Clipping flight feathers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Shamrock, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Shamrock

    Shamrock Hatching

    Jul 6, 2008

    My chickens have started flying. They are flying out of their run. I've been told if you clip their flight feathers this should prevent them flying all over the place. Does anyone know how to do this. I'm afraid I might clip the wrong ones and it would be great if anyone had a website with diagrams?
  2. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:when we 1st. built our run , hubby could not cover the top with wire mess due to rain every every day , So , he clipped all their flight feathers . Guess he knew what he was doing since he raised Parrots long ago . they did NOT fly out at all . They naturally tried to , but did not get very high at all ... RUN height is 8 ft. tall ..... LOL

    they do have a website to explain how to cut flight feathers . MAYBE someone else will come along and post the website for ya . GOOD LUCK
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  3. Shamrock

    Shamrock Hatching

    Jul 6, 2008
    [​IMG]:yiipchickThanks Cajunlizz, hopefully I'll get a website from somewhere. I suppose we could put a roof over the area. It's a big area though!
  4. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    It shouldn't be too difficult to do. When you spread out the wing , near the end will be a row of longer, stronger feathers. Those are the flight feathers. People just take real short ( or even cat claw clippers ) to cut each one of those feathers about an inch or so from there base. Down to approx. the same length as the other set. Do a search if you need pictures.
  5. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I can tell you how but can't guarantee they won't be able to fly out anyway! Some folks with lightweight birds, like bantams, say they can fly even while pinioned.

    You cradle your bird, extend one wing and the flight feathers will spread out like fingers....the larger feathers, extending from the tip clear down to the body/shoulder are the ones you want to cut. These are the primaries and secondaries, and you can cut them at their base. Be careful to not cut too closely to the base, as you may cut the flesh. I come out about a quarter to a half inch from the base and clip straight across. I do the secondary feathers also, just to be thorough. I only do one wing, as this makes flight less likely. Two wings and they just might get a little equal pressure under the wings and fly straight, not high, but, ya never know!
  6. karen71

    karen71 Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Bear, DE
    ok here is a stupid question
    I finally got my chickens today- 3 golden comets- 1 barred rock and 2 silkies because my Son wanted them -
    I was unaware you had to clip their wings - does this have to be done?
  7. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Only if you don't want them to fly over a fence! [​IMG] Mine are in a 3 ft. tall chain link run until the garden can stand their attacks...then its back to freerange. Even with their wings clipped, one old biddy can still hop up onto the gate, so we added some wire to that. Also keeps them from roosting in the trees and the barn rafters when they freerange! [​IMG]
  8. Shamrock

    Shamrock Hatching

    Jul 6, 2008

    Thanks guys for all your help. You ll be all happy to know, we will be doing this tomorrow, thanks to all your feedback. We ll keep you posted. Possibly take some picture for you Karen. I didnt know about flight feathers either until my dad who lives in the city but knows loads about farms, told me! [​IMG]
  9. Squeaky

    Squeaky I squeak, therefore I am

    Jul 5, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Step By Step Instructions In Wing Feather Trimming

    1. Chicken wing feather trimming is a very precise science. Know your expletives and how to use them.

    2. Collect your tools: one set of clippers, one bag of treats, small folding stool, Band-Aids, and a cell phone pre-programmed with 911 and Dial-A-Prayer

    3. Make your way to the run and try to act nonchalant. You will be swarmed by chooks wanting food.

    4. Sit on the stool (the one you brought, not the chicken poop) and entice the birds to come closer.

    5. Get a chicken on your lap. Use the treats as a bribe.

    6. Pet the chicken to relax her. Gently stretch out the wing on which you will clip the feathers.

    7. Look at the long flight primaries on the wing, near the tip. The first dozen primaries are the ones that need to be clipped.

    8. Gently bring the clippers to the edge of one primary, about an inch away from the flesh of the wing. Those feathers are tough so you have to really clip hard.

    9. Retrieve the clippers that have been flung across the chicken run by the spastic chicken who DOES NOT LIKE to have her wing messed with. Refer to the expletives from Step 1.

    10. Retrieve the chicken who is now on the other side of the fence. Wipe the poop off your shirt. Refer again to the expletives from Step 1.

    11. Attempt to shoo all the chickens into the coop. If necessary, quote from "Chicken Run" about how noooo chicken escapes from your farm.

    12. Watch helplessly as the chickens stream from the run into the coop, and out again through the door. Now the chickens are all out and you're the only one in the run, and the latch has closed on the coop door from the outside. You just haaad to have the predator-proof latching system, didn't you? Yes! Try to ignore the fact they're all watching you through the fence acting innocent. The Step 1 expletives will come in handy here. You may also call for help on your cell phone. The fire department will arrive in about half an hour and use the Jaws Of Life to free you from your poultry enclosure.

    13. Get out of the run, collect the chickens from your tomato patch, the neighbor's yard, and the local pub. Pause for a refreshing drink at the pub to fortify you for the task ahead. Tell your story to your friends but omit the bit about getting locked in your own chicken enclosure. It's making the rounds already anyway, but you'd prefer to have other people think it happened to someone else.

    14. Once at home, pick up a chicken, sit on the folding stool, and pin her gently between your knees, petting her to relax her and stretching her wing out again. Clip firmly through the primaries about an inch from the fleshy part of the wing.

    15. Apply pressure to the cut you just made in the ball of your finger whilst trying to clip the last primary. This would be a good time to use the Band-Aid. Refer also to the expletives from Step 1.

    16. Watch the offended chicken blend back into your flock so that you no longer know exactly who's been wing-clipped and who hasn't.

    17. Repeat for the entire flock.

    18. Repeat again in a couple months when the feathers grow out.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: