extras in their coop. Then when we did let them out (our 4 EE hens free range all day long with free access to over 8 acres of pasture, driveway, forest and garden...basically our whole property) it took probably 2 days of picking them up and putting them in the coop. Now, the minute it starts to get a little dark they're in there sitting on their roosts waiting for us to lock them up.
  5. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    A handy thing to do is to train your chickens to come at your signal. The easiest is to put some cracked corn (chicken crack!) in a metal can, shake it & call "heeerrrre chick-chick-chick!", and toss them some corn. It won't be long before they learn to associate that sound of shaken corn with a tasty treat for them.

    Teach them this before you start letting them out for free-ranging. But you probably won't ever need to use this to get them to come home to their roost at night. Like the others said, start letting them out right before sundown, and let them out a bit earlier each day afterwards. They usually put themselves to bed at sundown. But if you need to summon them at other times, the cracked corn trick is handy to use.
  6. jossanne

    jossanne Songster

    Jul 11, 2008
    Gila, New Mexico
    And always keep their food and water inside the hen house.
    WaDen likes this.
  7. Gypsi

    Gypsi Songster

    I have found that a tasty tomato or some watermelon rind with red on it does a nice job of encouraging my chickens to return to the run. I put it in the clean area under the coop, and call here chick chick chick. Rarely have to do a roundup then.
  8. Toi-toi

    Toi-toi Songster

    May 12, 2010
    Central MA
    I'm having hard time to put them in from run to coop.
    Right now sunset is around 8:30pm and I'm there to put them in but they won't come to coop [​IMG]

    First day, I only put a little amount food in the run so when the time, they just run to the coop.
    But now I hang feeder in the run so they are full when the time, they want to stay out and not coming in...

    I tried treats, but they just grab and run! Back to outside.

    What am I doing wrong???
  9. Tomhusker

    Tomhusker Songster

    May 28, 2010
    Hamburg, Iowa
    Put the food and water inside the coop.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Gypsi

    Gypsi Songster

    My chickens are sleeping in their run, but not in the coop.

    It is summer. Night time temps don't fall below the mid-70's, sometimes it's 82 at the coolest. One of mine sleeps on the roof of the coop, 5 of the other 6 pile onto the perch I put on top of the old (home built no roof now) brooder. And the 6th one was sleeping on the back wall of the brooder. It's under a tin roof, in my secured run. It got german shepherd proofed in May when I had to keep one of my daughter's bird-hunting dogs here for a weekend. it's coon proof. And my non-bird-hunting dogs patrol the yard.

    I didn't even put the whole front wall on the coop - I'll put the hinged side on in the fall when it starts too cool off. It is just HOT. And while my coop is ventilated, so is my garage sort of, but 95 and muggy is still 95 and muggy, and at 10 pm, that's been the temp around here.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: