Surprise! Free range time!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by schmism, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. schmism

    schmism Songster

    Feb 16, 2007
    Peoria IL
    so we have hazel and Gertrude in there tractor... we move it every couple of days, but on the weekends when we are around most of the day we try to let them out in a make shift pen (i unroll about 60' of 5' tall fenceing)

    but they figured out they can sqeeze through the 5x5 mesh or whatever it is.

    so shortly after we let them out, we turn and see them pecking around OUTSIDE the pen.....


    bout this time the labs notice and the chase insues. [​IMG]

    Gutrude winds up under the old buss, hazel squirts back into the pen.

    while we tie the dogs up, hazel ventures back out....

    so now ive got both wondering around the yard, well hazel likes under the trailer (havnt put the skirting on yet, and Gertrude hangs out by the buss the rest of the day.

    come evening time we keep hopeing they will go back to the tractor which we opened for them....

    instead they head for the barn:barnie the good news is once in side we can effectivly corner them to catch them to put them back up for the night.

    -so they liked free rangeing
    -didnt understand how to go back to the coupe
    -still arnt found of us... like to run away instead of TO us. [​IMG]

    (56k warning, unresized pics)
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2007
  2. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    Sounds like some good ole fashioned dog training is in order.

    If you bring your dogs with you to do chicken chores (tied up at first- even tied to yourself if necessary) you'll find that with an instant sharp tug and a firm "no"...and then getting used to the "family's chickens"'ll not have to worry as much.

    Some folks swear that even though their dogs are good when they are around, that they wouldn't trust them alone. guarding the chickens is my dogs' job. They know the difference between crows and chickens (they chase the crows)...the know the difference in retrieving ducks/pheasants when hunting and not touching the family chickens.

    so they liked free rangeing---All chickens do if given a choice!
    -didnt understand how to go back to the coupe well, it's still a new environment and you're asking them to remember under a stressful situation...but then again...if they can see through the fence, or hear a chicken on the other side of a wall...they try the shortest path...which is impossible. They do have "bird brains" you know!
    -still arnt found of us... like to run away instead of TO us. That's really not unusual. It depends on the breeds, the individuals, how they grew up, how much time you spend with them....if you give them treats, etc. Treats is the best way to get them to come to you...mine come running from far away when they hear me call CHICK CHICK CHICK...cuz that's the call for treats! I can't pick mine up though. Almost all mine are rescues and have had tough lives before I got them.

  3. schmism

    schmism Songster

    Feb 16, 2007
    Peoria IL
    ya my labs are generally considered well trained.

    Stacy (yellow) the older one will calmly sit and "gaurd" the chicken tractor with out bothering the girls, and the girls seem ok with it as long as the fence is between them.

    Zeus on the other hand, hes my "hunter" he LOVES to fetch, and chase anything that moves on the ground. (a true retreiver)

    Do i get any "good doggie manner points" for being able to sucssefully call them off the case and to me?

    We have been talking about "supervised visits" in the pen .... well have a go at it this weekend.

    THey do seem to take to Julie better than me, course she is the one to always be giveing them treats so that could have something to do with it [​IMG]

    I just have to wait for this spring so i can add the other 6 or so and then ill raise the chicks they will then know us as "big momma" and by then perhaps H&G will catch on...

    btw ill be starting on the winter coupe and permant pen within a week or 2.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  4. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    You get MAJOR good doggie manner points for calling him off. As well, you get GOOD TRAINING points. That is a hard thing to do once they've started chase!

    I'm in no way saying you haven't trained them well...I was just suggesting to train them specifically for chickens! If you're a treat person, by all means, bring treats with you into the pen and feed them treats when they ignore the chickens. I personally don't use food as a training aid..but that's my choice. They do get lots of praise though!

    My labs are hunters- and retrieve for us- So I beleive that labs can be trained to both be working retrievers and good chicken dogs! Now I have ducks too and my dogs won't touch them either...and I think that's a tough leap. I also had to train dusky not to chase the "town ducks" when I lived in a small mill town. Now THAT took some was hard for him to understand why he couldn't chase those WILD MALLARDS that I shot and had him retrieve just the day the marsh! He did learn though. People who knew I hunted with him were amazed I could walk through the ducks with dusky off leash...but they didn't see me working with him to learn it either.

    oh- if any of your dogs are still super hyper and super excitable, I suggest you run them good before you start training with the chickens. It keeps them more "attentive" and slightly less exitable. My black lab dusky was a hyper hyper boy until he was 5 (who said they calm down in 2 years!!!!) exercise before training was mandatory!


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: