How to hold a chicken... looking for pics showing correct technique.


8 Years
May 16, 2011
Brisbane, Australia
I can never seem to hold any of my chooks properly. I can sit them on my knee and restrain them gently as needed and they stay nice and calm when I do this, but whenever I pick them up to hold or carry them all I seem to get is a bundle of wriggling, flapping, squirmy feathers. So I guess I'm not using the right technique?

The girls are otherwise quite docile, letting me scratch them, pat them, hand feed, follow me around etc etc. I just have no luck picking them up without feeling like I'm making them uncomfortable or nervous.

Can anyone post a pic of a chicken being held correctly so I can see what it's meant to look like?
Maybe this will help:

The above is good example. Carrying any distance or time you should have the feet supported. If I'm just picking up to move over a fence I grab over both wings to hold them low against the sides. Stops the feathers in face.
That helps! :)

I generally take hold of their body firmly, wings pinned to their sides, and then from there bring them close to my body with one hand on their chest, and the other hand/arm holding them against the side of my body, and I guess I must tilt them back slightly because their feet always end up out the front where they cant get me. In this position they always struggle to get their wings free and end up with the wings kind of half out and uncomfortable.

I'm still a newbie and they can obviously tell that I'm a novice hen-picker-upperer, so I'd like to learn how to do this with more finesse and help the girls feel more secure in my grasp.

(I'm used to caryring cats and babies! LOL)
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If we have to carry ours any distance we pick them up from the front, with out hands holding their wings to their sides. Tuck the neck under your arm by the elbow and then put the hand on the opposite side from the one the chicken is on, under their body and hold their legs/feet. We found that as long as you control their feet they are pretty calm. They get used to it the more you do it.
It's early, so my brain isn't functioning yet, sorry. Are you describing the holding the chicken upside-down carrying-by-the-feet-and-legs way? It looks so horrible, but I've had to use it on my rooster a couple of times just to show him who's boss. Wierd way of doing it, but it worked!
No, not upside down (I typed before having more than 1 cup of coffee). Like a football, head pointing behind you, tail to the front, opposite hand underneath the chicken holding legs. Ours are so used to it we can do it one-handed. I could post a picture if you want, just let me know.
When people say to hold their legs or support their feet do they mean to just hold them around the leg part only like you would a couple pencils or do you put your hand underneath so that the chicken is "standing" on your hand?
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I had a poultry judge recently see me holding a chicken and she showed me the "correct" way to hold a chicken.

Hand under the bird, legs between thumb and forefinger and pinky and ring finger. I use my pinky and my thumb to hold the wings down as well.

A bird can be tilted and examined in any way by this method and cannot escape or cause harm to the holder.

Try it, it works! :)

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