Clipping wings and many doubts...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AriadneCastro, Jul 6, 2016.

  1. AriadneCastro

    AriadneCastro In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2016
    Sintra, Portugal
    Chickens jump over fences, we know, but is wing clipping really such a good idea?

    My situation:

    - My chickens live in an enclosure with high walls and a few lower access points, like gates and windows. It's pretty difficult for predators like cats, foxes or genets to break in but, if they manage to, it's even harder to get out.

    - The gates are high enough to keep most intruders out, but low enough for the chickens to reach, if they use their wings. They perch themselves up there, every day, to watch my activities in the garden.

    - Even though they could easily escape from the enclosure, the amazing fact is that they don't.

    - Today, a big rat managed to enter the enclosure. I heard the noise from a distance and went to see what was going on. When I arrived, the rat was still there and all my birds where on top of the coops and gates. One was outside, in the garden, but all safe. I chased out the rat...

    I wonder what could have happened if they had clipped wings? Or if the intruder happened to be something more dangerous? I realized that if I take away their flight ability, I’m cooking a recipe for disaster.

    My question at this point is, how prone are chickens to escape from their designated areas? I mean, this is my first flock and everybody told me that they would try to escape, that I would *have to* clip their wings or be running after them like an idiot. But, so far, that never happened! They usually stay where they are supposed to stay. Even while free-ranging, they stay more or less where I put them. When I need them to come, I just shake the food can and they come. Is this just beginner's luck?

    Having had this event today, I'm reconsidering the whole idea of keeping them trapped...
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Crossing the Road Premium Member

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I know that given your area you have much different predators then I do in the middle of the USA. I do not clip wings on my birds. I do have many that are large and cannot get but a couple feet of the ground. I also have a couple that can fly quite well. I have not had issues with them leaving the area. My first flock did not have a roof or wire on top of the run area and never left it. Even though the grass was much greener on the other side mine stayed put quite well. I never had to chase them down or herd them back in.

    I do not think it is beginners luck. I think they are getting everything they need so there is no need to wonder off.

    I would go with keeping them flighted so that if a situation arose where they NEEDED the wings they still have them.
    1 person likes this.
  3. SIMZ

    SIMZ Crowing

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    It often depends on the chicken. I agree with your point and don't clip wings until I find myself chasing a certain chicken like an idiot. LOL (Or chasing them out of my garden like an idiot!) Then I'll clip the wing feathers of that chicken. Many of mine can't or won't fly out anyway, so it's not necessary. Some of mine can still jump and fly, even with clipped feathers, enough to escape on a daily basis.
    1 person likes this.

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