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Getting in a flap trying to hold hens

PUBLISHED: 10:56 31 August 2011 | UPDATED: 10:34 14 November 2011

Despite reading books/magazines and asking online, I still am none the wiser about how to hold my hens! I lift them with a hand each side of their body, but cannot lift them and hold them one-handed as they flap their wings. My problem is that I have Black Rock-sized birds and small hands!

Mitch Buss (Mrs), by email

Jeremy Hobson says: I understand the problem – particularly when actually picking up the bird. However, once you’ve lifted the bird using two hands, do the following: bring the bird to your stomach, support it by gently pushing it into you with one hand while quickly slipping the other hand, palmside upwards, under the hen from the front (along the breast-bone). If you are doing it properly, your fingers will quickly come into contact with the birds legs; slip one leg between little and ring finger and the other between index and middle finger. Your arm should now form a solid ‘shelf’ on which the bird will feel secure (your fingers are holding its legs so it cannot scrabble about and the fact that your other hand is ‘pushing’ the bird to your stomach means that you are holding its wings tight against its body and it cannot flap them). Both you and the bird should now be comfortable and happy!

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