Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Clipping Chicken Wings

I promised that I would do a tutorial on the subject of clipping a chicken's wings and for all of you that have been stalking my blog just waiting for this post, here it is. (O.k. no one was really stalking.)

I hate to really call this a tutorial though because when I think of that word, I think of some in-depth, huge post that goes on and on and on. This is not one of those. Clipping a chickens wings is super easy and super fast.
Why would you want to clip a chicken's wings you ask? Well, if your chickens are not completely free range (meaning they have their space but their space does not include ALL of your property) then clipping their wings is a easy and safe way to make sure they are staying in their space.
While chickens can't fly like normal birds can, they still have an amazing ability to get up onto things. 6 foot tall things. Fly over fences, leap a tall buildings in a single bound, ya know, they're chickens.

Here's what you'll need to clip their wings:
1 sweet little helper
1 pair of sharp scissors
1 chicken

Here's my handy, dandy helper, a.k.a. my son, Wyatt.

Yes, he is holding a chicken upside down. You can clip wings by just clutching a chicken like you usually would and then fanning their wings out to cut but we have a couple overly broody girls right now that would just assume peck you to death if you decided to hold them so we went about it this way.
Plus, when you hold them upside down, they naturally fan their wings out for you. Additionally, they hold frozen stiff for the couple seconds that it takes to clip and then can be turned back over and placed on the ground.

If you look at the above photo, I hope that you can see that a chicken has 2 sets of feathers on their wing. The first and closest to their body is their wing wing. Their cosmetic one. The one that makes them look pretty when they're standing still. It has other uses too but it is not the one you're going to clip. The second set of feathers is the longer set under the first row and are called their flight wings. These are the ones that allow them to get somewhere. These are the ones you're going to clip. They are usually a slightly different color as well, so that you can better identify them.

You're going to take your sharp scissors and cut off a few inches from the flight section of feathers. I like to be conservative to start with, clipping both wings. Maybe 3 inches. If your chicken can still fly up and over things then you can cut back another inch or two. Here's the thing- you do not want to cut too much off. Cutting the feathers too far back can result in cutting the quick. If you cut the quick on a chickens feathers and they start to bleed out, they can bleed to death. Like I said, don't be afraid to be conservative at first and then trim a little more if need be. Sorry that the photo is a little blurry but it didn't hit me until I tried to take the photo that holding the scissors and holding the camera would take both my hands and make it very difficult to actually push the button to snap the shot!
A friend of mine told me that one of her chickens (she has many) could fly over a 6 foot fence even with her wings clipped. Yikes! Most chickens are not like that but I suppose there may be a few out there!

And here is the finished product. Notice how clipping the flight wing does not change the appearance of the chicken.

I realize that this post has absolutely nothing to do with bread making but I'm going to continue to post, in-between the bread making posts, about other things as well. Enjoy your day and let me know how your clipping goes!


Anonymous said...

I've never had to clip our chickens. They are free range for the most part during the day. And when they are kept in their yard, it's fine because we have it covered with chicken wire so that they can't "fly the coop".

Good tutorial, Heather.

Anonymous said...

Hey Heather,
I have tried getting your button again. I can get the code Ok but I can't seem to get the image. My right clicker doesn't work all the time. I'm not sure if that's the problem or even if that is how I'm supposed to do it.
I was able to get a button and image for a fabric swap I'm in but I can't get yours.

Anonymous said...

I can't say that I've ever clipped a chicken's wings...or ever will...but if I need too, this is helpful to be sure! I have clipped my parakeet's wings...and I'm sure it's somewhat similar. Thanks for the post!

Cindy said...

We just clipped some..... they are still wiggling and hopping where they want to go. I am going to have to do a little more today.

Great post.... thanks

Mountain Home Quilts said...

Lisa- email me.

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