Wing clipping...too young??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Eagleman, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. Eagleman

    Eagleman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    New Mexico
    My 4 or 5 week old chicks are getting really flighty. It is fun to watch them practice but they are actually just about able to fly over the 6 foot high chicken run...they would probably be fine in our yard but not so much in any of our neighbors yards and the walls separating us are much lower than 6 feet.

    Are they too young to have their wings clipped? As much as we'd prefer not to clip them yet we want to keep them safe.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Wow! My 12 week olds can't even fly over a 5 foot fence yet. I think your birds are a bit too young yet, I would wait until they are flying over the fence before you clip their wings. And if only one bird if continually flying over the fence, just clip his wings and don't worry about the rest.
     
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    I've been thinking about clipping my birds' wings even though they're only 4-5 weeks old. They're getting flighty and with dogs in yards on both sides, I'd hate for one to find herself over a fence and in a dog's mouth. There would be no getting her back. [​IMG]
     
  4. Eagleman

    Eagleman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    New Mexico
    Right now they are not in the run or yard unsupervised. I think we have two or so weeks before they are big enough to stay in the run alone (it is chain link, not poultry wire and we don't want them slipping out).

    We just want to make sure there is no problem in doing it, if we have to, when they are still pretty young.

    We will wait as long as we can.
     
  5. WikkitGateFarm

    WikkitGateFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 9, 2008
    Pickaway County, Ohio
    Know what a blood feather looks like? When feathers are developing, they have a blood vessel that runs through the shaft. Break the forming feather, and it's a little blood straw, like those Tropicana OJ commercials, but with birds. [​IMG]

    Don't clip those.

    Also, if your bird has all its primaries, then the feathers that are there will help protect the ones that are coming in. Since you can't clip a blood feather (without unpleasantness) they grow in long, stick out, and get bumped as your girls run and flap around.

    So give that a little thought, and try to put off clipping until after they're done feathering in.

    Also, with other birds, being clipped to young can make them clumsy. I don't know if that's the case with hens.

    You can do something called a "vanity clip" that takes most of the primaries back to the length of the secondaries, except the last two or three at the wing tip. That gives a little extra protection to any blood feathers, leaves a bird with a profile that *looks* like all the feathers are there, and can make it a little bit harder to get altitude.

    If the choice is between a bit more risk of breaking a blood feather or getting eaten by the neighbor's dog, then I'd get out the scissors.
     
  6. Eagleman

    Eagleman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2008
    New Mexico
    thank you for all the information!!
     

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