When letting in and out of the coop to the garden

Salty Cookie

Chirping
Apr 10, 2020
36
27
54
Hi, I have nine 10 week old chicks. They live in a coop with run but I bring them down to a fenced yard in the afternoon. I take them by holding them or putting them in a cat crate. It is easy when I take them out but it is challenging to catch them and bring them back to the coop. At the moment, my daughter and I corner them, catch them and bring them back. We have just started making a fenced garden around the coop, so they are going to be able to just walk out of the door and go into the garden in the future, but until it gets done, we will have to take them down to the garden. What is the best way to let them in and out without having to catching them while they run away? Thinking of making a small-size mobile tractor and teach them to get in it when it is time to go or go back. But would like to have suggestions. Thanks!
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,895
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636
western South Dakota
Instead of catching them, it is better to herd them. This is a case where slow is faster. You need a long stick or broom handle. Go out beyond the chickens so that the chickens are between where you and where you want them to go.

Spread your arms wide, and tap the ground, and say "hut, Hut" or some other similar word. The chickens should just casually move away from you. You don't want them to fly or scatter, just move away. Once they move you stop. Then when they stop and begin to peck again, you take a step or two, tap the ground and call out. Chickens move. Repeat. If a chicken does get behind you, just leave that bird. The urge to stay with the flock will keep her around, and once you get most in, just step back out around her and she will beline for the coop.

If before you start, if you put a small pile of treats, just inside the gate and a bigger one a little farther in, they should go right in.

Mrs K
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,252
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I herd them and also lure them in with treats... best approach with 2 people is to have 1 do the herding and 1 do the treats.

I herd them like Mrs. K posted above, though I use a dog pooper scooper as the "stick" since I'm also picking up chicken poop on the lawn at same time. I yell "chook chook chook" and that's the signal that it's time to go home. If waving the sticks a bit don't keep them moving, most of my birds tolerate being lightly tapped on the rear to keep them moving.

For the treat portion, my birds are trained to the sound of treats rattling in a plastic canister. So if my hubby is helping out, he gets the treats, stands at the entrance of the run, and rattles the canister while yelling "chook chook chook" and the flock will usually sprint the remaining distance home.

If I'm doing this by myself, I herd about halfway (basically within clear earshot of the run area), then get the treats and use the treats to finish luring them back into their run.
 

Salty Cookie

Chirping
Apr 10, 2020
36
27
54
I trained my chickens to come when I call "Yummies!" They know it means they are getting a treat. :lol::jumpy
Instead of catching them, it is better to herd them. This is a case where slow is faster. You need a long stick or broom handle. Go out beyond the chickens so that the chickens are between where you and where you want them to go.

Spread your arms wide, and tap the ground, and say "hut, Hut" or some other similar word. The chickens should just casually move away from you. You don't want them to fly or scatter, just move away. Once they move you stop. Then when they stop and begin to peck again, you take a step or two, tap the ground and call out. Chickens move. Repeat. If a chicken does get behind you, just leave that bird. The urge to stay with the flock will keep her around, and once you get most in, just step back out around her and she will beline for the coop.

If before you start, if you put a small pile of treats, just inside the gate and a bigger one a little farther in, they should go right in.

Mrs K
Instead of catching them, it is better to herd them. This is a case where slow is faster. You need a long stick or broom handle. Go out beyond the chickens so that the chickens are between where you and where you want them to go.

Spread your arms wide, and tap the ground, and say "hut, Hut" or some other similar word. The chickens should just casually move away from you. You don't want them to fly or scatter, just move away. Once they move you stop. Then when they stop and begin to peck again, you take a step or two, tap the ground and call out. Chickens move. Repeat. If a chicken does get behind you, just leave that bird. The urge to stay with the flock will keep her around, and once you get most in, just step back out around her and she will beline for the coop.

If before you start, if you put a small pile of treats, just inside the gate and a bigger one a little farther in, they should go right in.

Mrs K
Thanks! That sounds like a great way to herd them. I will try your method. Thanks!!!
Wish I could train my dog (border collie🐶) to herd them but now, I just don't trust him. He would bite them to death if he has a chance. At the moment, he is trying to herd them from outside of the yard. At least he is guarding my girls from hawks or bald eagles coming to fetch them.
 

Salty Cookie

Chirping
Apr 10, 2020
36
27
54
I herd them and also lure them in with treats... best approach with 2 people is to have 1 do the herding and 1 do the treats.

I herd them like Mrs. K posted above, though I use a dog pooper scooper as the "stick" since I'm also picking up chicken poop on the lawn at same time. I yell "chook chook chook" and that's the signal that it's time to go home. If waving the sticks a bit don't keep them moving, most of my birds tolerate being lightly tapped on the rear to keep them moving.

For the treat portion, my birds are trained to the sound of treats rattling in a plastic canister. So if my hubby is helping out, he gets the treats, stands at the entrance of the run, and rattles the canister while yelling "chook chook chook" and the flock will usually sprint the remaining distance home.

If I'm doing this by myself, I herd about halfway (basically within clear earshot of the run area), then get the treats and use the treats to finish luring them back into their run.
Thanks! I will get my daughter's help! She is (supposed to be) in charge of the chickens since selling eggs is going to be her business.:yesss:
 

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