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#76558 - 11/09/06 07:39 AM Clipping wings
Bonita Offline

Registered: 05/06/03
Posts: 27
Loc: California
I keep my new hens in a large dog run and some of them hop/fly to the fence and into the trees. Very hard to get them down at night or even to find them. We have raccoons around here. I would like to know, with some degree of detail, how properly to clip the wing(s). I recall something about two types of feathers on each side and that only one side should be clipped so that they are thrown off balance when they try to fly. Help please. Thank you.

#76559 - 11/09/06 07:44 AM Re: Clipping wings
Jrsygntbrdr1 Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 06/12/05
Posts: 2601
Loc: Arkansas
I clip the entire wing. Only one wing. Pretty much, I stretch the wing out (usually helpful if another person is there to help you!) and use some sharp scissors. I cut as close as possible to the wing without cutting the bird's skin or making quills bleed. Pretty much, cut the primaries (outermost feathers) and follow the curviture of the wing. You should be able to see the outline of the wing when you are done cutting. You may need to do this for a few months, then (my hens at least) learn that it's better to stay in the pen.

I usually follow the curviture of the wing (and the strength of the scissors). When is gets harder to clip the feathers along the wings, that's where I stop the clipping because I know I'm reaching the larger end of the quill.

Good luck! Oh! It may be best to do this over a large trash can so that the feathers don't go everywhere on the ground.


#76560 - 11/09/06 02:52 PM Re: Clipping wings

It's only necessary to clip the outer 10 feathers (primary flights) on one wing.

#76561 - 11/09/06 04:52 PM Re: Clipping wings
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8501
Loc: Montana
AS a dog run isn't so large, that you might prefer to cover it with netting (kind for strawberry beds and available at any garden shop.)rather than clip wing feathers. The wings help keep balance and also keep part of the body warm and waterproof. CJR

#76562 - 11/09/06 06:05 PM Re: Clipping wings

I prefer not to clip wings as well... I really just don't like how it looks and I don't have a reason to clip my bird's wings as I don't have a problem with predators. Plus I like watching them fly. It just makes it harder for them. Getting onto the roost is harder and such...if you can avoid doing it then do so but if you need to then you can go ahead and clip them.

#76563 - 11/09/06 09:16 PM Re: Clipping wings
Foehn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1974
Loc: New Zealand
I clip one wing of every hen in my flock, as I live in suburbia and share boundaries with several neighbours. They all have really nice flower gardens which my hens would love to destroy if they only knew about them. Two of the fences are only 1 metre high, yet I have never had problems with the hens going over them. I clip once a year, usually after the autumn moult, when the flight feathers have regrown. I don't think they look so awful. But the advantage of clipping only one wing, (normally can't fly, but will if you balance them with two clipped wings)is that if you hate it to look at, you can always view your hen from the unclipped side :rolleyes: Just make sure if you are waving the camera at them, that you choose the unclipped side! Here's a photo of "Little Nasty" to show you her clipped wing. Little Nasty Of course if you're an artist, you could follow the curve of the wing and make it rounder, but as you need to spread the wing to see where to clip, this is what you end up with.

And I forgot to add. To get round the problem of them being unable to fly up to the perches, I have a little ramp/ladder going up from the floor to perch level which they learn to use easily.


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