Wing Clipping

They might not be the most aerodynamic birds, but domesticated chickens can fly over a nearby wall, fence, or into a tree. They are not capable of long distance flight, as they are pretty bottom-heavy, but they enjoy getting up high to temporarily explore their surroundings or flee danger. Wing-clipping is a humane way to prevent your chickens from flying the coop, and doesn’t seem to cause any discomfort or affect day-to-day life.

Feathers are kind of like finger nails, if they are cut or fall out, a new one will grow in it’s place. The clipped feathers will fall out during molting and grow back again.  Molting is triggered by hormones usually once a year, and is a natural process where chickens shed and regrow their feathers. Here are some pretty simple no-nonsense steps to wing clipping.

Photo courtesy of: backyardchickens.com

Start with a good sharp pair of scissors and use your fingers to splay out the flight feathers: the longer feathers tucked under the wings, typically a different color than the others. Cut just one wing to offset the balance. If you cut both wings equally, they still might be able to fly. Remember: You want to offset the balance by making one different than the other. Be careful not to get too close to the quill, where it is attached to their skin. Only cut about 4 inches.

 

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