Your tricks for catching hens or guiding back to the coop?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by spotter, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. spotter

    spotter Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2014
    I let my three pullets free range as much as possible but sometimes I need to get them back in the coop in a hurry. I'm sure the sight of me trying to round them up would be great fodder for America's Funniest Home Videos:). Usually if I can manage to pick up one of the three and it makes sounds the others will follow me to the coop, but not always. I've tried patiently squatting while holding out food on my hand and hoping one will come to me, shaking a jar of food, sprinkling food on the ground (the most successful method but it doesn't always work), following them around the yard hoping for a chance to grab one, guiding/chasing them in the direction of the coop (they invariably veer off to side and circle around behind me :/ )... it's all quite comical I'm sure! Today it was pouring rain and I managed to get two back in the coop but the third one was traumatized by the sky falling and would not cross the yard or let me near her (I squatted under an umbrella in the middle of the lawn for ages!)... she eventually appeared on the back deck after I went inside and got herself cornered so I was able to pick her up and take her to join her sisters.

    Today I had time, but sometimes I'm late for work or I need to let my two golden retrievers out (whose life mission is to catch those chickens) and I just need to get them in the coop without all the messing around. And it's not that they don't like their coop -it's got a nice hen-house and good-sized outdoor partially covered run (they sometimes prefer it over free-ranging).

    Would love to hear your tips and tricks.
  2. Mountain Man 60

    Mountain Man 60 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2013
    Duncannon, PA
    I tempt as many as I can with scratch on the ground in the run and guide the others in with a 10 ft pvc pipe behind them. Once they get close to the door of the run I open it and they go in quietly.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2014
  3. spotter

    spotter Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2014

    I like the idea of the long pipe - i will try that. Thanks :)
  4. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

    Aug 11, 2010
    Sonoma County, CA
    I do Pavlovian training! Get a half-sized Pringles potato chip container with the lid. (Yes, I'd tried many other containers...this one has the best sound!) Fill half way with scratch and BOSS, and shake it loudly yelling treats and toss down some goodies. Do this three days in a row at various times during the day and they will come a'running whenever you want them to. Pretty soon just yelling, "treats" works just as well, but I don't like to shout, and they hear the shaker noise very, very well! I never seem to have any issues getting them in whenever I want!
    Good luck!
  5. mallege

    mallege Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 6, 2014
    Eagle, Idaho
    Chasing them around will just get them more excited. Think of yourself as a shepherd slowly guiding them to where they need to go. What works for us is slowly moving a broom from one side to the other, while slowly walking, and guiding them back into the pen. Once a few go in, they rest follow.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Any long stick will work, I like the idea of pvc pipe, but I use a sorting stick. Just position yourself so the hens are between you and the gate. Have the gate opened. Now this is a time that slow is faster. Walk toward them until they start to move away from you, then stop. When they stop, take a step again til they move and stop. If one does not move just tap the ground beside her with small movements. I usually call "hut, hut" but I really don't think it helps. Just keep going toward the gate, using the stick to keep them together, and in they go.

    In the beginning, it helps to have feed a couple of feet inside the gate.

    But I can round up a flock pretty dang quick when I want to, and there is no hysteria.

    Mrs K
  7. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    Conditioning is a good method. We yell "Kanakanakanakana" (kana is Finnish for chicken) and throw some oats into their run. Most of our chickens respond well to this, I can yell it from anywhere in the yard already before fetching some grains for them to eat. The rooster will run into the run immediately, and starts making his "Come on ladies, there's food here" sound. The only ones that sometimes take some herding, are our landraces. They are very good at concentrating on that special spot in the ground with the tastiest treats, and we have to sometimes walk them back to the run slowly. Just start doing something similar randomly throughout the day, and they'll learn to gather up quickly.

    This is the level of obedience I'd like to achieve with the chickens:
    1 person likes this.
  8. spotter

    spotter Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2014
    Wow, Vehve, that video is crazy :D. Training starts today... right now! I've discovered that they love almond meal and I have loads from making almond milk, so here we go. :)
  9. threescompany

    threescompany Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2014
    All that I can say is wow!'
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    LOL!! I think those are ducks?? They herd much easier than chickens.

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