My chicken won't come home!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MrsNoName, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. MrsNoName

    MrsNoName Chirping

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    Mar 2, 2015
    I currently have 5 chickens - 2 Black Orpingtons, I Rhode Island Red (the boss), and added last year 2 Buff Orpingtons (the Golden Girls). From the start the Golden Girls have ranged further than the rest of the flock and so drawn the others into a wider ranging habit than before but the other 3 almost always come home when called - and a mealworm bribe is all it will take at the worst of times. One of the Golden Girls is now tending to hang out with the others.
    My problem is that one of the Golden Girls is just so independent she is first out of the gate in the morning, not even stopping to share in breakfast treats, and I just can't get her to come home at the end of the day. Unfortunately, we live on a pretty steep hillside with a plateau where the property is located, including the chicken house. Chasing her over the hillside, especially at this time of year which is wet and muddy in North Idaho, is just not an easy option. I am loathe to leave her out all night since there are predators of many kinds on this hill so I've struggled to get her in or kept them all in the run all day but I'd like to find a way to a better solution. Has anyone solved this problem with one loner in their flock?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Have you waited until dark to see if she will return to the coop to roost? Or is she the kind that would end up in a tree to spend the night? Most chickens will return at the end of the day and roost where their flock is roosting. It's in the Chicken Rule Book.

    If you are attempting to round up your chickens at a time that is convenient to you, that is, while it's still plenty light out, you may be trying to work at cross purposes to chicken logic. By waiting a bit later, closer to the time when the chickens sense it getting close to nightfall, your job should be much easier.

    It would be in your best interest to train your chickens to come to you with an audible cue. I've been clicker training mine each time I serve treats. It's so much easier to then use the clicker to get them to come in, no matter what time of day it happens to be, because they have imprinted on the clicker to associate the sound with getting treats.
     
    sourland likes this.
  3. MrsNoName

    MrsNoName Chirping

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    Mar 2, 2015
    Thanks for the quick reply, azygous. I am trying to leave it later but I guess it is still too light for Honey. All the other girls are happy to come home as the sun sets over the hill and are often even in or around the coop by then. Honey seems to be operating on a different body clock. All the others respond to my voice and the shake of the mealworm tub, just not Honey. I'll start working on a later schedule still and see just how late she needs. The clicker seems to be a good idea. Perhaps I can retrain all of them together to the new sound. Thanks for the tip.
     
    azygous likes this.

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