Picking Hens and Cockerels out of trees

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ShaneandAsh, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. ShaneandAsh

    ShaneandAsh Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,

    We have a flock of eight chickens, well they're really my Dad’s but we've more or less adopted him as he has another flock that they haven't been integrated with. Quite recently all but three of the chickens have taken to sleeping in the trees and not in their coop.

    Normally they free range during the day but over the last week we kept them locked in their run to try and encourage them to sleep in their coop but unfortunately as the thread title suggests today when we let them out again they went back to their old misbehaving ways and seven flew into the trees.

    Tonight I managed to lift one of our chickens off his spot on the tree and put him in the coop, I guided/chased one of the roosters who goes into the trees into the coop so now we just have 3 in the trees.

    One I can't reach, as she's too high up but there is a pair (a rooster and a hen) who I can get my hands on, the problem is I'm fairly sure the minute I put my hands on the rooster he'll peck me, and that's not something I'm too keen to happen when on a rickety step ladder. Also he's infront of the hen too so I'd have to reach over him to get her.

    Anyway to get to the point of my post can anyone advise the best way to get a hold of the rooster without endangering either him or myself?

    We thank you in advance!

    Shane and Ash
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. Without endangering yourself, would it be possible to scoop him up in a short handled fishing net? If he is the type to bite you, he's a candidate for the crock pot. If they are allowed to sleep in the trees, predators will eventually locate them.
     
  3. ShaneandAsh

    ShaneandAsh Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Sourland, thank you for the welcome and advice!

    A net could work. Should I just put it over his head and flip it so he's upside down? Normally he's not aggressive but he'd be more wary of us than some of the other eight. After I relocated the first hen tonight I climbed up again and just put my hand above his back to make sure I could reach him comfortably and his head turned immediately and it looked like he wanted to peck whatever was hovering behind him.

    After trying the "lock them in the coop for a week" tactic and it failing so spectacularly I'm keen to just try picking them out of the trees to see if they finally get that the coop is the place they're supposed to be sleeping in.

    There are four definite hens in flock and two definite cockerels. The two others are most likely Cockerels too but we're still holding out hope that them might not be :) Could the reason why our chickens won't all go into the coop be down to the high number of males?

    Here in Ireland it's mainly foxes and dogs chickens have to be wary of so the main worry is a fox might get the chickens when they jump down from the trees in the morning, also I'm not keen for the rooster to be crowing at the break of dawn as the neighbours won't be too happy.

    Additionally, at the minute the eight have the unfortunate habit of visiting the neighbour's garden. There's a pretty high fence, which I reinforced, but they all seem to be really good flyers and too adventurous for their own good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  4. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Why make things more complicated than they need to be?

    Take a 1 inch by 6 inch board of appropriate length, and after the chickens have come home to roost and all is quite and dark, slowly but firmly put one end of the 1X6 right in front of the target chicken's feet and push up against its breast like you were going to lift the chicken straight up off the roost. The chicken will transfer its feet from the tree limb to the end of the 1X6 board.

    Now lower the chicken by slowly lowering the 1X6 board hand over hand. It would be nice if you had someone standing by to pick the chicken up from the rear. Don't startle, grab, lunge, seize, or scare the chicken in any way. Sometimes a bright flashlight to temporary blind the bird is best and sometimes working in darkness is.

    I still have two pullets roosting 40 plus feet up a yellow popular tree. Do any of you know were I can buy 40 foot lumber?[​IMG]

    I forgot to mention that since Ireland is on the metric system that you will need a 25.4 X 152.39999999999998 MM board, not a 1X6 board.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  5. ShaneandAsh

    ShaneandAsh Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi chickengeorgeto,

    Thank you for the advice! Two nights ago I Tried the 1x6 board technique. It kind of worked, I managed to get him to put one foot up on the board but he was really wobbly. I managed to pull him closer to me so I could grab him and let the board drop. He wasn't too happy but he didn't try to peck me which I was very relieved about.

    The hen who we relocated on the first night went to roost in the coop the following evening so I'm hoping the rooster and hen we moved the following night will follow suit.

    We haven't been able to test it yet because we've all 8 in the coop at the minute (lured into the coop last night with food) and want to keep them there for a few more days.

    Is it possible that once a hen or rooster is lifted out of a tree they no longer consider it safe?

    Thanks again for all the advice, this site is a wealth of knowledge! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    You might try cooping them up in the afternoon before it is time to roost and closing them in the coop for the night - luring them in with food will probably work fine. After they get used to going in for the night they will likely settle there on their own.
     
  7. ShaneandAsh

    ShaneandAsh Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks 1muttsfan,

    We tried two stints of that.  First time we kept our chickens in their run for a week, it was a complete disaster - the night after we let them out again, all five of the chickens who were sleeping outside flew up to the trees.  Second time round we just kept them in for 3 days and now all but one stubborn rooster is sleeping in the coop!  And it's the same roo I lifted out of the trees!!  
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    You have impressed this old man with your grasp of what's on a chicken's mind. That is commendable.

    The goal in life of every cockerel is to grow up one day to be a cock-of-the-walk. Therefor every cockerel is constantly trying to establish a home territory and gather a harem be it ever so small. Part of this behavior (as with men) is to convince his ladies to sleep or roost with him. Sometimes all the flock will roost more or less in the same place but each mini-flock or harem will go to the roost at different times or on it's own schedule. That is if there is not a rooster in the flock old enough or strong enough to lord it over all the other male birds. If you wish I guess you could look at it like an X rated or testosterone driven version of the pecking order.
     
  9. ShaneandAsh

    ShaneandAsh Out Of The Brooder

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    I suspected it might be something like that!

    For two days in a row now 6 out of the 8 of our flock are willingly going into the coop at night. It's just one cockerel and one hen now who are being stubborn and still flying up to the tree.

    The interesting thing is that he's the cockerel who I started this thread about. Using chickengeorgeto's method of the 1x6 plank, I seem to have stopped him roosting in one tree however he's now relocated to the second, harder to access tree, the clever so and so! When I use a ladder and a broom handle I can reach him now but I'm worried if I do it in the dark I'll knock him out of the tree instead of getting him to perch on the end of the broom and reel him in.

    Anyone got any thoughts/suggestions/advice??
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013

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