How Do You Hold Your Chickens

On average what are the main ways you to hold chickens?

  • Hold their whole body, pinning their wings to their sides (the "normal" way)

    Votes: 59 80.8%
  • By their legs, upsidown

    Votes: 3 4.1%
  • By their tail feathers

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Showmanship style

    Votes: 20 27.4%
  • By their wings, one hand holding each wing

    Votes: 2 2.7%
  • Other, please explain below

    Votes: 7 9.6%

  • Total voters
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Project manager
Premium member
Aug 1, 2015
My Coop
My Coop
I use a few different methods depending on the temperament of the bird and their size. I generally don't hold them by their feet except for when I'm carrying them to the butchering table and want them to not wiggle around so much. I don't like the risk of aspiration in birds that have just eaten or drank.

I use wing holds at times on smaller, lighter birds. It keeps them secure and it's easy to do with one hand. I don't do it for long periods of time, but I think it is a valid method for short distances. Tame birds are held showmanship or football style. The truly wild birds get held in some combination of a leg/wing/football hold where their wings and legs are restrained but their body weight is supported by being held against my side, not by their wings/legs. I have some that are so crazy I fear they would severely damage themselves if held only by legs/wings and would damage me if held the standard way.
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Liz Field

In the Brooder
Nov 8, 2019
Kurtistown, HI
Well I am guilty of making pets of all my animals, chickens no exception - I handled them from chicks all the way up to pullets and layers, although that wasn't just about making pets of them - if they are used to being handled, then if you have to treat them for illness, wounds, etc, it makes things a lot easier - I am in HI, and when hurricane Lane was passing way too close to us a couple of years ago, it caused rain to come down so fast and hard I knew there was no way my free rangers were going to make it back to the shed where their roosting coop was - they happily let me carry them, one under each arm, under my jacket and cradled like footballs, to their coop where I closed them in to ride out the storm during that bad night ;)


In the Brooder
Aug 8, 2019
I have had chickens as pets my entire life (I'm turning 30 this year). How I hold them depends on the bird. Tame ones I hold the normal way and showmanship. I have noticed that those 2 ways also usually calm down more skittish chickens or chickens that aren't used to being handled. Often times I can hold 3 chickens at a time by fitting 2 chickens under 1 arm and 1 under the other arm. It sounds awkward but my chickies trust me and remain relaxed. I carry 3 at a time whenever I'm moving them to a new coop/pen. I have a lot of chickens so carrying more at a time makes fewer trips. The few times I ever hold them upside down by their legs is if they were fighting and I need to "mentally" break it up after physically breaking it up (usually roosters in this case). Some have strongly independent natures and are just plain hard to catch so when I am able to catch those I hold their body calmly under my arm and with the other hand I gently but firmly hold onto both legs so they can't struggle and claw my belly.


In the Brooder
Jun 13, 2019
Gaston, OR
I usually hold them against myself and hold their wings down or wrap their wings in a towel so I can flip them upside down or keep their wings from flapping if I have to trim nails or do feet cleaning and check for bumble foot. Or even clean pasty butts. They love being wrapped in the towel and then getting pedicures. They will usually fall asleep. Lol.


May 2, 2018
Casa Grande, AZ
It depends what Im doing to them. If Im holding Butthead my male showgirl chick Im looking directly at him and asking him why he insists on attacking me every single day...he's not that big but he gets braver every day..I have to give him points for that I suppose. Im Im snuggling one and kissing her head (Yes I know there is lice but even as a vegan I suppose I get worse stuff in my mouth eating fritos). I always try to look them in the eyes and they respond better to me. Rarely do I pick one up and not have a conversation with them. I have one that always gets out of my fence and hangs out with a couple roosters but I am afraid of them getting raped to death by them. We have talks but she insists that she is a rooster.


May 1, 2018
Southeast Texas
With the chicken in front of me facing me, I take my hand palm upside it under the chickens belly, middle finger, ring finger, and index/pointer finger between the two legs . The thumb is used to smash the chickens left leg against my index/pointer finger and my pinky finger smashes the chickens right leg against my ring finger. I lift the chicken up and placing right wing against my belly/chest. Palm supporting the chest/belly of the chicken and fingers control legs 🦵 so the legs cant move. If she/he gets figity, I have control of her/his legs and only one wing can flip. If need be I can give her/him a hug and they calm down. But I raised mine like this, so they all run up to me sticking their chest out as if to say hold me.
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