School chickens...how can I get them back into the coop??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Penny P, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Penny P

    Penny P Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 27, 2013
    Our school has nine chickens, five that we've had since they were tiny chicks, and four hens that were already laying when we inherited from one of our families. Our five hens are laying now, and have never had experience to ranging. The other four ranged at their previous home, but haven't ranged here previously. We have several acres and really want them to be able to range, so we've been working up to it, and we first let them out this morning.

    We had a parent volunteer working in the garden next to the coop, and she was keeping an eye on them while they were out for a couple of hours this morning. The ranging went well overall, but getting them back into the coop was a big challenge with a couple of the hens. What can I do?

    I've been feeding them scraps with the same orange bucket each day, and I've been ringing a dinner bell each time I feed them in hopes that they would respond to the bell once they were ranging. Neither of those methods worked today, nor did my trying to lure them out of the brush with mealworms. It ended up taking three staff members and a couple of quick children to get the remaining hens back in...it was quite an ordeal.

    I'm looking for any suggestions on how I can make this process easier. Should I continue trying to condition them to the dinner bell and orange bucket? I haven't been working with them on it for all that long, so maybe they just haven't made the connection yet? I know that hens tend to head back to the coop at sundown, but since this is a school coop, evening corralling isn't an option. Any ideas welcome...thanks!!
     
  2. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 21, 2009
    Jacksonville
    Chickens don't see well at dusk and sometimes young pullets don't know how to get into the coop. Many times I had to go out and find them in the tractor in the corner and place them in the coop. I started placing a battery powered night light inside the coop. As it got darker the coop was not dark and they went inside of the coop. after a while I could take out the night light. They learned to go up into the coop on their own in a week or so. Mine used to fuss in the dark coop too and they liked the nightlight.

    Good luck with your chickens
    Caroline
     
  3. roseforever63

    roseforever63 Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2013
    I also do the bell and same dishfor (i call it treats.lol) i have never rang bell to retrieve them,i use bread(anykind in little pieces) get some of thems attention,toss just acouple pieces,they will come running.just keep tossing a few pieces, till you toss the remander in the coop :D i have 9 rescued chickens
     

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