Friday, August 31, 2007

on clipping chicken wings

Given how high and how far the girls can fly across the back yard, I think we're about due to clip their wings.

Having butchered my share of chicken carcasses bought at the store (the cold, featherless kind), I'd been under the impression clipping the wings was actually a rather gruesome task: taking out the wing at the last joint.

Imagine my relief when I found out "clipping wings" is simply shorthand for "cutting short the long feathers at the end of the wing"... about as painful as cutting one's hair.


Researching a bit further, I see that I really only have to clip the feathers on one of their wings, and that throws them off balance enough that they can't get any height or distance before dropping to the ground again on the clipped side of their body.

So, the outstanding question for me and my girls is:
  • do I clip the wing on the same side for both chooks? visions of them vainly attempting to fly, going side by side around the same futile circle, or
  • do I clip the wing on the opposite side of each chook? visions of them crashing into each other mid-flight, or veering out in opposite directions only to come together again in a puff of feathers
I'll have to meditate on this one a bit...


Kristin Cox said...

how did wing clipping turn out for you? I read someone else's blog who wrote that clipping only one side didnt work for them as their chickens still scaled a 7' fence until he clipped both sides.


Thomas Kriese said...

Kristin, believe it or not, we have yet to clip their wings!

For some reason, they seem content to stay in our yard (although they're always under supervision when they're free-ranging).

This year might be the first time we do clip them, if only for the experience of being able to do so successfully.


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