I used to help treat a lot of sick chicken patients during my time as a veterinary technician. When I first started working on chickens, I will admit that I thought it was a little weird. In most cases, the poor chickens had been attacked by dogs, cats, raccoons or some other creatures. I eventually became very fond of chickens.
There were plenty of times that people decided they would rather euthanize their chicken than medicate it. Those chickens were usually handed over to us and stayed at the hospital until we found them a suitable home, which was usually with one of the veterinarians.
When I was asked if I knew how to pill a chicken, I really had no idea that it was even possible. Eventually, I became the go-to technician when a chicken needed to be medicated or someone else needed to be trained on how to give a pill to a chicken.
So, here's how to pill a chicken...:
- Get your medications and other tools ready beforehand so you don't have to fumble with opening pill bottles or packages while trying to wrestle with a chicken.
- Get a nice thick towel and place your chicken in the middle. Firmly but gently wrap your chicken up so their wings are tucked inside the towel. This may make it easier and prevent wing flapping and slaps to the face.
- With one hand hold onto the chickens head. Place your thumb and forefinger at the hinges of the chicken's beak and pry it open. Don't worry about being bitten, they can't really bite you and if their beak closes down on your finger it doesn't hurt.
- Take the pill with the other hand and poke your finger down the back of the chicken's throat. You can actually put your finger very far down without hurting the chicken.
It's pretty simple, but the hardest part is trying to get the chicken to hold still while you do this. If you can, try to get someone to help you restrain your chicken when you do this. Luckily, there is not really any threat of getting hurt by the chicken.
I don't know how many chicken owners I have that follow this blog, but if there are any I'd love to hear about your chickens!