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My hens won't leave coop - for ANYTHING

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mac, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. Mac

    Mac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2007
    South Central PA
    When my husband and I bought our farmette, we also bought the 4 year old hens too. 5 Prod. Reds and 4 bantams. None of these hens have ever been out of the coop. They did have a small insecure run which we tore down and rebuilt larger and so secure I can bearly get in.

    The dilemma. For 5 months now I've been trying passively to get the hens out of the coop for supervised free-ranging for an hour or so each day. No way. As soon as I open the coop (human-size) door they run to the back of the coop as a group or race for the run. If I sit down with them and give them treats one will eat out of my hand, but the rest can't overcome their fear. They were obviously never handled. Anyway, I've tried sitting outside the door with treats, I've left treats and hidden. They LOVE their treats. Oatmeal with raisens, scratch, whole grain bread, yogurt, mealworms - you name it I've tried it to no avail. I even emptied a 20 lb bag of scratch ouside the open door. They are healthy girls.

    So, should I just force them out (with lots of treats outside on the ground) or do I just let them stay in the coop the rest of their lives? At least I don't think I'll have a problem getting them to RETURN to the coop, if I can ever get them out.
     
  2. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Force them out of the coop and close the door.
    Let them stay out in the run for a couple of hours bfore giving acess to the coop again.

    You may have to do this several times until they get comfortable with being outside.
     
  3. Mac

    Mac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 1, 2007
    South Central PA
    rooster-red - they will happily go into the run, its the OUTSIDE (of both run and coop) for free-ranging that they are terrified of. But, I guess your reply could apply to the "outside too" - just herd (yeah, right) or force them out.

    I must have the only coop/run bound hens around.
    Better than egg-bound though!

    Thanks.
     
  4. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Douglasville GA
    Quote:Just substitute run gate for coop door.
     
  5. Mac

    Mac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South Central PA
    Thanks, I'll do that the next semi-warm day so I can stay with them.
     
  6. BantyChickMom

    BantyChickMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2007
    Henderson, NC
    If your run is big enough that you can go in it, lock the chickens out of the coop and in the run and go in and sit with them for a while every day -- don't try to pet them or anything, just sit with them -- it won't take long for them to get used to your presence and get closer and closer to you before they will all run up to you, eat out of your hand, etc.,
    basically trust you completely.
    Then they will follow you around and gladly come out to free range.
     
  7. Chatychick

    Chatychick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 9, 2007
    Blue Mound, Kansas
    I shut the door to my run and then opened the dorr that I walk into the coop, it took a few days for the girls to get the idea and now when I go to let them out they are waiting at the big door to get out to the real world...it takes some times as they really dont like change and mine were upset tonite as I moved their waterer over to a different spot and the chickens and guinnies are not happy about that...oh well they will get used to it..and it dont take long either.
     
  8. mdbucks

    mdbucks Cooped Up

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    Jul 14, 2007
    EXIT 109 on 95
    you could come get one or two of my roos, they know how to free range(never been fenced in). Maybe your hens will follow them outside. If the roo thing doesnt work, maybe close the door to run so they have nowhere else but OUTSIDE to go.
     
  9. picklespickles

    picklespickles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2007
    oh, this is weird. because i'm on the opposite side of this. my chickens run around. but, if these are four, that seems pretty old. i don't know. i might just let them stay in.

    i can still tell which chickens i got from where by their habits. somethings change about them, but some don't. either genetically or environmentally, they really do get it in their head certain ways to act.

    i feel like such a bleeding heart saying let them stay inside if they like. lol. cause mine are outside all the time except for when it is actually snowing that exact second.
     
  10. Scrambled Egg

    Scrambled Egg Flock Mistress

    Aug 29, 2007
    Fayetteville, NC
    I pretty much agree with Pickles on this one. I would leave well enough alone. You said they are healthy and they now have a bigger, enclosed run...so why expose them to possible dangers/predators and then we are reading a sad post about your 4 chickens being victims. Just sit in the pen with them and pet/love them until they get used to you but leave them in their safe place...just my humble opinion....
     

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