Training Juveniles...

Brillig

Chirping
May 20, 2016
66
5
54
I'm about to integrate my juveniles with my flock and I'm not concerned about them getting along...I am concerned that I will lose some of them to the woods around my yard as I have in the past while they are getting trained to come back to the coop at night...Will they follow the adults and how can I get them into the coop quickly if they don't??? Last year we lost about six hens before the roosters grew old enough to do their job...Now, they basically come when called, but don't want to lose the young birds like we have in the past...
 

triplepurpose

Crowing
12 Years
Oct 13, 2008
1,018
265
289
Not sure i can offer much without more deets on your coop arrangements...

If there were a way to confine the young birds (temporarily) in the coop or adjacent to it that would be helpful, (but not knowing your set up i cant know if this would be feasible or humane)? Some variation of that is probably most common practice. Separate from the older birds but visible to them, that is. this allows time for everyone to get used to sharing the space, but prevents physical interaction. Once the young ones are accustomed to the coop being home and both groups are adjusted to eachother, they can be let loose and they will return on their own.
 
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Brillig

Chirping
May 20, 2016
66
5
54
Thanks Triplepurpose...

They are in a pen within the larger pen, which is why I said, I'm not concerned with integrating them...I know this method works, as I've used it in the past...But now that my hens free range, I'm concerned that the juveniles will wander off like last year's juveniles did before they were trained to go back to the coop at night...Not sure the juveniles will just 'follow' the older hens at first...If they need to be trained to go back to the coop like the current hens did, then I face losing some of them in the interim...Just trying to avoid last year's mess...
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,719
34,169
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Are you sure those juveniles in the past simply "wandered off" or perhaps they were nabbed by predators? My bet is on the latter.

You can easily train chickens of any age to come when you call them by conditioning them with treats as you use a verbal or even visual cue. By the time chicks reach six to eight weeks, they pretty much know where home is and usually won't wander out of sight of it.

Being small, though, they are easy prey until they get larger, so I would supervise free ranging for a few weeks.
 

Brillig

Chirping
May 20, 2016
66
5
54
No...I watched them wander into the woods at dusk and never return...I lost several that way and I'd rather not repeat the events of last season...

The Cochins don't seem very 'trainable' as they are so timid...Likewise, the integration is not going very well since they refuse to interact with the other birds and just stay huddled in the corner...
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,022
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Were they trained to the coop? If they were not sleeping in the coop before you started letting them out to free range, that might have been the issue. I could see juvies wandering off to find their own sleeping arrangements if they didn't feel secure in the big coop with the adults. If that was not the issue, I'm guessing that they got picked off by predators. I've found that juvies like to stay up later than the adults (typical teen agers). So, if they weren't well acclimated to flock and coop, may not have "gone to bed" properly.

Otherwise, I'd with hold their evening meal, and before dusk, entice them into the run with a feeding of scratch or even their crumble/pellets/FF. Then, it's easier to monitor their "bed time routine."

Have you trained them to come when you shake the scratch can and call them???
 

Brillig

Chirping
May 20, 2016
66
5
54
The adults are...As I said, these juveniles (all Cochins) are too shy to mix with the adults (even though they are the same size) and so training them to come when called, may be difficult...
 

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