I'm not finding another thread on this particular issue so I thought I would just ask people who are 'in the know' about chickens. We are chicken sitting a flock of 6 hens and will have them for 18 months. My sister brought them over coop and all and we have their coop set up so the herd has a fairly large fenced area where they are safe. Already we can see that they are going to be very entertaining, but I also want them to be useful. By useful I mean that I would like to be able to have the chickens help me control weeds and insects in different parts of my yard. We have 3/4 acre of fenced, landscaped gardens. I am not concerned that they will uproot delicate plants, as I'm at the point where that's pretty much okay by me and most of my shrubs are well established. I have way too many plants anyhow. We are working on portable fencing that we can deploy to partition off parts of the yard so the chickens will be able to work a large area for a few days at a time and we won't have to worry about our Australian Shepherd bothering them. (he's a good boy, but he is, after all, a boy dog to whom his territory is important. We don't want to take chances.) So the containment issue is probably solved, but the issue of moving the chickens from one part of the yard to the other is not solved. Catching them is not going to work as we don't want to train them to run from us. Letting them meander around the yard willy nilly probably will not be effective because there are so many tempting places to stop and scratch between their coop and the weedy areas. Even catching them in the area of their coop is difficult because there are mature plantings in there, small trees and shrubs and they are very wiley. We've seen chicken tunnels and the use of a paddock system, but frankly those tunnels would have to be extremely long and would have to turn corners, etc., making that option more trouble than it's worth. I think the best solution is going to involve carrying them to the place where I want them to play. So my husband was thinking that if he built a portable coop, perhaps they could learn to go into that coop, say if we put some tempting food on the ramp leading into it, and then inside it, and once they learned to go into the portable coop for goodies, then we could move it to the area we wanted them in and open the door. Mike was thinking that we could just leave the coop in the work area for a few days at a time and let them roost in that coop at night. I am thinking they will want to go back to their regular coop at night. Their regular coop is a large structure that is much too heavy to be moved easily. Does that sound like something that could work? Do chickens learn to feel safe in more than one coop? If they spend the night in their regular coop, what's the best way of getting them into the portable one? I'm thinking food that they don't usually get but would be a treat for them. Also, what if a few hens go into the portable coop, but the others don't go? Can I separate the herd for awhile without causing distress? We're looking for guidance from the experts here. We only get these girls for a year and a half, so the sooner we can figure this out, the sooner they can get to work eating my weeds and insects. I look forward to it. I already had them in one area of the garden and it's just great! The weeds are almost gone and all I have to do is rake it now. Gotta love that. But we had to chase them down to catch them, and no one enjoys that, including us. We want it to be easy on them, and on us.