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
  • This poll will close: .


Purple Minion Wrangler
Premium member
Sep 9, 2019
Central Virginia
I don't technically hold mine. I put my forearm under their chest and tell them to step up. They will walk onto my arm and then I can do what I need to do.

With chicks I put my palm across their back and wings then wrap my fingers around them.

The farm I got my RSL from they grab them by their feet. None have been hurt that way, but I think that's a farmers technique like old school farming technique. This farm has been running for a 100 years or so.


Purple Minion Wrangler
Premium member
Sep 9, 2019
Central Virginia
Showmanship when they are small.
"Normal" then Football when bigger.
By the feet as they go into the cone.
I only handle my birds a bit for 'taming' as chicks in the brooder then off the roost at night,
and mostly only for exams when I put them on my 'lap sling'(long apron).
Yes feet when you do the cone! It's the easiest way to put them into the cone.


Feb 22, 2016
New Hampshire USA
My Coop
My Coop
What ways do you most like to hold your chickens (we're taking about hens and roos, not chicks)? What ways do you think hurt them? Post your opinion below.

Please make sure to be polite and not to criticize others for how they hold their chickens. It's okay to say "I don't use that method, because..." but please don't write mean things or "yell" at others. One BYC member on here (I forgot who) says that because we are reading the messages we can't hear tone, so we could either interpret words as mean or advising. Please check over your message before posting to make sure nobody will find it offensive.

In case anybody is wondering, the showmanship style of holding chickens is how 4Hers hold their chickens at shows. You face the bird towards you and slip your middle finger (and maybe your fourth finger, depends on the size of the chicken and who taught you) between their legs, with your seconds and fourth finger on the outside of the legs. Then you hold down their wings with your thumb and pointer finger. It's difficult at first, and if you have small hands it's recommended that you get a small showbird. At least, that's the way I learned how to hold them. If you use another method please post below.

By "the normal way" I mean holding your chicken against you with a hand under their breast while pinning their wings to their sides, and other variations like that.

I hold my chickens "the normal way", except when I'm working with my fairbird, who I make sure to always hold showmanship style. I feel like most the other methods might hurt the chicken, some more than others, but if others feel otherwise than that's fine with me.

Please politely post your own opinions below!
LOL!!!!!!!! Here's how we 'hold our hens'!!! Hubby and Hannah! We even take them out to Tractor Supply and the antique shops like this! They love the pouch and are so good!!!


Chicken Tender
9 Years
Oct 18, 2010
Definitely the 4-H or "Showmanship" way having a wing under my thumb and pinky means I know I won't be getting hit in the face with a wing! Try it if you haven't.

I usually pin them from above and slip my other hand under the keel, back far enough to pin the legs between my fingers. It takes a few tries to get used to but it's a solid hold. I do always wear long sleeves and pants around birds, too many scratches when I was younger.

A poultry judge showed me how when I was 10 and he told me it made the bird feel supported and they will allow a broad range of motion even a vent inspection.


10 Years
May 30, 2009
Interesting thread. I really haven't gave it much thought? I guess it depends on what and why I'm holding them? I really just grab them and make sure wings are tucked down so I don't get flogged..:D
Me neither! And we do the same, tucked under the arm. Just watched a youtube video and saw the control this "dr" had (assumed a vet) by using the hand under the breast and fingers in between the legs. Going to have to try this on my girls.

Baby Chick Mom

In the Brooder
May 1, 2019
Bonners Ferry Idaho
Personally I like to try to think of how the chicken would be most comfortable being carried. So to me the most comfortable way is the Showmanship Hold. Followed by the "Hold the whole body." Holding by the feet upside down just seems unnatural and somewhat cruel. One of the criteria is How much do they squawk when lifted?

Latest posts

Top Bottom