How to catch a chicken

I've been raising chickens for over a dozen years now and I've noticed that some chickens are really easy to catch and others are quite difficult. I have lots of chickens that will jump right up on my lap. but let them get the idea that you want to catch them and they are running like there's no tomorrow! There may come a time when you need to catch a chicken whether to check for a health issue or something else and I have a pretty easy way to do that.

Person holding chicken she caught

There are a few different ways to catch a chicken. Lots of people just wait until nightfall and grab the chicken right off the roost. Unfortunately the last time I had to catch a chicken the timing was not right to use that method. So I had to come up with something else.

I will admit that is my preferred method for catching guinea fowl though! Open the coop door after dark and just walk in and pluck the one I want right off the roost! Chickens tend to be much easier thankfully!

How to catch a chicken

Instead I used a method that I have used for years. This works best if you've already trained your chickens to come back to the coop at night. But if not, well you might need a second person's help. But it's easy enough.

Don't chase the chicken

I'm sure you've seen the movie Rocky where he's chasing the chicken and this supposedly very fast athlete is having a hard time catching a chicken, right? Well chickens are pretty fast so that's completely understandable! On average a chicken can run 9-15 mph (depending on whether they get regular exercise like free ranging or not) while most humans clock in closer to 6-8 mph.

So the last thing you want to do is just go ahead and keep chasing and chasing and chasing the chicken. I mean, sometimes that works especially if you can confuse them a bit, but usually it's just tires you out!

Girl holding a red hen

Can you herd chickens?

It's far easier to actually corral the chicken into a small area and then catch her. I prefer to use the chicken coop. My chickens are trained to come when I call them and throw treats. It's super easy...this is how I trained them. So if the flock is out free ranging, I start with that. 

I will throw some treats into the chicken coop while calling the chickens and usually she'll go running right in. If not you can always get behind her and sort of herd her in the right direction. Go slow as chickens can spook easily and dart in the other direction which gets you right back to square one!

A second person or a herding dog can be very helpful doing this. Get on the opposite side of her and slowly move closer and closer guiding her towards the coop door. 

All you really have to do is get her into the coop, shut the door behind you and then since she's in a more confined area she's really easy to catch. One she's in the coop herd her towards a smaller area or corner and just pick her up!

Training chickens to like being caught

Of course there is one other method that are even easier. You just have to raise friendly chickens. I talk about that in the post How to raise friendly chickens, but it's one of those things that many people do quite by accident...especially with their first flock! 

Baby chicks are so cute and adorable that we can't help but interact with them all the time! The more time you spend with them, the more friendly they become. Treats help too! 

The friendlier the chickens are, the easier it is to just pick them up any time you want to! 

So to recap:

The 3 easiest ways to catch a chicken:

1) Wait till the chicken is on the roost at night and simply pick her off the roost.

2) Herd the chicken into the coop then into a corner and pick her up.

3) Train your chickens to be friendly enough to want to be held.

Hopefully you won't have to catch your chicken because of an emergency situation but if you do, I hope one of these methods will help you!


Want information on raising chickens sent right to your email weekly? Click right here to join my list and get new posts sent directly to you the day they're published ... plus, you'll also get the free download '25 Ways to save money raising chickens'.

No comments:

Post a Comment