wing clipping?


8 Years
Jul 22, 2011
Highlands Ranch, CO
I live in the suburbs, where my four chickens are legal, but a tall privacy fence is not legal. I have a split rail fence that is lined with chicken wire on the inside. I have been letting my chickens free range in my yard all summer, and they've been doing fine.

Until a few weeks ago.

One day I was busy all day, and when I went out to check on the chickens in the evening, one of the chickens was in the open space behind our yard, trying to get back into our yard. She was frantic. I got her in, and they all stood in the coop for the next two days, even though we left the door open. So I thought they were done with escaping, because it shook them up so much.

Then a couple of days ago, I looked outside to see the same chicken (top of the pecking order) just pecking around the open space like she owned it. Another one of the chickens was standing on the fence. I brought the one in from the open space and let them continue to free range. They stayed in the yard the rest of the day.

Today there were three chickens on the fence.

They are all now in the coop - it's rainy today anyway.

So this is not working. I can't have them escaping to the open space every day, especially since they can't get back into the yard. I hate to pen them up in the yard pen, which is basically a chicken wire covered frame, if I don't have to.

Should I clip their wings? It seems more humane than keeping them penned up all the time, but I hate to possibly make them more vulnerable to predators, especially heading into winter.

Also, if I clip their wings, will they be able to get up onto the medium-high perch in their coop?

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Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Nov 27, 2008
Glen St Mary, Florida
You can clip both their wings. Since you have some heavy breeds, it might be wise for you to lower your roosts to prevent the big girls from spraining their legs or worse...I've been there.


8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
on our ducks, we usually only clip one side (the right) ... it unbalances their flight attempt as well as limiting their ability to get off the ground. if we clip both, we occasionally get one that will still get off the ground if she works extra hard at it. do you usually clip both on chickens?

oh and do check for pin feathers... if you clip one of those you'll have lots of bleeding, so I always check before I clip to make sure there aren't any new feathers coming in.

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