How to safely hold an uncooperative rooster still?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Want Less, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. Want Less

    Want Less Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had a minor scare yesterday when we found a little blood in our coop. We're pretty sure now that one of the hens just nicked her comb and all is fine, however it got us wondering what we would have done if it were worse.

    My question for future reference... Is there a good/safe way to calm an uncooperative chicken (or big rooster) while youre holding him so that you can examine or treat him if needed? I've read that carefully covering their head helps (of course still allowing them to breathe). Is that true? If so, how is the best way to do it? Any other ideas?

    Im pretty sure our hens would cooperate if needed, but I'm not so sure our big rooster would be thrilled. He's never been fond of being held, even as a chick. He'll let us quickly re-band his leg regularly but his attention span doesn't allow for much more.... and he's a pretty strong fella. I'd rather figure something out now than to wait and struggle (and possibly get someone hurt) if we're faced with a situation where we need to hold him still.

    Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

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    Covering their heads works really well-they can't see and won't struggle because their disoriented.
    We grab and hold the legs so they can't spur us and also lay them on their sides.
    This worked really well for us recently.
    Others will have advice for you as well.
    Hope you never have to use it, though. [​IMG]
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I find that wrapping a towel around their body to include the wings really helps. This is all I did when I trimmed spurs and claws with a dremel. I've never had to cover the head, but that would be my next step if the simple wing/body wrap did not work. I use it for hens as well as roosters.
     
  4. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Snug, like a football with his legs behind him, and the trick is "tail up" against your armpit. Snugging them all around is calming, like when they were babies in their mother's fluff:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Our chickens are bantam, but I have picked up giant RIR roo's too, and was breifly complemented about my "chicken whispering abilities" LOL! I think it's just twittery nerves, that's how they're built to avoid predators, so like a racehorse, they have more sensitive nerves where anything might grab at them from above. So, the football hold with the hand holding the football also cradling the rooster's crop/gullet so it doesn't get injured, and the other hand doing a few quick strokes from the back of the neck to the base of the upright tail. Usually 3 strokes and the nerves have done their freak-out so can't reach potential to keep firing anymore. Then, have their favorite tastiest treat ready, so the roo can peck at treats while you and an assistant do the first aid. Eventually by association, the pick-up-and-get-stroked-always-leads-to-my-favorite-treat results in easier first aid.

    Also, a roo who is "sparring" or "facing off" with another chicken won't usually notice you, they're VERY easy to pick up and get in the football hold.
     
  5. Minniechickmama

    Minniechickmama Senora Pollo Loco

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    6 chicks, you even SOUND like a chicken whisperer!
    Good advice!
     
  6. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with 6chickens about holding the bird like a football. Also, petting the birds back or head will upset the bird. Petting it's chest will calm him/her. It's automatic with people having to pet an animal. I do it myself but found under the chin and chest works best. If the bird refuses to relax hold the bird upside down by it's feet until they stop fluttering. This will help get a better grasp of the bird. Generally, once you have them tucked comfortably under your arm they will be ok.

    A towel or sheet around the birds body helps a lot. It keeps the wings down so the bird can't fight. If you can get the birds feet tucked up under itself while wrapped it works even better. Also soothing the bird with your voice helps since it distracts them a bit while petting there chest (crop area). Hope this helps.
     
  8. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I forgot to mention. Only put the bird down when it's calm. Don't let it go while fighting to get away from you. If you let the bird escape that means you are the bad guy. If you let him down gently while he is calm then you are a good guy. This is the best way for me to explain it.
     
  9. Want Less

    Want Less Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh WOW! [​IMG] Thanks guys for all of the helpful tips!!!

    I may try that football hold with the tail up on the roo just to practice... he's a big RIR and can be a little feisty. Better to learn now than to wait until things are crazy!
     
  10. 6chickens in St. Charles

    6chickens in St. Charles Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Are you able to see the YouTube video of chicken training? Amazing. They really are trainable. Good luck.
     

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