She's teaching them bad tricks!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by debid, Jun 1, 2011.

  1. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I have a troublemaker in the flock. Gertrude is a very pretty EE with heaps of attitude. She does not like being picked up or held and boy does she screech when you do! Well, today she decided she did not want to go back in the coop even though the sun was setting. She is not the dominant pullet in the flock and yet she had a little entourage following her lead and modeling her behavior! This group included some of the chicks that were previously easy to catch. [​IMG] I ended up standing a couple of fence panels up as a makeshift corral and herding the naughty sub-group into it to catch them. Ugh. Gertrude climbed straight up that 6' chain link fence panel and stood on the top of the frame like she wasn't sure whether she should jump. I grabbed her before she could decide.

    I keep thinking that eventually they'll view that coop as their safe place to sleep but right now, they just know it's hot and they'd rather lounge in the cool dirt, thanks. I gave them until 6:30 and then forced the issue. I could hear the owls starting up, it's just not safe for them to be out at dusk...
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Start throwing a handful of sunflower seeds inside the coop when you want them to go inside. They will eventually race in there each evening when they see you coming to be the first ones at the seed.
     
  3. earnhardtlvr

    earnhardtlvr Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have just been "chicken wrangling" for the first thee nights in the new coop and run! Tonight they went in pretty much on their own. Where do u live that it's dark by 6:30?? I live in western MD and it doesn't get really dark until about 9:15pm.

    U know what they say....there is always one bad egg in every bunch! [​IMG]
     
  4. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:It's not dark at 6:30 (the sun sets at 8 here) but the Barred Owls don't wait until it's completely dark out. The coop sits in the edge of the forest with the sun setting through the trees. When they're indoors, they're on the roost at 6. I thought they might go in at their regular time but I guess it's lighter outside and they thought they could just keep partying. I'll be so relieved when their run is finished and I can shoo them in there and then they can hang out all they want.
     
  5. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:Hm... I thought the cicada cup would do the trick but they just watched me go by and then went back to what they were doing. I couldn't just throw live bugs and walk away (especially since they couldn't even see me where they were!) But yeah, the seeds wouldn't get up and go. I don't want to start anything I have to do every night forever, though... Would they become dependent on that signal?
     
  6. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Well, after awhile you can just walk by with a handful of nothing and pretend to throw it and they will still investigate. But, if you do that too many times in a row they are bound to catch on (well your smart/independent thinker will anyhow). You only need to do it until your run is finished.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2011
  7. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh my goodness, what a difference!

    I didn't have any sunflower seed but I know they love it when I throw some rolled oats on the litter for them to scratch and find. So, I took the familiar white cup (that they normally go crazy over because it's full of cicadas) and put some oats in it. I tossed most in the coop near the door and then sprinkled a few on the ground near the entrance calling "chick-chick-chick". They fully ignored me. BUT, at about 6:40, one of them was wandering by the door like she was thinking of going in and she found the oats. She gave the food call while eating them as quickly as she could. A few others wandered over. And then the parade began. It took a few minutes for the last of them to go but I didn't have to catch a single chicken. I did need to lift Maggie but she came to me crying to go in (she does not like the temporary ramp I've been using -- no idea why).

    And troublemaker was #3 into the coop!
     
  8. Roo on Harley

    Roo on Harley Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2011
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    Survival
     
  9. MyKidLuvsGreenEgz

    MyKidLuvsGreenEgz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's what I do. I use those yellow-and-white big rolled oats containers, and all of my chickens and goats quickly learned that means treats. So when I go out to do evening chores, I take my oat container with a little oats or sweet feed or cracked corn or bread or watermelon rinds (whatever) and don't start distributing it until my chickens have started to follow me into the coop. I scatter, then duck out and close the door. They are usually so busy eating that it takes them 5 or so minutes to figure it out. But they are ok with that.

    Food is a great motivator.
     
  10. flockoffour

    flockoffour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also had a bit of trouble getting my girls in for the night at first, and my dominant hen has a personailty a lot like your hen. But after a few weeks they started going into the coop automatically when it got darker. (I also have quite a few owls around my property)
     

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