Flyers....time to clip the wing feathers

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rhoda_bruce, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    I have neglected clipping the wing feathers on my birds long enough. They are flying over the fence....well some of them are anyway. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. Well today I found a hen dusting herself in the garden and she had just made herself a nice comfy spot in the carrots that were planted late ( about 2 weeks ago ), so about 1 foot of carrots are gone from the square footer. I put up a quick piece of protection for the garden just in case they somehow get through, but I think I need to clip.
    Also I noticed the neighbor's black lab was let loose for a run, so I decided it was time for all the girls to get picked up. I wouldn't have had to worry if the flyers hadn't gone AWOL, so for their own protection and for my investment in them, I guess flying is out.
    One day I plan on my runs being as safe as the coop, with no escapes/ no entries, but for now the quickest fix I can think of is for the left wing feathers to disappear.
    I'm not looking forward to it. I am believing this will be harder than vaccinating them.
    Also, sometimes I find a problem and I say to myself,"well this is what I have to do to solve this problem," and I do it and find out that if I had thought the whole thing out, I would have seen it that it wasn't THIS WAY, but THAT WAY that I needed to go. So I am hoping that after I spend about 2 hours clipping my birds wings and getting them all upset, that I don't see something much easier.
    Anyone with valueable experience regarding my above problem? I love my chickens, but I love my garden too. I only have about 12 hours to change my mind.

  2. bulldoggin74

    bulldoggin74 In the Brooder

    Jul 30, 2009
    Don't want to discourage you, but wing clipping didn't work for us! We had 2 Minorcas that were "jumping" a 6 foot fence with clipped wings...ended up having to completely enclose the run for their protection and our peace of mind. Good Luck!
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Songster

    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    I had to clip both sides to keep mine from going awol. It wasn't hard though and the birds didn't seem to get too stressed out about it. I did it at night while they were roosting. Good luck.
  4. sammysam

    sammysam In the Brooder

    Oct 11, 2009
    I'm having the same problem and thought about clipping them also, but still undecided. Hopefully someone can give us some advise.
  5. Kanga77510

    Kanga77510 Songster

    Oct 10, 2009
    Santa Fe, TX
    The hardest part for us was catching the girls. We did it in the middle of the day, with help from my dad. Rounding them up and grabbing them took three adults, LOL. It doesn't hurt the birds, kind of like trimming nails. Think of it like that, you trim your cat's or dog's nails for their safety, right? Well, now you're trimming the bird's wings for safety.

    You should have a way to separate the clipped from the non clipped. Maybe first thing in the morning, clip and then turn them outside one by one.
  6. We do all our clipping at night when they are on the roost. Wife holds the bird, I hold the flashlight and clip just one wing to throw off their balance. If you clip both wings they can learn to just flap harder to get over. Use sharp scissors and clip just the first 10 primary feathers.
  7. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    My the good Lord be with me. I plan on doing the 2 roosters first and then the alpha females. I have over 60 to do. Might be a good time to count exactly what I have left. I have eaten a few and ever once and a while I like a head count to make sure one didn't get abducted. I'm sure when this is over I will have an interesting story to tell.

  8. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    Clipping wing feathers is not difficult at all, rhoda_bruce. Make sure you have some sharp scissors and just cut the feathers. You probably know how to do this already, but here is a handy diagram just in case.

  9. If you can do them at night, and with two people, one to hold and one to clip, you can take them off the roost, clip one wing and place them back on the roost. We can do all 90 some of ours in less than an hour. And there is no chasing and very little squawking.
  10. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Songster

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    I would almost agree to do it at night. I almost could, except I would have had to make some changes on the amount of bars I allow them. Their roost room is about 8 X 9 ft and is closed. I can open it with 2 big doors to change out the litter I keep under them ( Pine or Cypress needles ). And they can enter and exit from a small chicken size door. I can also lock them in completely if I need to.
    I'm just not sure if I can keep them quiet while I'm doing that and if they will stay put or if I will have almost identical RIRs running around me and flying in my face. How did it work out for you as far as keeping them under control? If I think it is worth while to wait another 24 hours I might.

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