To clip or not to clip - that is the question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lbartsch, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. lbartsch

    lbartsch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2011
    Hello my chicken friends:

    I have a RIR, an EE and a SL Wyandotte. All are 5 months old now. The problem is that they have taken to flying over our 8 foot high fence into my neighbor's yard. And my neighbor (who is being very very nice about this) has a big dog, who given half the chance would naturally try to eat my hens. So, I was wondering if clipping their wings would help keep them on our side of the fence.

    Have any of you done it and is it an ok thing to do? If we do decide to do it, we would have our vet do it so I'm not worried about it being done properly.

    Thanks for any advice.
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Wing clipping is a temporary and fallible solution: sometimes a hen can still manage to fly enough even with her wing or wings clipped. And the temporary part, of course, is that clipped feathers grow back and sometimes you don't notice until the chicken has flown the coop.

    Personally, I don't clip. Instead, I have a covered run and a day tractor to keep our chickens securely in our yard. We only free range when we're there to watch them closely, and I want them to have their natural flight ability so that if a predator does attack, they at least have a way to attempt escape.
  3. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2011
    SE Missouri
    If you decide to clip their wing feathers, check out the thread on this forum regarding clipping. I think there is a diagram and good instructions. Unless there is still blood in the feather shaft (It would be darker than the others) there is no harm in clipping wings if you do it right. They have as much feeling as our hair or fingernails. It is not difficult, but may be a two person job.
  4. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have all my chickens wing clipped because they were roosting in the trees and flying over the fence into the neighbor's yards. Made a big difference. It suddenly became much easier to roost in the coop and hang out in the run. They weren't happy about it the first week and I still have a couple that hop out of the run to explore the garden but nobody sleeping in the trees or leaving the yard over the 6 foot fence.
  5. bleith

    bleith Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2010
    West Dundee IL
    Its worth trying, I clipped my flighty bird and it worked. If it doesn't work, then no harm done and you will have to figure somethign else out.
  6. Hobiedog

    Hobiedog Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2011
    Lowell, MI
    Clip their wings. I clipped one wing on each of my birds and now they don't get out of the run until I let them out. It's easy to do with two people. I do it at dusk when they all go in to roost. It's much easier to pick them off their roost and clip their feathers at dusk. Have a partner hold them and then spread out the feathers on their wing, look for any blood feathers, and use a sharp pair of scissors and clip their flight feathers. You only need to do one wing. There are plenty of diagrams of which feathers to clip out on the web, just google it. You might want some styptic powder on hand in case you get a blood feather.
  7. Ariel301

    Ariel301 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2009
    Kingman Arizona
    Clip. Better safe than sorry! The only alternative would be to keep them in a pen with a roof over it so they can't fly out.

    You certainly don't need a vet to do it. They would charge you more than it's worth, usually. You are not cutting anything sensitive or anything that bleeds. The bird can't really feel it, it's basically the equivalent of a hair cut. Just have one person hold the chicken firmly with one wing clamped down so it can't flap, and the other wing extended. Trim off the long flight feathers; remove at least half the length of them, not just the tips. Then do the other wing. You'll have to do it every six months or so. If they are big heavy breed hens, it will stop them. If they're something light like Leghorns or games, it might only stop them for a few weeks until they build up strength to fly--I've seen many lightweight chickens and pet type birds fly very well with clipped wings, they just have to have bigger muscles to do it.
  8. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Here's a diagram that might help:
  9. kota1369

    kota1369 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    Its easy to clip there wings and IMO is something you should do. I would also make sure they really love their yard (they are babies) make sure they are interested in staying.
    My 3 new ones started perching on my 4 foot chain link fence and not going into their run at night. I'd pick them up and put them in there coop and lock them in. I would get treats they love....... and they have a good relationship with us and the dogs. Now they are around 6 mo. and have quit, even trying to roost anywhere but their coop and looking at the neighbors yard.
    Good luck.......... check out the thread on clipping wings..........

    Or....... as I see now, the post above. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011

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