Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by janramsey, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. janramsey

    janramsey In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2007
    Vilonia, Arkansas
    Does this mean to just clip the wings to keep them from flying or does it mean to take the whole wing off???[​IMG]
  2. hencackle

    hencackle Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    Telford, TN
  3. MTchick

    MTchick Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Western Montana
    I looked this up on google because I had never heard of it. The "dewing" that is available on Ideal and a couple other hatcheries seems to be something that is done to baby chicks permanently. That means it is one of two things; either they are scarring the wing so badly as to prevent growth of the flight feathers on a permanent basis, or they are amputating at least the first joint of the wing itself.

    So I'm guessing it means to take a large part of the wing right off. I think the synonym would be "pinioning," which means to cut off the last joint on a young bird. Does anyone know if this is what de-wing is?

    The real question is why on earth someone would potentially do that to a chick. I think this lies in the chicken feed to egg conversion that really large farms are concerned with. Flight feathers are very energy and protein intensive to grow. If you eliminate them, the chicken has proportionately more energy with which to make eggs from the same amount of feed. This could translate to big bucks if you de-winged thousands and thousands of chicks.

    Incidentally, this repulses me. But it is interesting to think about and makes me glad I have my own flock that will start laying soon.


    Edit: I forgot to mention that clipping is a whole different thing. Feathers themselves grow back, do not experience pain, and are not upsetting to the bird to clip. Totally different!!
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2007
    1 person likes this.
  4. janramsey

    janramsey In the Brooder

    Apr 21, 2007
    Vilonia, Arkansas
    Thanks for the info......I have decided not to do this....made me want to cry....!![​IMG]
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I read this and called the hatchery we use to ask what and how its done. They dont do it, ever, but they told me about it. Basically, they take the newly hatched chick, hold its wing out and run it over a fast moving heated saw blade that cuts and cauterizes (seals the wound so little or no bleeding) at the same time, and they cut off the entire end of the wing. It will never regrow, never grow feathers, and the poor bird will never experience the joys of flight. Ever. Its permenant.

    However, clipping the feathers is perfectly normal and easy to do, and is NOT permenant. I clip the feathers on our pet parrots, so they dont go flying off into the sunset! And my macaw would too! She LOVES it outside! Anywho, you just clip a few of the flight feathers. A heavy bodied bird (like a parrot or a chicken) cant get enough lift without them and therefore can not fly away. However, the dont drop like a bomb if they fall either because they can 'glide' short distances if you clip only a few. On a very small bird, you would need to clip nearly all of the wing feathers to keep them grounded, and even then its not 100%. The primary flight feathers are the first/longest ones you see when you open the wing and view it from above.


    Avoid cutting the secondaries, or cutting into the cuverlets. There is blood supplu there. Also, never clip a feather that is still growing. They still have blood supply and act like a straw when cut, pumping and spurting blood everywhere. If you should accidentally clip one, you will need to pull the feather out to control the bleeding. Grip the feather shaft with a pliers and in one good tug, pull it out fast and clean. Then apply Quik Stop powder, or corn starch or flour and pressure until the bleeding stops.

    I always clip the feathers up near where the shaft meets the cuverlets. You get a cleaner look, less jagged edges to irritate the bird as they grow in, and they take longer to regrow.
  6. PuffyChick

    PuffyChick Chirping

    Jun 7, 2012

    I can see in a small plot like mine the benifits of having my chicks dewinged.

    We live near a busy road and if a chicken ever gets over our 6ft fence they might get run over rather quick.

    I would rather have this done than have to retrieve a fully grown chicken from being killed on the road, because it managed to take enough flight with trimmed wings.

    Having said that can you 'show' chickens that have been dewinged? Like 4-H?
  7. PrecioustoHim

    PrecioustoHim In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2013
    better to place fencing over the top of the fenced in area to prevent flying out! [​IMG]
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Many things in animal husbandry seem cruel and barbaric to people with no direct knowledge, but the truth is often different than the perception. Consider spaying or neutering a dog or cat. How barbaric can you get? Have you had your pet spayed or neutered? I have.

    Chicks are de-winged so they can be pastured. That enables them to get out of doors. If you clip wings you have to do that every time they molt. Growing chicks replace their feathers three times before they reach maturity. They simply outgrow their feathers and need to replace them.

    Can you imagine how hard I would be to keep track of thousands of chicks on pasture so you’d be able to keep the wings clipped as they molted so they don’t fly over the fence and meet a coyote? I’m not talking about a few chicks in somebody’s back yard. I’m talking about larger commercial operations, such as you might get with a reasonably sized organic operation.

    I don’t de-wing my chicks. I manage them so I don’t need to. I imagine the vast majority of people on this forum don't either. But I’m not raising thousands on pasture behind a fairly short electric net or fencing. And some hatcheries' customers want this service.
  9. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    This also something more commonly done on more exotic fowl, like foreign geese and swan. Google and see how much a pair of swan costs, some cheap ones can still costs thousands of dollars. People don't typically want that much money just flying away...
  10. Chiks N Stiks

    Chiks N Stiks In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2015
    Out In The Sticks
    I am buying from Ideal Poultry. Their site says de-winging is not recommended for small flocks. I can see the benefits of de-winging though. Living in the city -- with fencing regulations from the neighborhood association preventing tall fences. Living in the country, the real country -- out in the sticks. Wild animals will decimate a flock in a week if it is not properly contained. Cutting down trees so that a cover can be built over the chicken run, in my opinion, is not better than de-winging. Trees are important and provide many benefits. Living in the country with neighbors near. Chickens go into the neighbor's yard and do not return... Sure, you could build an 8 or 10 foot fence around all your acres, but at some point it just becomes cost prohibitive. Or, I can keep the girls all cooped up. That's not considered human either...

    I've considered de-winging. I live out in the country with wildlife. I didn't. I got dogs instead, in hopes of training them to guard the chickens. More humane? Well the 5 chickens and 6 guineas (all dead now) on which the dogs learned not to kill my birds might have a different opinion. The dogs are great now! They really look out for the girls. However, how will I feel if the local mountain lion or bobcat gets a hankerin' for a chicken dinner -- and my dogs jump in to protect and get all torn up and die? Is that more humane -- buying dogs for protection and knowing they might get maimed or die? I know for certain I will be super sad if that happens! I love my chickens. I love my pups too! I can't bring myself to shoot such a magnificent creature as a mountain lion, just trying to feed her cubs...

    I don't think there are easy answers. I think most of us do the best we can. I hope my dogs' ferocious barking is enough to keep away the wildlife. I don't want my dogs, my chickens, or even the wildlife to be harmed. Doesn't help with owls though. They just swoop in silently at night. In a week, my flock of guineas was down by 5. I think I was like a McDonald's to the owl! I couldn't bring myself to shoot the owl for doing what owls do. I have too many trees to cut down to put a cover on the run -- and the girls LOVE roaming the fields in the day, with the hawks, Mexican eagles, and turkey buzzards flying above... sooooo, I'm buying more chickens. The dogs can't watch them all, all the time.
    1 person likes this.

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