CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Your Chickens today CLICK HERE

Hen’s health questions: How to handle your hens

PUBLISHED: 16:20 12 May 2016 | UPDATED: 16:20 12 May 2016

How to hold a hen for examination

How to hold a hen for examination

Archant

We found out how to handle your hens and how to examine them

Q: My hens are a bit flighty. Will handling them calm them down? What is the best way to do this?

Victoria says:

Much depends on the breed. Some are normally docile and don’t mind being handled, but these are generally not the best layers. Good layers which have more active (flighty) breeds in them naturally wish to keep out of the way. They will indeed tame down if handled regularly and this is important as a health check as well since any weight loss or gain cannot be seen but only felt. Handling does need to be done correctly so that they are not scared and sit comfortably in your hand. Begin by lifting one hen gently off her perch with both hands around wings and body, facing you. Do this in the dark or nearly dark so you can see enough to do so; a torch will scare them. Then slide your left hand (if right-handed) under her, palm up, spread your fingers and get her legs securely squeezed between your fingers with the body of the hen being in the palm of your hand and facing you - this avoids poo in your pocket! Do not squeeze the body as this will interrupt her breathing. With your now free right hand, feel her pin bones either side of her vent. This is where the fat is kept, so a good layer will have sharpish pin bones an egg-width apart. Her breast muscle can be assessed by your left palm: give her a condition score (1-5, 1=anorexic, 5=obese, thus 3 is good). When finished, reverse the process and gently place her back on her perch, supporting her until she gets her balance and settles down. Once your hens are familiar with the process, a fishing net is indispensable for catching any type of hen during daylight, then continue with the leg-holding and palm placement; under the tail is a good place to look for parasites, for example.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Your Chickens visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Your Chickens staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Your Chickens account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Care and Advice

Friday, August 10, 2018

Electric fencing can provide valuable extra protection for your poultry

Read more
Friday, August 10, 2018

Coops across the land are set to become littered with feathers as chickens shed their overcoats. Julie Moore reveals how you can help your flock during this stressful period

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

If you have to move your flock, Julie Moore has some practical advice

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018

When prevention is better than cure

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018

The ebullient Rachel Misra runs a boarding service for chicken owners who jet off on holiday. Susie Kearley pays her a visit

Read more
August 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Julie Moore takes a look at how the pecking order is established

Read more
July 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Can I leave a hen in the nest box to hatch her eggs?

Read more
July 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Can a fox jump over the fence? Will my chickens be hurt?

Read more
July 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

In our second extract from her book How To Speak Chicken, writer Melissa Caughey considers play, trauma and loss

Read more
June 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

David Herbert, of Hermit Crab Egg, tells how he got back on his feet after his poultry were killed

Read more
June 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Your Chickens monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read

Don't Miss...


Chickens Stateside

Fresh Eggs Daily

Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook