Saturday, October 3, 2015

Clipping the wings of chickens

If you have chickens and don't want them to fly the coop, then you will need to clip their wings.
All you need is a clean, sharp pair of scissors and a chicken.
One of our flocks at Opportunity Farm usually lives out in the paddock in our chook tractor with an electric netting fence around it. As the fence is only three feet tall clipping the wings is important. So this morning I caught each chook and checked the status of their wing feathers.

The only feathers that need to be cut are the primary feathers on one wing. These are the longest ones that are closest to the front of the wing when it is spread out. There are generally about nine or ten of these.

After fanning out the feathers I cut them close to where the secondary feathers start - about two-thirds of the way down. If you cut them longer you may cause bleeding but at that length the chook will not be bothered - except by the fact that it can't fly!
This is our rooster with his feathers clipped ready to return to his coop. The feathers will regrow and need trimming again but it varies from breed to breed and at what time of year you are clipping as to how long you can safely leave it between clips.

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