Best method to restrain for wing clip


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 22, 2011
SE Florida
I have come to the dreaded conclusion that I will have to clip the wing of at least one of my EE girls. Now that they are just a little over 13 weeks they are starting to get a little high in their short flights, and even though I have a 6 foot wooden fence around the yard I'm afraid of them going over. If they did make it over the fence there are multiple dogs awaiting for just that moment and probably no way for me to save them. Two of the girls barely make it off the ground but, I have one girl that takes great pride in sitting on the highest object she can. My question to the experts is what is the safest and least traumatic way to restrain her while I make the clip?


13 Years
May 23, 2009
Be aware that even if you clip one wing, a bird can sometimes manage to get enough lift to get up to the top of a fence. If she then ventures into a yard full of dogs, she's going to be a goner for sure. A fully flighted bird would at least have a fighting chance to escape the dogs. And even if you clip both wings, feathers do grow back.

If it was me and I had a bird I was worried might perch on top of a fence, I'd put some of those pokey bird spikes on top of the fence to deter her.

We have bantams who are excellent fliers and could easily go over our 6 foot fence if they chose, and we also have a yard full of big dogs next door. I don't freerange our flock without supervision, but I'm also somewhat nervous about just the same issue that concerns you. So far, none of our chickens has shown any interest in exiting the yard. I've decided that they're probably safer fully flighted than clipped.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Jan 31, 2011
Have to agree with all the above ... I clipped my Andalusian and she still gets out over a 9ft fence every day to lay her egg where she wants to. Having said that, if you decide to go ahead, the easiest way is to have someone hold the chicken for you so that you can stretch out her wing and clip it.


9 Years
Apr 12, 2010
Under the Radar, SW Ohio
I'm having the same issue. I've had my poor girls cooped up in their run all winter long & yesterday Ginger tried to bolt when I opened the door. Last summer I was giving my girls very limited free range time. Our concerns are our own 2 dogs, the pitbull next door & our in ground pool. Free range time stopped when my brown leghorn flew to the top of my 6ft tall run & I had to grab her by the legs & pull her down. We have tall fences that have hedges growing even taller above, but its still extremely nerve wracking to me to let them out. I was thinking of clipping their wings but hear so many different things about whether to do it or not.

In the meantime, we are going to work on adding room to our run & building more roosts in the run since they love flying up & perching on their sticks.


11 Years
Apr 26, 2008
Cypress, Texas
My hens would fly everywhere in our backyard too, they would fly on the fence and DH's grill. I clipped the flight feathers on both wings on our 4 girls and it definitley helped. I tried doing just one wing like everyone was saying, but it didn't do anything.

If my husband isn't there to help me clip them and I have to do it myself its hard to do. I hold them like a football with their head sticking out from under the back of my arm...pull the wing out with the hand I'm holding them with and cut with the other hand. Not really sure if that helps at all....I just re-read what I wrote.... Its kind of hard to explain! LOL
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11 Years
Nov 15, 2008
South GA
A bird breeder friend in FL told me to use a towel or light blanket to wrap the bird in. If you cover the bird's head it will calm it down and lessen the possibilty of injury when clipping. Of course this also depends on how well your birds like you holding them. With more tame chickens I'm sure it's just as easy


8 Years
Feb 28, 2011
I have two Rhode Islands and a New Hampshire Red. We clipped their wings and last summer and it has worked great. I did have to reclip one on my girls this winter because she started hopping over the fence again. (I don't have immediate danger outside their coop - I wanted to keep them in the run so my backyard was clean for the kids) My husband held the girl down with a light towel over her head and I spread her wing and clipped the flight feathers. The whole process was 45 second, very painless. I gave them all treats after and they seemed like nothing happened.


9 Years
Oct 1, 2010
Red Creek, New York
i hold mine upside down by both feet with one hand. and clip with the other hand. makes it easier one person job. but they still can jump pretty good. i have had better results doing just one wing.
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