When to clip wings?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jomoncon, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. jomoncon

    jomoncon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    I have 8 RIR chicks that are about 5 1/2 weeks old. They have been outdoors for the past 2 weeks since the weather's been in the 60s & 70s and they are doing just great. Their coop is a converted shed, that's 4x8. We put in a roost that's about 18" off the floor. Last night, I went in after dark to check on them & they were all roosting on some side brackets that are about about 4' off the floor. Tonight, one was even roosting on a piece of wood that I put in to hang their nipple waterer from, and it's 5' off the floor. They are getting on the roost & then flying up higher. There is another shelf in there that's about 6' from the floor and I'm guessing that they'll all be on that shelf pretty soon. I really don't want them up there since that's where all the electrical connections are. The other 4 chicks are on a similar bracket on the opposite wall. While I was taking this picture, one of those flew down from the bracket to the roosting bar, walked across the roost & flew up to the bar that's holding up the waterer.

    I was planning on raising their roost to about 3' when they get older, but it seems like the current low roost is too low right now. When they are fully grown, I don't know if a roost higher than that would be good for them. I was planning on clipping their wings when they get older, since I will probably let them out of their run occasionally & don't want them flying all over the neighborhood. I live in the middle of the city & the dogs next door would love to get at them.

  2. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can clip the flight feathers now, won't hurt them, unless you're talking about real wing clipping that takes off the last bone in the wing. I've never done that but I imagine it would indeed hurt.

    Chickens as a general rule will roost as high as they possibly can. How high they possibly can depends on their weight mostly. As young as they are they will be able to top most fences no problem. As RIR by the time they're about a year old they should be too heavy to go over a 5' fence, but depends on the individual of course.

    I have a group of 5 month olds that go right over the top of my 5 1/5' fences with ease WITH their feathers clipped. Doesn't make any difference. Only thing that keeps them in the area is their heavier flock mates who can't make it over the fence.

    Sooo in all my rambling I hope there is at least some helpful information for you. [​IMG]

    Edited to add: that young you will need to clip them again in a few weeks, as they will grow a whole new set of feathers as they get bigger.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  3. Crazyland

    Crazyland Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2009
    Sandhills NC
    I don't know about clipping.
    Mine all roost 6 feet up on top of the dog kennel. They don't like to be in the coop. [​IMG]
    Working on building mine another coop that they will hopefully use.
  4. secuono

    secuono Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2010
    I clip new chicks wings as soon as they have feathered out. The next molt, I leave them be, I do it to get them used to their yard and not flying off and getting used to other land.
    I have two sister Jap mixes, they are heavy, but they always manage to make it to a 'roost' up about 8ft. They hop, fly and climb all over the place to get to their fav spot. If they have different things at different levels, they can hop and fly to each 'til they reach their high spot.
  5. matimeo

    matimeo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2010
    I have a couple of RIR's, and they have never even tried to fly over my five foot fence. They are only about four months old, but like I said, they never even try, even the four foot chain link fence that goes to the front of the house. You could just wait and see whether or not they ever bother to do so. I originally thought I would have to clip their wings, as all of our neighbors have dogs, but it turns out that I probably won't need to. I think mine are just so used to roaming our backyard, they don't even consider that there could be anything beyond the fence.
  6. jomoncon

    jomoncon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    Thanks so much, matimeo. After taking another look inside my coop, I realized that once the chickies get bigger, they won't be able to fit on the brackets that are there now. The brackets are pieces of 2/6s & 2x2s. Since they're between the studs, there's very little space behind them - maybe 2". Once the chickie get bigger, they won't be able to fit there. I moved the waterer & removed the board that holds up the waterer. With this board gone, I don't think they'll be able to get to the topmost shelf.

    BYW, how high do you have your roost?
  7. chillmiller

    chillmiller Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2010
    my cochins well i dont think i have ever seen them fly as the rest of my girls are up 3 to 6' in the air on the roost poles the cochins and my cin queens roost on cinder blocks i have tryed picking them up and putting them on the roosting poles and they stayed there for the night but the next night ... there back on there blocks

    but to your question you can clip there wings now but as light as they are it wount hinder them at all to roost where ever they wish in the coop... tie weights to then if ya dont want them to fly
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Mine is around 30" or 32." Good sized large fowl can actually injure hips or legs if they jump/fly off a tall roost. If you make a roost much higher, they need plenty of room to "fly" down, or else a ladder. I have enough room in my coop that I could do this, but they make no effort to go higher, even though there are spots in there they could get up to if they wanted to.

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