Dumb question for a newbie - holding a chicken


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 23, 2011
Atlanta burbs
I have a mite infestation and am going to treat the coop, run and hens with Seven dust. I've only had hens for four weeks and don't really know what I'm doing. They are not free range, and live in a run attached to a coop. When I transferred them into the run, I just placed the box that they were transported in into the run. So I have never handled one of the hens before, and I have no idea how to do this in order to treat for the mites.

These are (illegal) urban chickens and we do not have a fenced in yard, so my biggest fear is that one will get loose and start roaming the neighborhood.

I would very much appreciate if someone could explain in detail how exactly I go about picking up a chicken, as well as holding the chicken and rubbing seven dust all over them, without getting pecked or ending up with a runaway chicken. My husband will be assisting me (reluctantly, I'm sure).

Thanks in advance for the help!

7L Farm

9 Years
Jul 22, 2010
Anderson, Texas
I've never treated for mites but I usually handle my chickens when they roost. You can pick them up & do what needs to be done. Put them back on the roost one by one. Then proceed to clean & dust the coop then. That's my thoughts.


9 Years
Jun 29, 2010
The Lakes Region, NH
Probably the easiest way would be to treat them at night after they've been asleep for a couple of hours. They'll be in a sleepy stupor and will put up much less of a fight. Have someone hold a flashlight for you and pluck them off the roost by holding them at their sides, pinning down their wings. Getting whacked in the face by batting wings isn't pleasant. Lots of folks treat using a bag or pillowcase. They place the chicken in the bag and apply the Sevindust while ruffling the feathers. You can easily keep control over the chicken. This will also keep dust down, keeping it from irritating you. Be sure to keep the coop and run closed to avoid any escapees!

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Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
Yup, off the roost, they are much easier to handle after dark, even the roos. Those caps with a small light built in them are handy. Pick her up with a hand over each wing. If she freaks, put her under one arm like a football til she calms down. Put her in a paper grocery bag or pillowcase with the head sticking out and the Sevin in the bag, and move her around, plus reach in and work the Sevin to the skin. When you get the chickens into the yard, a leaf blower is a good way to blow the Sevin all over the coop -- after you remove the litter. If you compost the litter, add Sevin to it as well. You may have to retreat in a couple of weeks.


9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
Columbus, Ohio
Do they run away from you? Have you tried petting them or hand feeding them bread or some other treat to tame them? If you can get close and they are mature hens, they may squat when you reach out to touch them. I'm right handed, so I usually put my left hand on their back, and spread that hand across their shoulders. That braces their wings so they don't flap. Then I reach my right hand under their breast down underneath them and scoop them up with my fingers apart and their legs between my fingers. I tuck them under my right elbow and hold them close to my body so they can't flap, sort of like a hug but support their weight from underneath.

If you are worried about getting pecked or scratched, just wear a long sleeved shirt. Sometimes you get scratched by accident if they struggle, but that's why you hold their legs and having long sleeves will protect you. They don't usually peck you once you have your hand on their back. The only time I ever get pecked is when I try to take an egg from a broody hen.

Hope that helps,


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