Mallard trying out his flying


May 23, 2016
New Hampshire
My 11 week old Snowy Mallard has been doing a lot of flapping and jumping and test flying. He gets about 3 - 4 feet off the ground for a couple of seconds. I know he has not done his adult molt yet. Should I trim his wings now or wait til after the molt? He free ranges during the day inside a yard with a 4 ft fence. Don't want him to accidentally fly over it.
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We have three mallards here and they are fully flighted now. They free range late in the day till dark with our chickens, and occasionally fly around the yard. Last night, they flew in the opposite direction, towards the trees and forest on our property. As soon as they saw the trees, they freaked and scattered mid-air. I was terrified lol. I ran out and around the fence and into the trees. Found two of them, but didn't see the third. She was about 30 feet or so down the fenceline. All three were still as could be, they had NO idea what they'd done or where to go lol.

Your little one, as he begins to get his flight wings, will definitely be able to fly over a 4 footer. Our run is 18x24 with a 6 ft. fence and they easily come off the ground and over it into the yard.

As to your question about his wings...I don't have an answer but am going to hang around for it. We're debating on this, as well.
I fully intended from the start to clip his wings, to avoid exactly what you've experienced. I've clipped many types of bird wings so doing it is very easy, I just didn't want to put him thru the stress of it now if his wing feathers are just going to fall out in a couple of weeks and I'll have to do it all again.
At 11 weeks, you can do it now, but it won't last long since he's going to do away with those feathers shortly, but you can do it now. However, make sure that if you are going to do so, that he is protected from predators. Once you clip their wings, he cannot get away.
He's completely protected as long as he doesn't fly out of the pen - hence the need for clipping. I was just trying to avoid stressing him out TWICE by clipping his wings before and after molting. If he is just going to lose his flight feathers in a few weeks anyway, I'll just wait. But if he wasn't due to molt for over a month or so, I would just do it now.

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