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How to Herd Chickens

Anyone with experience raising chickens knows that herding cats is easier than making a flock of hens go where desired! Quick, agile, and determined to go wherever they want to when they want to, chickens that are being herded will make snappy right angle turns and zoom in all directions with speed that would put a National Football League halfback to shame.

Sometimes it is important to move chickens. A common scenario is when a human caretaker needs to leave long before dusk when birds will automatically go inside and up on the roost.

There are two tricks that almost always work to make chickens cooperate:

True Herding:

  1. A couple of four foot dowels or sticks with some ribbons tied to the ends are amazingly effective herding tools.
  2. Simply hold each stick outward, adding great width to the human profile.
  3. Any bird attempting to circle around the person can usually be stopped short by a quick motion of the stick and a fast shake of the ribbons to spook the hen back toward the desired direction.

A Perfect Lure: An even more effective and far easier way to encourage a flock to hens to go where you want them to is to lure them Pied Piper style:

  1. Keep a distinctive looking small stainless steel bucket near your kitchen sink.
  2. Food scraps delegated to the chickens go into the bucket.
  3. Each day, empty the bucket in the chicken run or coop, much to the chickens’ delight. If desired, you can use a signal such as a whistle or specific call to let them know it’s time for goodies. Over time, this will train the birds to come in for a treat as you dump the scraps out for them to enjoy.
  4. When you need the birds gathered at an unusual time, using your signal and bringing out the bucket should bring them running, allowing you to close their door behind them

Note: Both of these options work best with a team of people. Happy herding!