Doing vet care on chickens that don’t like to be held is a real challenge. Most of our hens didn’t get handled much before they came to live with us, so this has been an ongoing challenge whenever they need treatment for injuries or other things (like scaly leg mites). To help with this, there are two straitjacket methods — one for full-grown chickens and one for chicks.
For full grown chickens, you’ll need a kitchen towel (mine is about 24″x15″), and about 6 large safety pins. Lay the towel flat and pull one corner across, and then pin along the edge as shown below. You can sew this if you want to, but it isn’t necessary. To use, simply put the “straitjacket” on the bird, head first, and allow her head to poke through the pointed end. Grasp the loose ends around her backside to hold the chicken snugly. (Watch the video above for a good example)
For chicks all you need is an old sock with a hole cut in the toe end. Simply slip the sock over the chick, head first, like putting on a shirt. The sock should be snug enough to stay on the chick and keep her from flapping her wings, but not so tight that it’s difficult to remove. Below is a picture of a chick that I treated for a waddle injury from her brooder mates pecking at her. She liked being in the sock so much that she quickly fell asleep!