While catching chickens to be processed last fall, my brother and I were having a debate about who could make the best chicken catcher.
We laughed about how, as kids, we would make one and then snag every hen in the barnyard a couple times each. And if you caught the rooster, it was a huge deal. After a few times of snagging him he was pretty hard to catch.
This was long before the Internet, video games and a million channels on TV.
It brought back memories of the time a few years ago when my boys were getting old enough to help — which means they could walk a few steps without falling down — and I declared we needed to catch all the broilers in the next few days to butcher.
They asked, “How we gonna’ ketch ‘em?”
“I’ll make a chicken catcher!” I exclaimed.
Of course, I had their attention then.
So we went on the hunt for the materials, which consist of a piece of No. 9 wire and a pair of pliers. I explained how, as kids, we would rob a wire coat hanger from the closet (without mom seeing us, of course) and use it to make the catcher. This sparked a whole new line of questions about “how could you bend a hanger?” So I explained how clothes hangers once were metal wire — not the plastic ones you see now.
That was almost as weird to them as making a chicken catcher.
I then bent a U-shape in the end. I told the boys to go get a stick, about the size of a chicken’s leg or a bit bigger, and I placed it inside the U, making sure it was against the bottom of the U shape. Taking the pliers, I squeezed the U, almost shut up against the stick, which left a long tail.
I then made a few fine adjustments based on years of making chicken catchers. We were done, and it had taken a total of about three minutes.
The boys both looked at the wire, and then looked at me, and said, “How do you catch a chicken with that?”
So off we went to demonstrate. I opened the movable pen, reached in with the wire, and before they know what had happened, I pulled a bird to me by the leg. Before I knew it, my youngest was screaming, “Let me try!”
How do you catch chickens? Share your tips in the section below: