Training hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jrudolph305, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. jrudolph305

    jrudolph305 Songster

    Dec 1, 2009
    Meadows of Dan, Va
    We have 5 hens from 25 weeks to a year old. We would like to let them free range--but don't want to leave them out unattended--but when we did the young ones were hard to corral and get back in the run. I was thinking of every time I bring them snack food in the morning or treats later in the day I would blow a whistle. Hopefully after a while they would come running when I blow the whistle. Is this remotely possible or just a dumb idea?? Hoping for a Pavlov chicken theory.
  2. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing 11 Years

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    That is basic animal training and it should work. Though a wistle may be too hard. I call like a rooster or simply yell "come on girls". For a chicken the sound is not the reall important point. It is the treat. If I have a bucket or a bag they will follow me to the ends of the world.

  3. I have heard of people who use a treat can. But I have also learned that chickens will go home at bedtime. We have a nice sized yard, but since live in a neighborhood, and our girls can't really "free range 'till their hearts content", we let them out in the evening. About an hour or two before dark. By dark, they make their way back home without fail every time. It's really cute to watch.
  4. rosiethechicken

    rosiethechicken Songster

    Aug 2, 2010
    If they already sleep in a coop, then they will head back to coop at dusk.
    Make sure they don't fly over the fences that they cannot come back.
    Or that they fly onto trees (our chicken tried once and we clipped their wings).
    Otherwise, our girls (from day one) come back to coop after full day of
    free range.

    Also make sure you feed them (if you do) closer to the coop so they know
    thats the place to count on for food anytime.

    In other countries, I have seen chicken come to
    specific house (their owner) at dusk after full day of freeranging
    through the town/village. So they are good at that.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    They will go to their coop at dusk. However, if you want to call them all back, they can be trained like pavlov's dogs. Call them, shake a can, blow a wistle, they will learn it means food and come running. My birds some how have learned what my car looks like when i come home and they come running to it, even if I have not been home in 6 weeks.
  6. PeepersMomma

    PeepersMomma In the Brooder

    Aug 8, 2010
    My chickens will come running when they hear me call for them. I usually have food with me so they associate something good with that. My chickens are free ranging and they make their way back to the coop at dusk time and put themselves in and when they are all accounted for, I lock them up for the night to keep them safe. [​IMG]
  7. tjweaver84

    tjweaver84 In the Brooder

    Jun 13, 2010
    Winterville, NC
    My chickens have learned what the deadbolt being opened sounds like and come running because they know I will be going out to give them food or attention
  8. snowflake

    snowflake Crowing 8 Years

    Aug 21, 2009
    Belding Michigan
    [​IMG] Just treat them every time you call them, I call
    'henny, henny, henny" and they come running from were ever they are, if I need them in the run I go in and call them ,they come running. My grand son took care of them while we were on vacation, and they learned to come to him almost as fast. They do always come in at dusk, Have fun, they love to eat so almost any treat will do.
  9. Ha, that's funny Snowflake, because yesterday we harvested some sunflower seeds. I shook the can and yelled "Here pig pig pig!" and 3 of our girls came running. No training required, they were just pretty sure I had something yummy to eat! [​IMG]
  10. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I agree with everyone else, but would also like to add a point, my girls come running to see me when I get home from work if I have a treat or not, they know me as the food god, but it will help if you have a familiar sound every time if someone else needs to feed them and put them away. my dh had the most awful time for awhile trying to bring them in because they didn't know him as the food god, and I also heard a story about somone trying to call someone elses chickens the way they heard the lady do it, and the chickens made no response to her voice, so in an eggshell chickens recognise voice and people so the whistle might work if you have more then 1 person looking after them.

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