02 June 2011

Chicken Training

Clockwise from feeder - Leghorn, Silkie, Barred Rock, Unknown (we think)
If you hadn't heard, we got chickens on Memorial Day.  I plan to write about that later, but I wanted to write about something a little odd - chicken training, specifically training them to do what normal chickens do.

After getting the chickens home the other day, I started to wonder how they know to go in the hen house at night if they've never used one before.  I also wondered about the angle of the ramp - was it too steep?  The first night I decided that I would spend the first week teaching them that this was their home, so when I let them out to roam the yard, they would return at night - instead of roosting in a tree or something else.  About a half an hour before dark, I started catching chickens and  putting them in the hen house.  I caught one and put her in and as I'm catching a second, a third one(barred rock) goes in on her own.  That was very gratifying.  The fourth one, the silkie, was a little harder to catch, but she was the only one to actually use the roost the first night - the other three huddled together on the floor.  We weren't at home around dark on Tuesday, but when I went and checked on them later that night, the silkie and the barred rock were roosting in the house, and the two others were huddled together on the ground.  Wednesday I got all four in the hen house, but when I checked on them in the morning, the white one - one of the two either huddled together or on the ground - was on the ground by herself, while the other three were on the roost.

Tonight I went to put them up tonight and the barred rock was already on the roost.  I have no doubt that the silkie will be there as well.  It's just a question of what the other two will do.

No comments: