Advice on picking them up
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