Sunday, 23 September 2007

Wing Clipping - Clipping the wings of a chicken

Wing clipping is where you clip the primary flight feathers on one wing with sharp scissors. Clipping one wing puts them off balance but still allows them to fly a little. You may need to do this if your chickens are likely to be able to fly away over a fence, but bear in mind that it will also make it harder for them to fly away from any predators.

The primary flight feathers are the farthest away from the body. There are usually 10 primary flight feathers and it is those ten that you clip on one of the wings if you want to stop your chickens from being able to fly too high. The 10 primary feathers of the wing you are clipping should be cut just beyond the edge of the next layer up. If the feathers are not completely grown (i.e. they are still pin feathers / blood feathers ) then you should not cut them yet.

Here is a video showing how to clip your chickens wing. I have included it to illustrate how it is quite easy to see the difference between the primary flight feathers and the others. It also demonstrates that wing clipping does not hurt the chicken.

10 comments:

Jen said...

Also, I have clipped their wings, but one girl keeps getting into the garden no matter what. She climbs the chicken-wire fence! I think it's funny to find one chicken in the vegetable garden with all the other girls squawking and jealous to get in from the other side! She struts around like she's so smart, but then can't figure out how to get out again!

Anonymous said...

thanks josiah! very helpful!

K.D. Mullen said...

Thank you! Your video has helped me alot. My chickens are getting me in trouble with going onto my neighbor's property. I will try fencing them in and clipping their wings. I was afraid to do it, but watching it makes me feel more confident. Thanks again.

Marcy said...

This is interesting because I raise parrots and it is unacceptable to clip just one wing's flight feathers, as that unbalances a bird and they can injure themselves. Maybe it's because chicken are heavier bodied than parrots that it's safe to do one wing? I used to have flighted chickens in the country, but now I am building a chicken yard and debating about letting them out into my fenced yard during the day. I don't want them flying over the fence, so I was going to clip 5 or 6 primaries on each wing and see how that works. Anyone try that?

Sparky said...

Marcy,

I read somewhere that chickens can still get enough lift to clear a fence with both wings clipped. They are not inclined to flight like parrots so clipping one wing discourages them.

jeffomatic said...

I have four Australorp pullets and they can fly! One got away and must have flown a six foot board fence, as I cannot find a hole anywhere. Luckily we recovered her. They are 10 weeks old. They will soon be too heavy to fly that high, I think.. They get up to 6-7 pounds. I guess I'll have to clip them.

Christy said...

I have 2 barred rocks, 3 1/2 months old and they can fly over the 8 foot wooden fence. I am thankful for the video.

davescatt said...

Hi All. about 6 months ago, my mate and I bought 12 brown pol chickens each, Mine stopped laying about 2 months ago,I'm lucky if I get 2 eggs per week, my mate gets between 8/12 eggs every day. when we first got them,I was getting 12 eggs per day.all the chickens came from the same farm,the same day.
My Q, what has gone wrong with my eggs laying. Cheers, Dave.

Gina Read said...

Things like stress can affect their laying (stress could be extremes of weather, predators or noise in the area). Also parasites such as lice, mites and worms can be a big drain to their resources and so can be behind changes in laying and/or their health in general. The other common thing to watch out for is changes in feed - as time goes on it can be easy to slip into a habit of giving them several treats throughout the day which potentially can change the balance of nutrition they need for optimum egg laying.

Laurieann Harms said...

I have a little Bantum I named "Wee-One" who is about double the size of a dove.I have found her on the roof of the walk-in coop a few times & she made it over a 6 foot fence last year into our neighbor's yard, but now they have dogs who I'm sure would LOVE a free chicken dinner if given the opportunity so I'm glad to finally have the information. Thank you.