Pinioning Chicks?

Lil Chickie Mama

10 Years
Apr 1, 2009
Okay this may sound either weird or cruel, but it's just for curiosity sake I don't plan on doing it. My coop is 100% covered so don't worry
I've read about people pinoning ducklings, other waterfowl, or baby quail, but I haven't seen it for chickens other than in the Storey's guide. I'm curious if anyone does this with their chickens. I assume that it's done for waterfowl because they are more likely to feel the urge to migrate and be GONE and quail would similarly try to fly away if given the chance whereas chickens have the instinct (usually) to come home to roost and while they may get some height and distance for a short time, they can't maintain it. I'm not looking for people to say how terrible a practice this is, please, I'm just wondering if anyone does it.

Also, as a side question: Everything I've seen says to use shears to pinion a duckling. In the movie "Fly Away Home" the animal control officer was going to do it with nail clippers. Would using nail clippers even work or would it be too shallow and not reach the joint?

Thanks for any input!
Pinioning is surgically removing the pinion joint, the last joint on the wing, to permanently prevent flight. Instead of clipping feathers once a year and worrying about clipping a blood feather or the feathers not falling out during a molt, pinioning removes the end of the wing where the flight feathers grow so they never grow in. If done it should only be done in the first few days of life so it can heal. As a side benefit, it takes a lot of energy to produce and maintain flight feathers so that energy can be put into meat/egg/growth production.
I've not done it but I wouldn't think it was any worse in any way than docking puppy's tails, which I have done. If it is done in the first few days of life, it doesn't seem to cause pain and almost no bleeding at all. When I dock tails, I do it while the pup is nursing and they never miss a beat and keep right on nursing like nothing happened. Sometimes Mama Dog isn't too happy about it..........
Seems like it would be an effective way to keep chickens from flying out of their pen.
I don't think it would be a good idea for free range chickens, making it one less resource for escaping predators.
I don't like if you're going to keep roos too. Actually I don't like it anyway, but that's another thread. One of the six production red hens that I bought as an adult had this done. I have roosters and the poor girl now lives in the quarantine pen with a buddy. She can't move as fast as the other girls so the roos plucked her bald and aprons won't stay on her with the stubby little wings. She also isn't able to get up to the roosts at night so she sleeps in a nest box and I have to clean it up every morning. I'm sure the pain of the procedure doesn't last, but it does effect their quality of life.

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