I need a clipped wing to grow back immediately. Is this possible?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Spangled, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Am adopting a pullet hatched around May in a few days or next week. They clipped one of her wings before they knew they wouldn't be keeping her.

    So, since I tend to free day-range my chickens, whose wings I've never clipped (or at least let them out of their large run most of the time), I want a chicken that can escape any predators and also any other chickens she may not get along with because she can't fly normally, etc. I need her to not have a clipped wing ... if that is possible. It's a safety issue, to me, and I'd like her to be able to act like a natural chicken does instead of being sort of held back by the impediment of a wing that doesn't work as the hen expected it to when she grew it out the first time.

    She won't go through a natural molt until next fall. So waiting a year for her to molt naturally is not ideal.

    I'm wondering if I were to pluck out the clipped feathers if they would grow back in the next month or so. I could keep her separated in a small 4x8 coop/pen with my most docile hen for company so no one picked on those few empty follicles--if necessary--plus she could get a tweaked feed ration so that her feathers could grow back at the quickest natural rate possible.

    Has anyone dealt with this before? What am I forgetting or not realizing? I just want this new chicken to be able to safely hang out with my free day-range flock.
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am pretty sure that they will not grow back until she molts. What breed is she. My leghorn has a clipped wing (which I now also wish I could make grow in) and can still fly over a 5 ft fence so it may not be as bad as it seems.

    Good luck.
     
  3. ibarbidahl

    ibarbidahl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My only advice is to make sure both sides are clipped so she can at least 'fly' somewhat evenly. They can still get going, just not really well or all that high unless they are lighter weight. If she's young she may still be able to get up there - and maybe she's used to being clipped. If so then I wouldn't worry too much.

    I wouldn't advise plucking the feathers. :-( Painful and bloody those feathers are very large ones in particular.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They would grow back. Don't know her breed, but she may not be a good flyer anyway.
     
  5. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for replies.

    She's just a regular dual-purpose breed that was bought this spring from the local feed store. She's definitely not a Leghorn. She'll fly just as well as any of my other dual-purpose chickens if her feathers would grow back in. It's probably the slowest chicken to take cover that will be dinner for a predator, and that may or may not be her because it also matters exactly how far out a chicken ventures from cover. Silkies, for example, don't fly, but ours also don't venture too far from cover, so they have done very well day-ranging here. It's not like we have a huge predator problem; it's more a matter of prevention and vigilance and finger crossing.

    Anyway, I eventually found this:

    For those that don't know yet, clicking on the green arrow should take you to that thread which is about regrowing feathers for show chickens.

    Researching the web led me to a cockatiel site that mentioned that plucked flight feathers will grow back in 6-8 weeks. I know that sometimes feathers can grow back in on the bare backs of hens at any time of year, but it seems that the feathers must be plucked out instead of just broken off. Also the skin or follicle should not be damaged or pecked at afterward or that can partially or entirely inhibit regrowth of the feathers. So I'll have to watch that if I decide to pluck a few out over a couple of weeks' time.

    I'm not sure what to do. It would be easier for me to do nothing and let the hen deal with living with a clipped wing until next October/November (or around then), but that seems to be a little harsh as she would be obviously the odd bird out and at risk in my mind. Additionally, I could then just keep her in a separate run/coop combo with another hen or two for the duration. I just wish they hadn't clipped her wings and then just a week or two later decided that she doesn't fit in. But what's done is done. We're all doing the best we can.
     
  6. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    x2. Clip her other wing so she has balanced flight. She will still be able to fly 4-6' high with 2 clipped wings. My girls have one clipped and still fly up to my deck rail at 40".
     
  7. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Chillin' With My Peeps

    x3 clip her other wing and i would think plucking the feathers out would be painful and dont see her trusting you or having a good relaship in future with that but i am new to chickens so i coujld be wrong
     
  8. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    3 1/4 feet. Hmmm. That's not too bad. Dual purpose chicken? Clipping the other side does seem like a reasonable option. I really don't want her to appear as a freak to the rest of the flock. The whole flock could turn on her.

    Yes, chickens do remember stuff like that. But they also remember treats pretty well. So maybe I could get her to forget. But actually, just clipping her other wing would give her the ability to be balanced and if she can fly up just over 3 feet, that's not too bad. Granted many of her flock mates can fly up to a 6 foot roost. At least I have shorter roosts that some of the chickens sit on so she'll have company at bedtime.
     
  9. TurtlePowerTrav

    TurtlePowerTrav T.K.'s Farm

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    I don't think the flock will bother her with the clipped wings. And the 40" is the highest thing I have for them to fly up to. They may be able to go higher with two wings clipped. My next thing they could fly up to would be the top of the house or shed. Both are 9-10' high. And plucking the flight feathers would be very painfull, there are 10 of them remember. [​IMG]If you have lower and higher roosts she could probably fly to the lower then fly up to the top one.[​IMG]
     
  10. NYREDS

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

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    If you do nothing they won't grow back 'till she molts. If you pull the cut off feathers they'll grow back in a few weeks. The idea that it will affect your "relationship" with the hen is just silly.
     

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