When clipping a wing doesn't do the job???? Help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jondee, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. jondee

    jondee Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 5, 2012
    I have a little flock of hens which includes 3 young Ameracaunas. My favorite of these three, an absolutely beautiful bird who just started laying, took a hankering to see the world beyond the full acre of land on which these chickens forage during the day. My fences around the small chicken yard which holds the henhouse is 6' tall, but all the other fencing around our property is more like 4-4 1/2. The hen disappeared for a day, but showed up again the following day. Figuring it was a fluke, we opened up the gate and shooed her back in, and just let her be. She took off 2 more times, each time disappearing for one or two days, and then showing up on the outside of the fence again. I finally got the hint and clipped the feathers on one wing (I watched a few youtube videos and followed their instructions). All seemed well; she hung out with her sister hens for the rest of that day and the next, and seemed pretty content---eating, drinking, scratching, dust-bathing. Halfway through the second day, I noticed she was gone again.

    It's been a day and a half, and she's not shown up again. When she does (I am still hoping!), what can I do to keep her from escaping????? I don't want to sequester her in the little chicken yard with the 6' fence; it's only about 12 x 12, and it seems kind of sad to have one hen hanging out in there when I've got this huge, lovely land for them to roam on. Should I clip more feathers on the one wing? I only clipped those long ones at the front---the flight feathers? I read that you shouldn't do both wings, because they'll just adapt to that and still be able to fly. Would she be more inclined to stick around if I got a rooster? I don't really want one, but if that would help, I might do it.

    Do some hens just persist on following the siren song of the wild? The other 9 hens are pretty connected to each other; none of them likes to be far from the rest of the flock, so I can't figure out why this hen is so independent [​IMG]. Maybe it's time to find her a new home and get another Buff Orpington or NH Red (nice birds who don't try to fly away, lol).

    Thank you for any insights or ideas!

    Joni in CA
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    I'm right there with you. My little EE, Muffin, just wont stay in her run. I clipped one wing, she still flies over the fence. I even locked her in the coop for a week to try to reset her little chicken brain, no dice. She likes to come up to the house and lay her eggs on my porch, and then she'll try to sit on that egg all day if I don't kick her off her "nest" (which is a planter pot). Maybe that's what your girl is doing. Watch where she goes the next time you let her out. Maybe she'll lead you to a nest she's been hiding.......good luck!
  3. jondee

    jondee Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 5, 2012
    Thanks, Nikki; you may be on to something with the egg laying. I've noticed that the other two Ameracaunas sometimes lay eggs out in the field, rather than the nest boxes, so maybe that's what this hen is doing. Frustrating!

  4. magnolia-1971

    magnolia-1971 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    SE Wisconsin
    She may have a nest elsewhere. Our chickens did that for a while. We thought that they stopped laying and then we found a hole way in the back yard with like 30 eggs in it [​IMG]

    I would clip her other wing.

    Have you seen her fly??? Our chickens were getting out under the fence. They can sneek out thru holes and even small spaces. Maybe that is the way she is getting out?
  5. Carolyn

    Carolyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2008
    My brother and I were discussing wing clipping a few years ago and his experienced comment was "I think you'd have to chop the whole wing off to keep some hens from flying over the fence." I had to agree. I invested in a electric net fence which is great at protecting them at night but useless during the day because I have never had a chicken who couldn't, wouldn't fly over it. It is the 42 inch but I am sure the extra 6" in the bigger size would not make a difference. I used to clip wings, one then both properly done and I have clipped them very severely with no better results. I quit after a fox was on the prowl just off the front porch, the oldest hen whose wings were clipped could not fly away like the others and he caught her (but I was able to rescue her). I decided I would never clip wings again.
    I live on 12 acres, mostly wooded and I love it when my chickens can roam. However after losing 1/2 my flock to dogs in a matter of days my remaining hens are confined to the chicken house and a 16 ft run. I hate it, they hate it but I don't know what else to do.
    The breed does not make a difference. BO were my worst offenders for laying in the woods and seeing how far they could range. Good luck on solving your problem. I would say that if you only have one offending hen, put her up or rehome her and see if you can keep your whole flock from doing it.
  6. Mum

    Mum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 23, 2011
    I have 6' fencing around my property.
    I only free range my girls when I am on the property with them.

    I have not needed to wing clip - I'm glad I didn't because I had a recent fox attack and 3 of my flock flew to where they felt safest; the fox attacked within 5' of me! Had I wing clipped, could they have escaped so easily? Who knows!

    Only once did I clip the wing of my OEG - have you seen how high a chicken can jump????? Never clipped again LOL
  7. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    EE's don't like being locked up and will try anything to get out. My girls fly through an opening in the top of to door about 12 inches

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by