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