How to Catch a Chicken?
If you keep chickens or plan to keep them, it’s best to know how to capture them. This is the knowledge that free-range farmers should know if the chicken wanders too far away from the rest or makes its way to the neighbor’s property. This article explores a few ways you can do this and prevent the situation.
5 Ways to Catch an Escaped Chicken
There are five safe and simple ways to catch a chicken you can try depending on your confidence level, the tools at your disposal, and the chicken to be captured. These are:
– Luring Your Chicken with Food
As the saying goes, it is easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar. Treats are an excellent way to capture an escaped check and one of the simplest ways that you can try out. It is a method that requires little input from you, and the chicken will simply end up where you want it.
To execute this method, simply grab some chicken food and lay it out at regular intervals from where the chicken is to the coop where you want it to go.
Leave very little food, so the chicken follows that trail to the end. If there are several escaped chickens, you can scatter the food around your feet and gently reach down and catch them as they feed. You can use lures like mealworms, crickets, grains, table scraps, fermented seeds, and chicken fodder.
– Use a Box and Food as a Trap
This is a little complex and requires patience and skill to execute. It is a very safe method and can be used to capture either a single chicken or a pair of them at a time. To use the box trap method, you must think like a hunter. It takes advantage of the first method and adds a box to the equation where you can confine the chicken.
Find a large box to cover the chicken and scatter some food in a corner or near your feet. When the chicken is distracted, quickly cover it with the box and flip the cover closed without letting it out.
If you’re skilled enough, prop the box up on a small stick, ensuring that one edge of the box is lying on the ground. Tie a string to the rod and pour food under the box. Tug the string once the chicken is distracted by the food. This will collapse the box, and you can safely retrieve the chicken from under it.
– Corner the Chicken
This is a good option if time is of the essence or the chicken has gone to an enclosed place. You can slowly guide the chicken towards a corner or a coop section and then bend down to pick up the chicken.
To not agitate the escaped chicken, you must be patient and gentle when guiding the chicken. You must also scoop it up as quickly as possible without injuring the chicken. It is best to avoid this method if you are squirmish, as the chicken may fly at you in an attempt to escape.
– Use a Net or Blanket
You can use a fishing net or a large blanket for this method. A sheet can also do as long as it is on the heavy side since you will need to throw it in the direction of the chicken.
This is a tactic that is dependent on surprising the chicken or tackling it from its blind spit. This means that you have to approach them from either the front or the back. Some food can help in making the method more effective.
Slowly approach the chicken with the net or blanket in hand. Make sure that the net or blanket is not in plain view. As soon as you close the distance, throw the net or the blanket at the chicken. If you do it right, you can capture the chicken on your first try.
If you fail after two attempts, try cornering the chicken before throwing the net or blanket. Making sure the net is attached to a long pole increases your reach but may be a disadvantage if you are not fast with your hands.
– Wait for Until Darkness
Patience pays. When dealing with chickens, it is always good to remember that safe spaces to spend the night are essential as they sleep with their guard down. If your chicken escapes from the coop, you can simply wait for the cover of darkness to capture it.
Most chickens will return to the pen or areas near the coop they are familiar with to spend the night. If the chicken returns, give it an hour or so after dark when it is in a trance and dozing off.
You can then catch it gently and put it back with the rest in the coop. Alternatively, you can open the coop door a little to allow it to squeeze back inside when the darkness comes.
Things to Avoid When Catching a Chicken
The five ways are excellent when properly executed. Catching a chicken is tricky, and their flight instinct is greater than their fight instinct. When you are trying to recapture your escaped chicken, there are several things you should not do.
– Running After Your Chicken
You mustn’t run after your chicken. Remember that even though you are a farmer and the chickens may be used to you, approaching them at a fast pace will scare them completely. You are larger than the chicken in every possible sense and are quite intimidating.
If you attempt to run after the chicken, it will see you as a predator and flee further away. It is advisable to approach the chicken gradually or coerce it towards you rather than going after it at full speed. Running after your chicken will only drive it further away and agitate the rest of the flock.
– Stressing the Chicken Out
Some farmers throw things at the chicken to guide it back to the coop or even scream at it. This is ill-advised as it increases the stress levels of the chicken by making it feel unsafe, in danger, or injured in retrieving it. Stress is bad for the development, diet, and excretion of chickens. It may cause the chicken to go into a hyper state.
Suppose it is a hen with an unlaid egg; it may be unable to lay this egg which could lead to its death, causing stress to the chicken also means that it will be unsettled even when returned to the coop. This unrest will be transferred to the other chickens. This can affect their appetite as well as their laying patterns.
– Using a Guard Dog
Guard dogs are a good way to go hunting for ducks, pheasants, and other wild animals. Never repurpose them to retrieve chicken. This goes for all guard dogs, even the ones that are gentle and look harmless. Dogs generally carry things in their mouths and must clutch their teeth around the escaped chicken to bring it back to the coop.
This is dangerous in so many ways. The first is that the chicken may suffer extensive injuries to its ribcage and abdomen. It may also cause the chicken to suffer psychological trauma, and some roosters may refuse to crown while some hens may find it difficult to relax enough to lay eggs.
The dog will also scare the chicken as it chases it down, and the screams of the chicken may agitate the rest of the coop, causing an even bigger disaster. The rest of the flock may try to escape to safety or rush to their comrade’s aid.
How to Stop Chickens from Escaping?
There are some reasons chickens may escape, with the two most common being curiosity and congestion. Most chicken breeds are curious and try to venture out further than the coop. Sometimes, when the chickens feel confined together in an inadequate space or feel like they are fighting too hard for food, they will fly the coop.
The best way to prevent your chickens from escaping is to ensure that your enclosure is built securely without gaps or holes in the structure where the choice can sneak out. It is also good to provide them with ample food and space to feel comfortable remaining in confinement throughout their lifespan.
It is best to handle escaped chickens’ care to ensure that no harm comes to them and that the rest of the coop is not disturbed or agitated by the incident. A good way to ensure this is to properly carry the chicken when taking it back to the coop.
Use both hands when scooping the chicken, and secure the wings against your body. Do not press it too hard but maintain a firm grip on it. It is also advisable to ensure that the legs are securely held in your palms.
As you release the chicken into the coop, drop it off gently at the entrance and allow it to rejoin the rest at its own pace to avoid disturbance and enable swift integration. I hope this piece will prove useful when it is time to reclaim an escaped chicken.