Chickens never go where they are supposed to go…
If you have owned chickens for a while you probably already know how difficult they can be to go where you want them to, when you want them to. When we first started raising meat chickens about 4 years ago, we thought they would be like our turkeys. Turkeys actually herd and move in a flock. We found that one person could easily put 20-30 turkeys back in their cage at any time of day.
Chickens, on the other hand, were an entirely new beast. Bad behavior abounded! Chickens went everywhere, whenever they wanted to! Many evenings, we wanted to put the chickens “to bed” earlier rather than later which means that we were forcing them into their coop before the wanted to go to bed. The main reason we can’t just let them go to bed on their own without locking their coop is because of local predators such as skunks, racoons and foxes. Before we learned how to herd chickens, it would take the entire family to put 20 chickens away. As each spring came along, we increased the size of our flock to a max of 75 chickens. That’s a lot of birds and a lot of attitude.
How to herd chickens without going crazy
So here’s the simple trick to herding chickens back into their coop: Use a hose. Yep, use a garden hose with a streaming spray attachment (or just your thumb to make a stream). Chickens HATE rain and are always looking to get away from it. You can use the jet of water to herd the chickens back into their coop at any time of day, not just evening.
The hose technique turned a frustrating chicken herding effort from a 30 minute frustration into a 5 minute blast. Basically, all you need to do is use the hose spray to direct the chickens to go in the direction you want them to go. Since the chickens don’t want to get wet, they will try to stay away from the water.
An additional benefit of the hose technique is that if a rooster is has a really bad attitude and is being particularly devious, you can spray him with the hose to get him back for his bad behavior.
So don’t let the chickens win! Turn the tables on the devious little monsters and make them go where you want!