To clip or not to clip? What is the bigger risk?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Des R, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. Des R

    Des R Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2016
    Maryland / Delaware
    We started our chicken adventure in May by building a 25'x25' run around the chicken coop thinking they'd be happy... no. They quickly reduced it dirt and begged at the door... after all, the grass was greener on the other side. So we fenced our backyard which is a full acre with 4' tall farm fencing and started letting them out when we are home (or only leaving for a short time), and they seemed wonderfully happy. I know there is a risk for hawks or predators in the fenced yard but I kept my fingers crossed our 3 dogs that go in and out as they please would be our best protection for them. I decided letting them free range was the best, even with the risk, and lock them up good at night. Now they are flying over the fence, and they apparently prefer the side near the street. It's not too busy of a street, kind of a country lane. The neighbors also let their dogs run the neighborhood and they would certainly kill my chickens, I've seen them go after the wild rabbits, but I don't see them too often. (Talking to the neighbors is futile... they don't speak our language and wave me off when I've tried to complain before). Every time we catch them outside the fence it like a circus show trying to herd them back inside the gate, which has been daily lately. But I also can't stare out a window at all times watching them.

    So the big question is... do I clip their wings or not? Will that even keep them inside a 4ft fence? Will it make it worse if they manage to get over and then can't get back in fast enough? Will it slow them down should a predator actually get in the yard? I can't decide which is a bigger risk. And it's such a balance between keeping them happy and keep them safe!

    BTW... just because I'm super super excited... we got our very first egg today! Actually 2 eggs!

    Thanks in advance for your input, this site has been a wealth of information for us!!!

  2. Clipping will not keep them in a four foot fence....short free range times and herd training them with an extension to your arm, like a stick will help...
    buying an electric poultry fence would help...They usually respect the fence....

    You have good flyers...Mine are mostly too big to fly...

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by