Catching a Chicken Inside the Coop… and the One Who Escaped
If you’ve ever had to catch a chicken you know it’s not an easy task. The trick is simple, you just have to work smart, not hard. How? You probably already know a chicken can run faster than a human, so chasing a bird around like a maniac is going to get you absolutely nowhere. To make it even more difficult, chickens are smart, so any device you’ve used before such as a pole or net, is something they’ll remember immediately, and run.
There’s a simple answer to catching a chicken, the only drawback is you’re going to have to work at night. Wait until your chickens have gone to roost for the evening. Enter the coop wearing a headlamp (keep the beam of light pointed at the ground) hover over the bird and place both hands over the wings so the bird can’t flap around. Then gently remove chicken from the perch. You can wrap a towel around the bird if you’ll be treating medically, or if you just want a bit more security, especially if your handling a rooster.
Catching an Escaped Chicken from the Coop
You’re going to need a little patience here, but there’s a simple solution. Chickens are happiest when they’re in a comfortable and predictable environment. If one of your birds has escaped from the coop, chickens enjoy their freedom for awhile. However, come sundown they will most likely return to the safety of the coop to roost for the night. The rest of the flock will rarely leave the roost after dusk, so it’s a good bet you’re safe to open the coop door for your escapees return.
Remain calm and unhurried, a chicken will easily pick up on your anxiety. You don’t want the bird to be reluctant or fearful to return to the coop. A sparse trail of scratch leading into the coop might add a bit of helpful incentive. Keep your distance from the coop door, wait for the bird to join the flock, then approach the coop to close the door.
Return to HOME PAGE
Preparing for the Brooder to Coop Transition
The chicks are heading into their 5th week in the brooder and will be ready to move into the coop the following week. This is what I call their transitional week. Their radiant heat heat source is slowly taken away, and they’ll also lose their all-night red lighting.
The first few nights I switch from red lighting to a white night light, then the night light is taken away. By the time they transition from brooder to coop they will have learned to accept cooler temperatures and total darkness at night.
In most parts of the country chicks are kept in the brooder until they are fully feathered, which is usually around 8 weeks. Here in Phoenix, Arizona, by the end of April temperatures during the day reach about 85-90, lows about 65. Therefore, it’s plenty warm to move the chicks to the coop at about 6 weeks. As you can see, they’re pretty well feathered already!
The Finished Coop
The coop is an existing 10×10 x walk-in covered dog enclosure converted to a chicken coop. It’s inside a 3 stall covered open air barn, offering them plenty of shade and fresh air. It has taken almost 3 weeks to completely cover the chair link fencing with 1/2 inch hardware cloth.
Needless to say, I have spent my self-quarantine time wisely. Unfortunately, my fingers are a mess from working with stubborn wire and zip ties.
Predators have been a problem in the past, we have had our share of traumatic experiences with hawks, bobcats, and coyotes. I’ve lost at 8 birds over the years, with so much time on my hands, this was a good time to put the effort into predator proofing the coop. Not to mention keeping wild birds from entering the coop and eating all the chicken feed!
Tip: Chicken wire isn’t going to keep your birds safe from predators, always use hardware cloth. Chicken wire can be chewed through or easily bent to give predators access.
Also, lay /bury hardware cloth at the base of the coop to prevent digging by raccoons and coyotes, etc. More About Predators
Resource Directory, FAQ’s, Informative Articles
During these uncertain times, it’s understandably a worry when you have shop for the farm or pick up feed. I want to pass some reassurance your way and give TSC (Tractor Supply Co.) a big thumbs up for having online shopping with curbside pick-up. I was able to get everything I needed, called when I arrived to the store and my order (a truck load) was brought out by an employee who put it all in my truck! No worries, shop TSC if you have one in your neck of the woods.