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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:10 am 
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Gallant Game
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I've been combing through preparation topics and cannot find the information I need, so my apologies if this is a repeat query for the more experienced...

I can find heaps of show prep info on washing and grooming a bird for show, but very little on what "handling" entails

I'm starting with birds that do not like to be touched, and that require flashlights and night raids for application of medications and other routine maintenance tasks

Could anyone advise me what steps are required in "handling" ... so that (it is hoped) you have a quiet, well behaved bird at the end of the process?

There would be no such thing as too much detail, if anyone would care to assist me

Right now I'm thinking I'd start with the flashlight-night-raid approach just to be able to get my hands on them and hold each one (there are only 4) for a few minutes every night, just because I can't think of any better approach. :dontknow

I'm sure there are tricks, tips, techniques, etc., when starting with a bird that resists contact in order to end up with a quiet, well behaved bird, so I'm hoping for some sound advice. I have to work out this step before I can ever consider getting to the washing stage. I'm working with LF Orpingtons, so larger birds.

Thanks so much
Smallflock :th

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:24 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Hypnosis - Start in the dark/dim with bird on your knee . Stroke (firmly) from head to tail while counting aloud to 100. Does several things. Establishes your dominance, relaxes bird and accustoms them to your voice (in a hypnotic monotone way!) You will probably find (especially with a young bird ) that if you then put them on the ground that they crouch in a virtual trance for some time after.

Blue Light!!!
I know I've said this before but chooks can't see in 'Blue Light' Put a couple of layers of blue cellophane over the lense of your torch and the night work will be much less stressful for everyone. I have a blue globe (party light) in a trouble light in my garage which makes 'working with chooks' so much easier. Once they are accustomed to being handled by you, things can move on to daylight.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:32 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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That's a great question Smallflock. I've also wondered how long the chooks are kept in the small training pens and whether or not they have time out.
I've been amazed at how quickly my girls become more comfortable with handling whenever they've had a few days inside (when unwell). I would have imagined that they would start to dislike me because I've given them tablets but I guess the hand feeding is a strong positive influence.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:29 am 
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Gallant Game
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Thanks for those tips Sue55, I was only thinking the other day about European wasps and the red cellophane trick and wishing it would work on chooks... I never knew about the blue light equivalent, but it's on the shopping list.

With the stroking technique, I am assuming that there would be multiple strokes during the 100 count, not one long slow stroke? Also, how often would you repeat this? Nightly? I'm thinking if I try it that I would rotate - one bird per night, so each bird would get the treatment roughly twice a week - although I'm not at all sure which of us is going to get hypnotised. Oh well, if I fall asleep I guess the worse that could happen is chook poo in my hair LOL

girlfriday - I've had that experience with sick birds as well, but put it down, at least in part, to their unwellness - unfortunately, all the birds I've had that got sick enough to come inside have gone to God. I've also had a tiny bit of success with my current bunch when I catch one of them on the nest - I usually get growled at, but I can at least get a few little strokes in without them going ballistic.

I'll try any reasonable technique suggested and report back. I'm sure there are other people that would like to have calm, cooperative birds instead of an armful of flapping, squawking maniacs

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:31 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Hi Smallflock
Yes the stroking is 100 strokes. I've found that a couple of goes makes a difference quite quickly. Do it in the pen if you can - that way the others get to listen to your voice too.
Picture this (or not) nearly 60 ,beanie, gumboots, dressing gown and the 'blue Dolphin'. Just as well we have no near neighbours and the chooks don't care - they love me unconditionally! (delete that last bit -that's the dog)
What we need now is for someone to explain how to get poultry to strike a pose for a judge or a 'Kodak Moment'


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:33 pm 
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Sue, that outfit is extremely common amongst poultry aficionados :rofl:

I have seen chooks who, the moment someone comes to the front of the cage, present themselves at the front and display perfectly from side to side. As to how to get them to do that, :dontknow exactly.

Getting them used to you and your voice, touching gently, and some treats every few times you go past at the front of the cage seems to work well. I have been told with birds that need to be upright when judging (e.g. modern game) you can block off the bottom two thirds of the cage with cardboard (or similar) and place waterers up high so they need to stand straight and upright to look out and over.

Basically it takes time and persistence.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:33 am 
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Gallant Game
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sue55 wrote:

Picture this (or not) nearly 60 ,beanie, gumboots, dressing gown and the 'blue Dolphin'.


When I read this line, Sue, I wanted to look around my place for the hidden camera ... except I don't generally wear a beanie - yes RJ, that must be the haute-couture ensemble for outings to the chook shed.

Also RJ, try fresh blueberries as treats - they are small, easy to dispense in single doses and the chooks go bonkers for them. That will certainly get them to the front of the pen - you might want to get one of those clacker things to make a noise when they've done the right thing as well. After a few repetitions of simply fronting up for the blueberry. then only feed it to them when they are in the correct position (or nearly), that's where the clacker thing helps, so they begin to know when they've done the right thing, and will get the treat. If you can get them that far along, then you can recruit friends and relly's to do the same thing, so they will front up for anyone. I don't use a clacker, but I taught my 2 (hand raised) cockerels that they don't get a treat until they "ask please" - I just said "good boy" when they did the right thing and then I dispensed the blueberry, although what you are attempting is more complex.

No, my girls are very friendly, they know my voice, they all come running up to me and get underfoot like cats... but when I reach out my hand to touch them, it's like: watch that weird skinny wing with the flappy bit at the end, if she moves it... run! :bolt:

I will try Sue55's tips for a while and see if I can overcome that last hurdle.

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