To Clip or Not to Clip - That is the Question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mountain gma, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. mountain gma

    mountain gma Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 3, 2008
    Canton in Western NC
    Hope I've got this in the right section . . . When I get my new chicks I'd like to ensure that they don't become wanderers like my first flock. Should I clip their wings? If yes, then how old do they have to be and how do I do that? Do I need special clippers? After clipping can I use anti-biotic ointment on the cut (don't laugh)? I've ordered large chickens including Plymouth Rock, Auracanas, and Black something-or-others. I don't want to wait until I have to wrestle them to the ground.
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  2. rockabilly7

    rockabilly7 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 30, 2008
    Florida panhandle
    I wouldnt clip their wings if they start to wander just keep them in their coop for a couple of days and they will always go back to that same spot or build them a run. But if you do clip no ointment needed unless you accidently make them bleed its kind of like clipping a dogs nails. but different if that makes any sense lol!!!
     
  3. Zoomom

    Zoomom Certified Cackleberry Consumer

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm assuming clipping chicken wings is the same technique as clipping parrot wings, which I have done a lot of.
    You aren't cutting the flesh, just the dead part of the feathers on the end of the wings, the primary flight feathers.
    You want to make usre not to cut a blood feather.
    Trimming has to be done after every molt as the feathers grow back.
    Basically you stretch out the wing and using a big pair of scissors, trim the flight feathers to make them shorter so the bird cannot get lift off. I always trim the same number on each side so they aren't lop-sided and have more tendency to crash land.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Nearly the same, only difference is you want to do one wing on chickens. That way they can't get as high due to being off balance. They aren't likely to crash land since they don't normally fly in the first place.
     
  5. Zoomom

    Zoomom Certified Cackleberry Consumer

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    Jan 22, 2009
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks! Good to know about the difference with chickens only needing one wing clipped!
    In parrots, when you first trim the wings sometimes they don't realize they can't fly any more and go down hard.
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  6. mountain gma

    mountain gma Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 3, 2008
    Canton in Western NC
    Thanks everybody, you guys are so cool. I postponed my delivery of 25 new chicks to May. I'm going to move my coop to a more protected area and try a new approach to fencing a run. Last time, don't laugh, I fenced in the entire yard (2/3 acre). In a day the youngsters had figured out where the faults were and squeezed around, under, in between, and eventually flew up and over. For about a day I chased them around and then I said, OK you're on your own. I've lost a lot of chickens to predators and motorists below on the road and now I'm going to get serious. This morning my neighbor brought me an egg one of my hens dropped on his front porch. Of course it was cracked and no good to me. I really wanted lots of eggs and it's just not happening. Well I'm sure it's happening but just not in the nesting boxes I provided. Anyhoo, thanks again all. If I decide to clip I'll follow your advice and the templates elsewhere on this site. P.S. I'll never ever butcher another rooster or hen. One was quite enough. [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  7. kryptoniteqhs

    kryptoniteqhs Rosecomb Rich

    Nov 14, 2008
    Perris, CA
    Quote:ok, first and most importantly....there should be NO cut! You are clipping the wing FEATHERS, not the skin and bone and muscle! If you are going to clip their wings wait until they are completely feathered out...and id say at least 3 mos old. look it up and find out which ones you need to clip and PLEASE dont clip too far down....you shouldnt make them anywhere NEAR short enough to where theyd bleed
     
  8. kryptoniteqhs

    kryptoniteqhs Rosecomb Rich

    Nov 14, 2008
    Perris, CA
    Quote:you need a coop....keep them in the coop for a week or so after you get them or since your getting chicks, i do mine inside until they are 2-3 months old and when they do get out its under CLOSE supervision. By the time theyre old enough to freely go in and out, theyll know where home is and know where the food comes from and wont stray far. they should always come back, they wont tho, if you dont have a nice place for them to roost at night.
     
  9. CityClucks

    CityClucks The Center of a 50 Mile Radius

    Jan 31, 2009
    Tulsa, OK
    You'll only clip the 10 flight feathers at the very end of one wing. My clucks never know I've done it, and with their wings tucked neatly at their sides as usual, you can't even tell I've clipped them. Here's a handy image I use as a guide:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Great pic! [​IMG]
     

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