Are you wondering how to hold chickens? Let us show you how to do just that in 4 steps today!
It is easy to pick up a chicken. However, not giving it any thought could be dangerous. Not only for you but our feathery friends too! Knowing how to hold them properly is not only ideal but a must. With that, let’s not dilly-dally. Let’s get on with the discussion now!
How to Properly Hold a Chicken
Step 1. Establish Trust with the Chicken
This first step is optional. However, it is ideal if it is the first time you will hold and handle a chicken.
Here, you want your chicken to trust you, and one of the best ways to do that is through its stomach. That is, you want to offer your feathery friend some treats!
Even with treats, a chicken might not immediately come to you. In this case, you might want to make a trail of treats that lead to you. This way, it can gather the courage to come to you on its own terms.
In addition, make sure you are calm and relaxed during this step (and the following steps, at that).
Step 2. Positioning the Chicken
Next, you want to position your chicken so that it is facing you.
As you can see, having a chicken that trusts you makes this step easier. As the chicken will have to face you, a mistrustful bird could peck away at you.
On the other hand, if having the chicken face you is not workable, there is another way. You can position the chicken in a way that it is facing in the direction of the hand you will use. In other words, if you plan to use your right hand, let the chicken face to the right. On the flip side, if you plan to use your left hand, let the chicken face to the left.
Step 3. Positioning Your Hand
First, you want your palm up. After that, slide your hand down from the front until you reach the meaty part above your chicken’s legs.
Here, you want your index to be between the legs. With that, you will have your thumb on one side. On the other hand, the rest of your fingers will be on the other. Hold one of the sides with the thumb and the other with the rest of your fingers.
With this hold, you should get a firm grip on your chicken without hurting it. While we do not recommend doing so on your first try (or unless necessary), this hold can allow you to hold your chicken upside down without the bird making a fuss!
Step 4. The Feeling Part
After you have managed to hold and lift your chicken, do not move around just yet.
Here, you want to make sure you have a good hold and your feathery friend is comfortable within your grip. Once you have ensured both, feel free to roam your stead with your chicken!
Did all of that sound a little too complicated? Well, you do not have to worry. You can check this video out until you get the hang of it:
Why It is Important to Know How to Hold a Chicken Properly
While it is no secret that knowing how to hold a chicken properly is ideal for avoiding injuries, it is not the only reason.
Knowing how to hold a chicken properly is ideal if you want to form a bond with your chicken. How else will you get in some snuggles and cuddles, right?
For Healthcare Reasons
Knowing how to hold a chicken properly is crucial for health checks. It will let you examine every part of the bird when needed.
To Avoid Stress
As we have said, knowing how to hold a chicken properly is ideal for avoiding injuries. (That goes for you and the bird.) It is also good to know to avoid stressing the bird (and again, you too). After all, as you likely already know, stress can be as bad as injuries.
Things to Remember When Holding a Chicken
There are a few things to keep in mind when holding a chicken. That is, other than avoid getting pecked.
Do Not Squeeze the Chicken!
First of all, do not squeeze the chicken at all costs! It can cause all sorts of problems. For one, it can cut off the chicken’s air supply. On the other hand, it can also damage the chicken’s organs!
Do Not Let the Chicken Fall
Practice at low elevations at first. You do not want a chicken to fall from great heights. It can cause our feathery friends (and you) many problems, from bumblefoot to broken joints.
When Not to Hold a Chicken
There will likely come a time a chicken will not welcome the idea of getting held and lifted. Usually, this time comes in a chicken’s teenage years. To avoid stressing the bird, do not hold them unless necessary. They will eventually welcome the idea again once they reach adulthood.
Do Things Slowly and Gently
Once a chicken welcomes getting held and lifted, do not scare it off by scrambling all over the place. Try to do things slowly, gently, and calmly.
Do Not Forget the Treats!
Finally, do not forget the treats! This way, your chicken can associate the experience of getting held and lifted with good things. In addition, treats do not even always have to be food. Pets and praises can also be a treat every once in a while!
How to hold chickens?
Today, we answered that question with four easy steps! In addition, we also discussed why it is vital to know how to properly hold a chicken and the things you should remember when doing so.
We hope we satisfactorily answered this feathery question that has been festering you. If you have other chicken concerns, you might want to check out our other talks!
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.