Wing Clip Question

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Country Cluck, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. Country Cluck

    Country Cluck Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 4, 2009
    Battle Ground
    Hi everybody. I have a question about wing clipping. I read some of the vast articles on here alrerady, but I was wondering if it really works? I have 1 hen that flys out of the run at least twice a week. I wouldn't care if she could figure out how to get back in, but she just panicks and runs the length of the fence screaming. I find her after dark, when I get home, hidding in the weeds just waiting for me to pick her up and bring her inside. I don't want her getting sick in the cold and rainy weather or eaten by something, so I am thinking about clipping her wings to keep her safe and in the pen with her friends. Does wing clipping really even work? I have a 6 foot fence and she clears it no problem and I often see her flying around the pen while the others just stare at her. She is a Sliver Wyandotte/ Araucana mix and her "twin" sister does not do this, so what gives?

    Country Cluk
  2. Wooden_Pony

    Wooden_Pony Chillin' With My Peeps

    I clip the wings on some of my flyer's (my EE's). My Barred Rock, Millie, and Faverolle have never had their wings clipped.

    I live in town and have had them fly over the fence into the neighbor's yard. Thankfully they were home and were able to rescue her before their dog got her.

    Start with clipping one wing and just cut off the first 5 or 6 flight feathers. It will keep her off balance if she does decide to take off again. If she is still clearing the fence then clip the other wing as well.

    Here is a link that has great photos if you never have clipped a wing before...

    I know there are people that do not clip because their birds are out and having the wings do help them get away from predators and I agree with that. But in my case when the "predator" is just over the 6 foot privacy fence I clip wings.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
  3. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Actually, I wouldn`t clip both wings. One wing will cause her to be off balance, but both clipped will let her fly, albeit not very well. Also, I would clip ALL the flight feathers on that one wing.......Pop
  4. R&RCoop

    R&RCoop Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 28, 2009
    Fort Worth, TX
    We have a 4' fence and clipped all the hens wings when we first got them. Some of them tried to fly out and got to about 3.5' but could not get higher. This was last April, but since then we have not touched their wings as they do not try to fly out anymore. I think the first clipping discouraged them. I have seen some float/fly across the run (40'x40') lately, but the don't try to go over anymore. We clipped both wings.
  5. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    I loose track of how long it has been since I clipped all but 3 of my chickens left wings. It has worked out for me. No one has gone AWOL since. Both of my neighbors have of them has 2. Also we have a lot of preditors and I just preferred to keep them in the coop and run.
  6. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I tried the wing clipping. The run fence is about 4½' high. I wasn't so lucky at keeping them in. They were able to all fly up with ease. I started out clipping only half of the flight feathers and had to go back and clip all of them. I did both wings simply because I wanted them to have better control should a predator be after them. I ended up enclosing the run.

    Good luck!
  7. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    Andi......when you say you only clipped half the wing feathers, do you mean, half on each side or all, but on only one side? Because if its the first, I think you hampered the flying, but they still had enough balance to fly and 4 1/2 feet, could have been achieved. IDK. I went for unbalancing them and its working fine. I have them safe at night, so I don't worry about them needing to protect themselves.
  8. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I did half of each wing evenly. I suspect they just improved their muscle tone and over came the short feathers. I was just concerned that putting them off balance would put them in more danger with predators.

    I am surrounded by not only close neighbors, but all of them have dogs. Most of which are hunting dogs. This Fall I did have one incident before covering the run. I suspect one of the neighbor's little dogs (which I've chased out of the yard repeatedly) got a hold of one of the girls. There were several feathers just outside of the run gate. I know which girl it was because each of my girls are a different color. Anyway, she obviously was successful at flying back into the run and was lucky enough to not get hurt. It was an eye opener. It may have not been an issue if clipping one one wing would have kept her in the run. If it didn't work and she was still able to get out then I'm not so sure she would have escaped successfully.

    When we got the chickens we had no idea they could fly so well. That's why the run fence was built so low. I was no stranger to wing clipping and figured that would be an option if we needed it. I never thought it wouldn't work. We should have just enclosed the run right from the start seeing we have so many close neighbors with dogs. This will ease the need to worry about hawks as an added benefit.

    There's one problem with anything new. People don't know that they don't know things. I thought I had all the bases covered, but I was wrong. Thanks to this site I've learned so much about chickens that I never could have learned otherwise!
  9. Bec

    Bec THE Delaware Blue Hen

    I clipped all of my fliers, all of my fliers still fly out. I tried 1 wing, I tried both luck. I have experience clipping wings, so I know they were done correctly but tell my birds that [​IMG]
  10. HLAC

    HLAC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2009
    Central Utah
    When I got my latest batch of hens (all adults) they all wanted to fly up onto the edge of the 4ft chainlink fence to roost. (before the coop was finished)

    I clipped all the primary and secondary feathers on one wing on each hen. Only the skinny RIR kept trying to fly after that. The others gave up after a few bounces off of the side of the fence.

    Some breeds and younger, lighter birds might not be hampered by wing clipping.. but most will be.

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