Sounds silly... but what's the best way to catch/pick up my chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chicknbuns, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. chicknbuns

    chicknbuns In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2010
    I am fairly new to chickens and I got them when they were about 3 months old. I have never picked them up other than when I first got them. Actually I'm a little apprehensive to do so. I realize I need to be checking them over for various issues and I really do want chickens that enjoy sitting with me. They are all friendly and run around my feet when I go in their run and run after me when the are free ranging. I guess I just need advise on how to gently get them without making them afraid and making them not trust me. The guy we purchased them from just reached in and grabbed them by their legs without much thought to it. Any suggestions? Thanks for all your help, this is a great forum for us newbies![​IMG]

  2. kimbobim

    kimbobim Songster

    Mar 23, 2009
    Highland, Utah
    This is just my experience, for what it's worth - first of all, grabbing them by their legs really freaks my birds out. They flap their wings and kick and flail like crazy. You have to pin down their wings first off - I use both hands to sort of clamp down on the chicken from above, over both its wings. They can't flap, and you can pick the bird up and tuck her under your arm with both wings pinned to her sides. They are generally very calm once their wings are held against their sides. My birds have been handled enough that when you get that close with your hands out, they 'squat' and wait for you to pick them up.

    You really should handle them regularly - every few days at least, so they get used to be picked up and examined. It also reinforces that YOU are the head of the flock.

    We also hand feed them little treats when they're being held, so they associate being held with nice things (not just getting checked for parasites, etc.). I don't know if that really works, but they come running when they see us with the treat bucket. [​IMG]
  3. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    Definately need to handle them much more. I use treats to bribe mine close to me(grapes work every time!) and I pet each and every one. I make a point of picking up at least one every day and hold her under my arm and stroke her chest while talking to her in a quiet voice. Grabbing legs is bad as they freak out and start flayling and either you or the bird or both might get hurt. Mine now do a squat for me when I am close to them so this allows me to pick them up quickly and quietly. I usually give them a good pet before and after I inspect them. This seems to put them in a calm state of mind and I dont release them until they are in a calm state of mind. I have 2 barred rocks who feel the need to holler like crazy when I pick them up and 2 wyandottes who hate being handled. I just do it quietly as I stated and they always their session on a good note and treats. I also make a point of trying to run my hands down each and every one every day even if I am not inspecting them. They will learn that you mean safety and security.
  4. Chicken.Lytle

    Chicken.Lytle Songster

    Oct 19, 2010
    Montgomery County, TX
    I just wait until they roost at night.

  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I handle my chickens less than a few times a year, purely for examination purposes. I don't like to disturb the natural oils in their feathers so that they will have better weather proofing in wet weather. I also do not believe it is imperative that they be handled frequently in order to have a nice flock. Mine are all sweet birds and they know exactly who runs the show without excessive handling on my part.

    I usually wait until they go to roost. I keep the lights off but carry a flashlight with me and I just calmly pluck them from the roost and carry on my examination. Just as calmly replace them to their proper place. Some may squawk in alarm and some may struggle a little, but that is normal and expected. They soon settle down if you move slowly, talk calmly and don't react out of fear and drop them.

    If you must catch one in the day time you can use a coat hanger bent to fit a hen's leg and use a slow sweeping motion along the floor and snag one leg gently, raise it from the floor until she is standing on one leg and just as calmly pick her up. They like the football carry and will calm down if they aren't scared of falling from your grasp.
  6. chicknbuns

    chicknbuns In the Brooder

    Jul 25, 2010
    Thank you all. I will give it a try [​IMG]
  7. patman75

    patman75 Songster

    Grab them at night or bribe them with lots of treats. After u get them trained with treats and just start giving htem treats closer and closer to you. Soon they will be eating out of your hand and then you grab them.

    For some reason my chickens will squat for my daughter every time she walks by. So I send her out to get them to squat and then walk up and grab them.

  8. the duck whisperer

    the duck whisperer Songster

    Feb 22, 2011
    For my birds, I sit down on the ground and wait for them to come to me. i dont chase them because that will definately freak them out. But once they get trusting of you after you handle them more it should be quiet easy.
  9. Teresaann24

    Teresaann24 Songster

    Jul 29, 2008
    Eastern, Kentucky
    For me some of my birds I have to chase down for others they just stand there and I can pick them up. I never grab mine by the legs I'v seen with my own eyes someone pull a roosters leg out of socked by doing that. He had to be put down VERY sad to see. My 5 year old catches the chickens all the time she was taught to never hurt them or be rough she always grabs them by the tail and then picks them up with her hands over their wings.

  10. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    My birds actually try to get me to chase them when they are outside, then they double back and stand to get picked up or pated.

    They hold their wings to their sides and just wait for me to pick them up.

    Otherwise they hop up on the edge of the coop's litter board and fight for attention.

    Silly birds.

    Scared of me, no way I'm their meal and snack ticket and they know it.

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