Clipping Wings

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nancy1zak, May 19, 2010.

  1. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Songster

    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    Should we clip our chickens wings? We have been letting them out a little bit at a time while we are out there and I have noticed them getting some good lift. The little ones more so then the buff orpingtons. The BOs do a run-fly action. I just don't want them to fly away.

  2. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    You can clip their wings if you want, but be aware that you are removing one of their escape mechanisms. If they need to get out of danger, wing clipping may mean the the difference between them getting away and getting eaten. Chickens can't fly that well, so they aren't likely to "fly away," although they might get enough air to hop their fence.
    A good link to clipping wings
    I don't clip wings myself, but understand the necessity at times.
    Good luck.
  3. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Songster

    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    If I clip wings are then able to get up to their roost bars?
  4. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    I have bantams who are very good fliers, but I don't clip their wings, and I've never had any one of them fly out of the yard. We have a 6 foot fence, and they stay put in our yard.
  5. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Songster

    May 25, 2009
    I would guess that their ability to get to the roost after wing clipping will all depend on a few factors - one being how high the roost is, and the other being how many primaries you clip. I have cockatiels, and if I clip too much, they can safely land, but don't gain any lift or height. I'm sure it's the same with chickens. Good thing is they grow back during molting - so if it doesn't work out, it's not a permanent thing. I've never paid much attention to the molting cycle of my hens so not sure just how long that is. My house birds re-grow in about 4-6 months.

    The feathers are like hair, doesn't hurt to cut. But beware - you don't cut a "blood feather" - a feather that is new and still has blood in the shaft. It can cause a LOT of bleeding - and in smaller birds - that loss of blood can mean death. You can pretty much tell if it's a blood feather - the shaft of the feather will be very dark as opposed to hollow and light colored (depending on feather color of course) -

    The pros and cons are what they are. You limit flying, but also limit escape. You need to decide what is best for your situation.

    My girls for the most part don't really fly - just use wing flapping to aid in speed running. Except for my EE girl, she flies to roost on the top of the coop now and then when free ranging - and sometimes on my back, head or tractor if I'm in there cleaning it out [​IMG] - silly girl. She just likes to be involved I guess - to see what I'm doing - maybe I'm putting more goodies in there and she can get them first before everyone else finds out [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 19, 2010
  6. nancy1zak

    nancy1zak Songster

    May 27, 2008
    Morris County, NJ
    I guess I should think about it some more. My Bantam Cohins fly around. And, my Americauna flew over our 5 ft fence today when I was trying to get her. Not a good thing, because my neighbors dog is always lurking around. She squeezed back through the bars of the fence. Does anyone have an Americauna that is crazy? All our other chickens (buff orpingtons, rhode island reds, and bantam cochins are so friendly and easy going. The americauna freaks out if we even look like we might head in her direction. Forget catching her. She is a loner and we treat her with extra treats in another part of the pen so she doesn't get bullied out of anything. Is that just norm for the breed?
  7. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    We have a 4ft high fence and clip one wing on all hens, just so they're off balance and can't get enough lift for over the fence. They can still hop up on their roosts, about 2 ft off the coop floor. Ours only free range when we're out or if the dog's out, so there's less chance of a predator attack.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by