Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clipping the Chicken's Wings

Well, I finally did it today.  We have talked about doing it for 2 years.  I have spoken each time of my previous experience clipping my Cockatiel's wings as a teenager, piece of cake,  and yet we never did it.  Tuesday, after the whole cleaning out the coop fiasco on Monday, I only got 6 eggs.  This was mostly because several of the chickens got out of the yard, due to the fact that I had the gate open going back and forth with compost, and I'm not sure where those eggs could be.  However, all of our original chickens (there's only 4 left out of 6) jump on the fence and leave the yard every day and I have had enough of it!

A few weeks ago, I got online and read and read and read which is what I do when presented with anything new or different.  I studied the diagrams, read up on how to handle an emergency should one occur, sharpened the scissors and then didn't clip any wings.  Today, I got the scissors and just went to it.  I didn't even review the diagrams as I had planned to do because I knew if I did, no chicken's wings were getting clipped today.  BTW, there are many wing-clipping web pages but I found the one at Backyard Chicken to be most helpful.  (www.backyardchickens.com/LC-wingclipping.html)  I had read somewhere to aim for clipping off the top 2/3 and to use the smaller feathers on top the flight feathers as a guide.  So this is what I did.  I only clipped the fence-jumpers.  Our chickens are handled pretty regularly so even though they don't like it, they are pretty easy to catch and don't seem stressed when we are holding them.  We don't have to hold them upside down first, or anything like that, to calm them down.  They let us just pull the wing out, snip, snip and off they went.  You wouldn't think 1/2 inch would make any difference in their ability to fly but 2 of the chickens immediately hopped right up on top the fence.  I clipped off another 1/2 inch, closer to the top feathers, and that did the trick.  No more chickens jumping on the fence!  So for all my procrastinating (I'm REALLY good at THAT!),  it wasn't bad at all.  It took maybe 5 minutes to do 4 chickens and now my chickens will be safe and I won't be out any eggs!

Rooster Junior, one of the fence-jumpers, but not anymore!

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