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How to safely catch and handle your chickens

How to safely catch and handle your chickens

One of the most pleasurable experiences that you can ever have in chicken raising is when you are able to carry them and pet them. However, doing this is not at all that easy.
There are chickens who will dislike the idea of being handled and petted. So as a rule of thumb, you should only handle the birds who will allow themselves to be handled.Do not ever attempt to handle chickens who are in molt or hens with chicks as they could attack and give you a nasty and painful blow. Always remember that molting birds and mother hens walking around with their chicks are almost always very aggressive and protective. There are also some chickens that are known to be manfighters so you should ask a breeder if the cock or hen can be handled or not. You can also tell if a chicken does not want you to come close if it stands erect, as if trying to intimidate you or its hackle feathers will stand, to give him or her a fiercer and bigger appearance so that you will be forced to back off. If you have kids around the house, it’s important to teach them these early on.You’re lucky if you have a tame chicken. Actually, there are more tame chickens than there are manfighters, so you can carry them around and pet them when you want. But just carrying them any which way will not necessarily please them. So it’s important that you know how to catch them and pick them up safely so that both you and your bird will be happy.In catching chickens, the first thing to do is to scoop the chest with your dominant hand and support the back with your other hand. Draw the chicken out of the coop, being careful not to tilt the body to either side. If you do that, they will start squirming and wriggling and will become more difficult to handle. Maintain that their body is pointing straight to the ground the way they would when they are standing. Do not squeeze them too hard nor hold them too lightly as both grips would only cause them to try to escape.

Once the chicken is already out of the coop, transfer the hand that was on the chicken’s back to the wing, clipping the wing with your thumb and index finger. Your other fingers can assist in keeping the legs secure. The dominant hand can also do the same to the other wing. In this position, the chicken’s head is facing your body and the tail is away from you. This prevents damage to the tail of your bird and from you getting hit with his spurred legs.

From this position, you can also press the bird against your body. Your non-dominant hand should be placed under the chest, clipping the thighs at the same time while your dominant hand supports the wings. You should still maintain your bird’s stance straight to the ground. Handling your birds will become easier with time and experience. Also, most of the birds will enjoy being held close. You will know if you are handling them right because they will not make any effort to fly away from you.

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