How young to clip wings?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by reedyfork, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    My chicks are only 5 weeks old, but I was wondering at what age folks begin to clip their birds' wings? Obviously, they have lots of growing still to do, but I thought this might be one of those tasks that would be easier later if they were introduced to the process at an early age... Or, is it typical to just wait until they're fully grown?

    Just thinking ahead...

    Ron
     
  2. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    First, do you have a reason to clip wings? If not don't, don't worry about it. The reason I ask is I have actually had folks ask me about clipping wings simply because they believed the chickens would fly away like a wild turkey or something.
    If you fence is at least 5 foot high most heavy breeds can't get that high.
    Clipping at 5 weeks will require clipping again in just a few weeks.
    As far as getting them use to it, won't happen. In my experience they either squirm and raise a ruckus or they don't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  3. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    First, do you have a reason to clip wings?
    If you fence is at least 5 foot high most heavy breeds can't get that high.

    I'm in an urban backyard environment, with a 4' tall picket fence around the yard. The chicks (RIRs) will be here in our house for another several weeks (until they have full feathers and I can finish the coop), but I am concerned about them flying over the fence and winding up in the street, one of our neighbors' dogs' dinners, or eating a neighbor's garden or something. I have no intention of clipping their wings now unless folks felt strongly that it would help them to get used to the process.​
     
  4. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would probably clipped but just so you know four foot is not that high and even with clippled wings they may go over. Does the fence have a support board that runs horizontal to the ground that is about three foot high. If so I can definately see a chicken jumping to the three foot support then over.
    I have a four foot chain link fence around my yard (a bit more then an 1/2 acre) and 24 hens and I have had only one go over the fence in about 13 years. (they only get to range in the yard from about November to middle of March).
     
  5. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    We built our run with a 4½' tall fence thinking clipping their wings would work. We were so very wrong. They would be up and over the day after clipping. After growing in new feathers my California White flew up 8½' with no problem. My son was working on the coop roof and Nellie wanted to see what he was doing. We covered their run for Winter and plan to have it totally enclosed this coming Summer.

    Even if you do decide to go the wing clipping route, remember that there is a period of time after each molt that you want to hold off on clipping because the feathers will still have blood flowing in them. They will be able to fly well during this period.

    I've had wing clipping experience with domestic house birds. It doesn't matter what species of bird. They aren't excited about it. My chickens handled it better though. Its not like trimming the toe nails on dogs or cats. Wing clipping doesn't happen as frequently for them to remember as nail trimming on dogs and cats does.

    I'd recommend convincing your girls that staying in the yard is the preferred place to be. I have close neighbors and don't have a fenced in yard, yet my girls stayed home. Granted, this was their first summer. Containing your birds and then providing controlled outings is what I recommend. Don't just let them be out all the time. You'll have better control of the situation if predators come into the yard then also. Cats and some dogs can jump the fence when they see the fun things to chase.

    Best of luck!
     
  6. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Its not like trimming the toe nails on dogs or cats. Wing clipping doesn't happen as frequently for them to remember as nail trimming on dogs and cats does.

    Thanks to both of you for the information! This comment about trimming dogs nails is exactly what I had in my head. With my puppy (15 years ago) I remember doing all sorts of things (rubbing his paws, feeling around in his mouth, massaging, etc.) in order to have him get used to those situations and be more comfortable about nail trimming, teeth brushing, and bathing later on. I guess this is not the case with chickens though...

    My 3 hens will have a small, fully-covered, and screened run connected to their henhouse. This will then connect to a small, separated, fenced-in part of our backyard (10' x 20' area) that they will have access to almost all the time. Only on rare, supervised occasions will they have access to the rest of our backyard.

    Luckily, I'm about the third guy in the neighborhood to raise backyard chickens, so the concept is not totally alien to most of my neighbors. Everyone seems quite amused and interested, so if one of my hens gets loose everyone will know where it belongs:)

    Thanks again!

    Ron​
     
  7. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My 3 hens will have a small, fully-covered, and screened run connected to their henhouse. This will then connect to a small, separated, fenced-in part of our backyard (10' x 20' area) that they will have access to almost all the time. Only on rare, supervised occasions will they have access to the rest of our backyard.

    Well, if it was me, I'd just go ahead and get some inexpensive netting to cover over that 10' by 20' area. Then you wouldn't have to worry about clipping wings or hawk attacks.​
     
  8. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ron,
    You can get deer netting at most hardware stores. It is what I have over my run. It is about $10 for 100 foot roll. Mine has been up since 2005 and still going strong.
    Like the one poster said I don't have to worry about wing clipping and more importantly the abundance of red tail hawks we have around.
     
  9. reedyfork

    reedyfork Out Of The Brooder

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    Good idea! I would say that hawks are going to be a pretty big concern for me here. The neighborhood we live in is fairly "neat", and we live on a very visible corner lot, so I just have to figure out a way to make the netting work without being too unsightly.

    Our ordinance just passed last year, so I'm doing everything I can to keep my neighbors happy and to not make this whole project an eyesore...

    Thanks again!

    Ron
     
  10. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Deer netting is light weight and from a distance almost invisible.
    I live in suburban setting and I work hard to keep everything "attractive". Just keep the coop painted, fencing in good repair, plants around the run, maybe a flower box or two on the coop, you get the idea. INMHO my coop is more appealing to the eye then my neighbors garden sheds.
     

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