Ask a Poultry Farmer: To carry a chicken, think like a running back
Whether you're in the barn, at the county fair or selling at a swap meet you need to be able to safely get your chickens in and out of their pens. As a back-up, keep a fishing net within arm's reach to help with unexpected escapes.
In the video below, Lisa demonstrates the Official 4H Showmanship way to handle a chicken. You may remember Lisa from an earlier tutorial on pulling chicken spurs.
Here's the play-by-play:
—Carefully open the cage and reach in.
—Put your hand on top of the chicken.
—Slide the fingers of your other hand palm-up underneath the bird, grasping the chicken's legs.
—Your top hand should be holding down the wings and your bottom hand should be controlling the legs.
—Turn the chicken's head toward you and pull the chicken head-first out of the cage.
—As you hold the legs, keeping a finger in between the legs helps keep your hold should the chicken start to flap.
—Put the chicken under your arm in a football hold, with its head near your elbow. Maintain your hold on its legs.
—This way the bird will be more calm and you keep the wings tucked against your side.
—If the bird decides to poop, it's facing away from you and will poop on someone else!
Have other showmanship questions? Ask in the comments section.
Dale Wheelock has been raising chickens, turkeys and waterfowl since he was a farm kid in the 1950s. He owns and operates the Wheelock Family Farm in Walworth County with his wife, Barb, and has been an agriculture leader in the community for decades. Read more about poultry farming at askapoultryfarmer.blogspot.com.