Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

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Chants Cottage
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Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256102 Chants Cottage
Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:54 am

There is a double strand to this post... First up:

1 - We have four chickens and a cockerel. At the moment they sleep in a shed and free range during the day. My other half has built them some kind of chicken penthouse suite. The coop itself is about five feet off the ground and his theory is that this will make it fox proof, and then they can come and go as they please. It has has wide mesh on its underside. It has a small door near the apex of the roof, and a ladder for the chickens. My problem is how on earth do we get the chickens to see it as home?? Will relocating them after dark be enough? We can't really keep them in it for a day or two as it has no floor to speak of. And I am slightly concerned about the predator aspect... It's on four legs but has supporting struts which look to me too much like a 'fox ladder' for my liking. Does anyone else have experience of keeping chickens off the ground?!

2 - We recently got three Indian runner ducks. They currently spend most of their time round the back of the shed in the brambles (a different one from the chooks). They will not come near me, and if they do venture away from their dismal corner they scurry back again at the first sign of a human. The plan is to move them into a duck house where they can free range on the grass but I am afraid we will never get them in the duck house. Food is no enticement, though they do eat it when I'm not looking, and splash in their water trough though I have NEVER actually seen them do this. Any duck bonding tips?!!! I am not looking for undying love on their part but just would like to know I will be able to get them indoors and away from foxes at night.

Any advice gratefully accepted... Cheers.

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256108 Millymollymandy
Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:20 am

I'm not sure about 1 but 2 - I was gonna comment on your blog comments actually but here is easier. Did you keep them inside a shed for a few days when you first got them? I've just got 3 new ones and kept them in for 2 days to try to learn where home is, then let them out - although when they finally emerged late in the afternoon they discovered the pond and there was no getting them in that night. Then they had 2 nights in when they came up near the shed for food and I employed sneaky tactics (get between them and pond) and they went in good as gold. Last night they spent the night out again!

They are with my old duck so I hoped they might follow her routine, but.....! I really don't know other than try to get a few extra hands to help herd them in - holding your arms out to try to herd them whilst being as quiet as possible, only talking to them gently in a low voice, no clapping of hands or yelling obviously or sudden movements. It's really not easy! :dontknow:
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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256116 Chants Cottage
Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:10 pm

No... I think we totally freaked them out trying to get them in one night, chasing them all over the place. Daft really - was only so determined so they'd be safe but now they are terrified of US!! Yes - I think we'll just have to keep them in the new duck house (when we get it... trusting that Jamie doesn't fashion some kind of underground lair for them or something) for a while and then cram it with food and stand well back. We could just keep them in the shed but it's in a really gloomy spot and I think they would just be much happier in the field, and they seem so reluctant to leave the enclosure of their own volition.

Well, I've actually just been outside and opened their gate. I may try and coax them out (ie stand at the other side so they run in the opposite direction) and hope that after being in there a good few weeks in there they know where their home is, and come back this evening. Thanks, MMM.

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256130 bonniethomas06
Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:03 pm

Chants Cottage wrote:There is a double strand to this post... First up:

1 - We have four chickens and a cockerel. At the moment they sleep in a shed and free range during the day. My other half has built them some kind of chicken penthouse suite. The coop itself is about five feet off the ground and his theory is that this will make it fox proof, and then they can come and go as they please. It has has wide mesh on its underside. It has a small door near the apex of the roof, and a ladder for the chickens. My problem is how on earth do we get the chickens to see it as home?? Will relocating them after dark be enough? We can't really keep them in it for a day or two as it has no floor to speak of. And I am slightly concerned about the predator aspect... It's on four legs but has supporting struts which look to me too much like a 'fox ladder' for my liking. Does anyone else have experience of keeping chickens off the ground?!


Any advice gratefully accepted... Cheers.


Ooh be careful Rachel, I heard a story once (probably on here) about a fox chomping the legs off the hens in the henhouse because they were dangling through the wide mesh :( I know it must make it much easier to clean, but is there any way you could attach some ply or something underneath perhaps?

And in my experience (sorry to be negative and I promised Andy I wouldn't be!) foxes can get up ladders and through pop holes - it needs to be closed at night. Have you considered an automatic door opener. I do bang on about this too much but we have a battery operated one which opens and closes with daylight - the best £90 I ever spent!

Sounds wonderful though - and to get them to 'learn', we have recently moved henhouses and had to: close up the old one completely and manually go out and pick up the hens still trying to get in the old house, and put them to bed int he new one. It took about a week but they got it eventually. Good luck!
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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256135 Chants Cottage
Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:34 pm

Chants Cottage wrote:I heard a story once (probably on here) about a fox chomping the legs off the hens in the henhouse because they were dangling through the wide mesh


Yikes. Yeah, it's all a bit of a fudge really. The idea was that it was easy to clean, easy to move and the chickens could come and go as they pleased. There are loads of ledges that'll need cleaning, it weighs a ton and has to be supported on concrete blocks and for my peace of mind as much as anything they'll need shutting in at night!! And I did wonder about the ladder... I think it's supposed to be fox proof but I'm not convinced. Oh well. We'll sort something out... All in all it looks fantastic and I am DEFINITELY not moaning. And I didn't think you were being negative at all either... it's all constructive advice and thank you for it!!

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256141 Millymollymandy
Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:35 pm

Ummm Rachel or Sarah? :scratch:

My bloomin' ducks won't come in tonight after being dirty stopouts last night too. :roll: Oh well, at least I won't have to clean out the shed tomorrow either! :thumbright:
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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256144 bonniethomas06
Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:29 pm

Millymollymandy wrote:Ummm Rachel or Sarah? :scratch:

My bloomin' ducks won't come in tonight after being dirty stopouts last night too. :roll: Oh well, at least I won't have to clean out the shed tomorrow either! :thumbright:


oops did I say Rachel? Sorry - I sit opposite a Rachel at work..brain doing one thing, fingers doing another. Sorry Sarah!
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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256151 Chants Cottage
Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:19 pm

Funnily enough, Bonnie, you are I think at least the third person who has had me down as a Rachel rather than a Sarah... becoming ever so slightly spooky now...

Tried to get chickens into chicken house this afternoon, in attempt to acclimatise them (and me) to it. I don't think I'm actually tall enough to do it. I definitely can't reach the pop hole. Jamie has already had to modify the nest boxes as I can't reach in to the flappy bit at the top so he had to build a slidey panel at the side, which is where I attempted to insert the chooks. There's no way I'll get the cockerel in there, not without some kind of intensive yoga-for-cockerels class before hand, anyway. Still no nest box partition or ridge to stop the eggs rolling off and smashing into smithereens either... But I'm NOT complaining, ho no...

The ducks did not venture out this arvo, so I think tomorrow I may tale the plunge and shoo them out of their gloomy place and cross my fingers that they'll come back in the evening...

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256154 oldjerry
Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:13 am

Hello Sarah,if I can just add something..Firstly, you need to get your ducks into a secure pen soon as.If you need a bit of help,enlist it from anywhere.If they're a bit freaked out they will get over it.Foxes are buggers for ducks and your local reynard will soon learn of their arrival.So get them safe and all will be well.All ducks are a bit skittish especially Runners,and quite different from hens.
You'll find with all stock,poultry or any other,that you need TIME .now I know that's exactly what most people don't have,but the more little 10 mins you can find here and there,the better.(even if you spend the time watching them,it'll be well spent).
All our stock have gone,as we await the final sale of this place,that's why I have so much time to spout so much nonsense these days. Best of Luck to you,just a few birds will change the way you look at things.

Ps. Don't you think perhaps a couple of weaners would sort out those brambles??.....

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256158 Chants Cottage
Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:13 am

Well, OJ, they are in a secure place at the moment... They are in a pen and go into a shed (which is in the pen) at night. My fear is letting them out of the pen and never getting them back in again!! I do make a point of going and watching them whenever I pass, sticking my oar in and and hopefully getting them used to me. I think they might be getting a bit more tolerant of my presence but still can't get anywhere near them. I (sniff) just want them to be 'appy... Pigs are on the agenda when we can sort out the fencing. The farm where we got our bantams breeds Devon Blacks and one of these days I will put my name down for a couple. I do love our birds... they've really brought the place to life. And if that was nonsense, OJ, spout away... thank you.

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256159 oldjerry
Sat Mar 10, 2012 9:39 am

Aren't Devon Blacks cats?......Could be interesting when you take THEM to the abbattoir!! When you're ready to do the pig stuff,flag it up as loads of people here have started up with the critters,so there'll be loads of advice re Holding numbers, breeds,etc .etc. oh and plenty of sausage recipes.

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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256167 Millymollymandy
Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:52 pm

I didn't realise they were in a pen with a shed - thought they'd just gone wild in the brambles! I could never get really near my original ducks, except when I was feeding them and then I could stroke a couple of them but other than that, forget it.
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Re: Relocatating chooks and unhappy ducks

Post: #256256 Chants Cottage
Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:09 am

OJ, I think they are more commonly known as Large Blacks, also known as Cornish Blacks, not that I've been googling it or anything. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the ones I saw were pigs and not cats unless they were bald shiny fat cats with curly tails... The ducks spent the night in the hedgerow the other night, but then returned the next morning to their pen of gloom where they remain, despite the glorious weather (thought I'd just get that in). If I ever get anywhere near enough to actually stroke any of these ducks, well, I shall jolly well eat my hat, or at the very least a hat shaped cake.


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