Seriously? It's like herding cats! or, well, chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by PeepsBMobbin, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. PeepsBMobbin

    PeepsBMobbin Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    We had an issue with my dog and I don't trust her around the chickens. She has been in the family for 5 years and has had free reign of our 1 acre property forever. Then come the chickens. I finally got a chain link dog pen for the dog to go into so that I can let the chickens out to free range. But unfortunately I can't really let them have free reign of the property all day, or the dog would have to be cooped up all day. So I figure it will work to let the chickens out for a few hours every day and put the dog in her pen for that amount of time. So my problem comes when I need to put the chickens back in their secure run. I give them treats and call them, nothing. I have to pick them up and carry them into the run and after I pick up the first one, the rest just run away from me. I don't want to train them to run away from me by doing it this way... there has to be a better way. They were in their coop exclusively for almost a month before I let them out, and they have plenty of room, just no green things and bugs to eat. Any ideas? Maybe my treats aren't "good enough" to lure them away from the green grass.....
  2. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 18, 2007
    Pell City, Alabama
    Maybe try letting the dog out earlier in the day so that when she's put up in the afternoon and the chickens go out, it's closer to dusk by the time for them to come up... so they'll come up to go roost in their coop and be more ready to come for treats???
  3. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    I herd my chickens between housing pretty much every day. I use two long handled items, one in each hand, to guide the flock. Usually, it's the poop scooper and poop pan, because that's what I have handy (but I have used two pool noodles occasionally). Routine is the key. Once the chickens figured out what I wanted them to do, they move with very little encouragement on my part. Now I just open the door in the morning and they go straight for their day tractor, even Wrong Way Scooter.

    At night, going back to the coop, Wrong Way Scooter will often head off the wrong way. But everyone else knows the drill.
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I would keep doing the peep,peep,peep when you give treats. Soon they will come running.My girls leave the roo Jack Sparrow in the dust when they hear me peeping.Pretty hilarious sight.Even Jack is starting to run up to me.Sometimes by mistake I will *peep* when I walk by Jack to let him know "Hey I am cool so don't attack me.".and then I have hens popping out of the bushes all over. I feel like the pied piper.
  5. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    IT is frustrating to pick up one hen, then they scatter; not as stupid as some people think (even me b4 getting poultry [​IMG] ) I have to be patient, when dusk arrives, the hens arrive at the coop. GL
  6. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    I agree that the easiest thing is just to let the chickens out later. But it's not hard to teach them a to come for treats when you call.
  7. DanEP

    DanEP Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    Until they are traind to treats only give treats in the run, it will make them want to go in the run without the herding.
  8. GAchick

    GAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2009
    Pembroke GA
    I agree with may others here. Let the dog out early and the chickens out about 2-3 hours before dusk. Easiest way. But if that doesn't work with your routine, then train them to come with a special bowl they recognize as the treat bowl, and call them the same way every time. My call is 'chick, chick, chick', and they all come running...
  9. PeepsBMobbin

    PeepsBMobbin Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    Thanks for all of your feedback! I guess they are still young. They are only 11 weeks. I may have to try the evening hours. They do put themselves to bed every night like clockwork so that is a start. I am sure it was quite a sight to see me chasing down chickens every afternoon.
  10. egg_tastic

    egg_tastic Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    NC Foothills
    It is best in the evening when they naturally want to roost up. My 7.5 week old girls are still in my laundry room (last day today!). However, by 8:45 all the pullets are lined up at a particular door. I open it and they walk to the laundry room. I wasn't paying attention last night, and they tried multiple doors until I saw them [​IMG]

    However, it may take them a few nights to realize a new routine. I know my girls will be confused tonight with a new actual coop. On Sundays I leave earlier for dinner at my parent's house. The girls have to be penned up earlier (5 pm) it is very hard to catch them all! So nighttime is best.

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