Catching a Chicken


11 Years
Jul 12, 2008
Northeast Ohio
I hate having to catch a chicken. Every time I'm ready to butcher one I dread it. I was wondering how other people here catch their chickens. I usually end up trying to corner it while it and the rest of the flock are going nuts, scared to death. Makes me nervous and the chickens nervous. Is there an easy way?
I train mine to come at a certain sound- cracked corn rattling in a specific container. Then I feed them around my feet with a butterfly net in my other hand. A quick scoop if you do it right will catch a chicken unawares. You could also get up early on butcher day before the sun is up and catch a handful before they are up. Put them in a dog crate until you are ready to do the deed. They may still flap around, but they are much more contained. Another person on here has a great tool which looks like a long, skinny hook on a long pole- a modified shepherd's crook- used to catch a chicken by the leg from a distance. I would love to make one of those because it looked so handy. Maybe that person will chime in and show some photos of their tool.

Good luck.

Edited to add- Found a link to the tool. It's Darkmatter's design.
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I BOUGHT one of those chicken hooks, from Cutler's Supplies. I looked around on the 'Net and found them all over the place, for outrageous prices. But Cutler's sells 'em for only $7.95 (plus shipping).

I was very pleased with it when it arrived - it's not a flimsy item despite its low price! Nice plastic handle, four foot long metal shaft and hook at the end bent perfectly. Plus, it works. (Poor test pullet!)
Yes, the shipping is more than the hook - but all the other sites had their hooks STARTING at $19.95, one had it for $29.95, and then they add shipping, so it was still a deal to me.

It comes in a looooong (well, just over four feet) triangular shipping thingie. After all, the hook doesn't telescope or fold in half or anything.
Thank you! Thank you! I tried to make one but failed miserably. I know what I'm asking for for my birthday this year.
I use a long stick and a low broad cage. Basically you herd your chicken into the cage. Sometimes you get a few extra; no matter, just pull out the one you want. Works 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time they've got it in their heads that they want to do the exact opposite of what I want to do, period, no changing their minds. Then they go over the cage, around the cage, over my head, you name it. Always when it's wet and I'm in a hurry, too
The main secret is to move slowly and deliberately.

Small cage and throwing feed in works most of the time, too, but then you get the whole flock in there. OK if you have 6 chickens; bad if you have 60.
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I made my own "chicken hook" by modeling after the one my grandmother had, also homemade. I had a piece of 1/4 steel rod that I placed in a vice, then used a propane torch to heat to near red-heat the section I wanted to bend and used channel-locks to grip and bend it. I made the slight bend first which funnels the leg in, then I made the tight bend next. I used a chisel to score the handle end to form little catch edges, then inserted into a wooden rod that I drilled a tight hole into.:


If you butcher, save a leg to measure the size of bend you need.

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