Ad­vice on pick­ing them up

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QOur nine-year-old daugh­ter is for­ever pick­ing up our Pekin ban­tams, cud­dling them and car­ry­ing them all over the place. They don’t seem to mind, but is there any risk of harm­ing them… and should we be in­struct­ing her as to the best way of pick­ing them up?

AJeremy Hob­son says: Gen­er­ally, the more chick­ens are han­dled, the bet­ter! By do­ing so it is far eas­ier to check their well­be­ing and over­all health. If all is as it sounds, your daugh­ter has ob­vi­ously got the mea­sure of pick­ing up her par­tic­u­lar favourites; nev­er­the­less, other read­ers might like to use the fact that birds are cur­rently be­ing kept in closer con­fine­ment than nor­mal due to avian flu wor­ries in or­der to fur­ther ‘tame’ their own birds.

De­pend­ing on the breed – and ob­vi­ously some are heav­ier and more/less flighty than oth­ers – and day-to-day man­age­ment, it should just be pos­si­ble to bend down and pick up a par­tic­u­lar bird as one walks around the run, but with oth­ers it may be a case of putting down some food and build­ing up their trust over time so that they’ll even­tu­ally eat from your hand and can be picked up quite eas­ily.

On the odd oc­ca­sion when a bird needs to be caught, it may be pos­si­ble to qui­etly walk it into the cor­ner of the run and catch it that way. By far the best, how­ever, is to pick them up quickly and qui­etly once they have set­tled down to roost on the perch for the night. What­ever method is used, they should never be han­dled roughly as this will cause un­nec­es­sary stress and may even dam­age them phys­i­cally.

A Lavener Pekin ban­tam

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