Clipping feathers questions????

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by nettie, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    Chicago, IL
    I am getting a mini appleyard or possibly aussie potted duckling this coming spring. I've read just about everywhere that these ducks are small enough to fly well.

    How often do their wings need to be clipped? What's the difference between clipping and pinoining? Is clipping something the vet needs to do or i can learn to do? (if the vet, does anyone know the approx. cost?)


    My pet ducks spend a good chunk of their time hanging out inside my house in their pen on my back patio/sunroom. I have two runners (one of which is huge and well, kinda fat looking) who can barely fly out of their low pen into the rest of the house (which they do only when we're cooking, lol and they smell food). But a small duck might be able to fly out easier and could get in a lot more trouble than my current duckies, so it'll need to be clipped/pinoined. any info would help greatly!
     
  2. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Clipping will need to be done every 6-8 weeks to keep them from being able to fly. Clipping is something you can do with a pair of scissors. Hold the duck down, extend one wing out and cut the secondary feathers off. It's easier to have a second pair of hands and/or a towel to keep them from squirming.

    Pinioning is different. You know that part of the chicken wing that isn't edible because of all the little bones? That end tip? That is snipped off when the duckling is less than a week old. When they grow up they don't have the primary flight feathers. Some of your lighter birds _can_ still fly after being pinioned. They just can't fly for long distances since it takes more effort to go somewhere, which means you don't have to worry about mallards migrating.

    Usually the hatchery will pinion a duckling for you. If it's a hatchling and you have a strong stomach you can do it yourself with a sharp pair of scissors. Make sure you disinfect the area after pinioning. If you're worried about blood loss then have some cheap tea bags from the grocery store nearby (any brand will do). Slap the tea bag on the end to stop the bleeding.

    Incidentally, this works with anything that is bleeding. I don't pinion, but I still always keep tea bags in our first aid kit - it even works for people.
     
  3. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    very interesting about the tea bags, i'll have to remember that...

    Now as for clipping the flight feathers, do you have to trim all of the secondary feathers (those are the longest ones correct on the tip of the wing?) How far down do you clip them?
     
  4. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    How far you cut them depends on how far up the quick is. When I had mallards, I only took about an inch off and they were fine. I cut the feathers straight off and it looked terrible. Maybe you should cut them like a human fingernail, in that little curve. Like this - ).
     
  5. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    i'm assuming you only want to cut up to the quick not into it right?

    Also, do you have to do both wings or only one?
     
  6. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    Yes, do not cut the quick, just up to it.

    I tried only cutting one wing and they could still fly, so its best to do both.
     
  7. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Quote:Only cut one wing, it throws them off balance. Think of an airplane that losses a wing or part of a wing... you read about the crash in the newspaper. If you shorten both wings it can still fly.

    Steve in NC
     
  8. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    A plane with both wings broken off can't fly either. I had mallards and cutting one wing did nothing to stop them from flying.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  9. nettie

    nettie Enslaved by Indoor Ducks

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    do you cut all of the flight feathers on the wing? or just some of them?
     
  10. sandspoultry

    sandspoultry Everybody loves a Turkey

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    Quote:We usually just cut the ones on the last 1/3 of the wing towards the tip, it kind of depends on the weight of the bird. The more weight they have the less it takes to throw them off balance.

    Steve in NC
     

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