Video: How To Clip Your Chickens’ Wings

Clip your chickens' wings to limit birds' mobility and ability to get into trouble around the farm. It's easy, painless and helpful.

Clipping your chicken’s wings is an easy, annual chore that will help keep your chickens safe and out of trouble. It will also stop them from getting into, and possibly destroying, your gardens. 

Why Fly?

First, you might want to ask yourself why your chickens keep escaping from their designated area. Your chickens might not have enough space to explore and they simply need a bigger run. Or, they could be on the hunt for more food, or a fresh green area to scratch and find bugs or some tasty leaves to enjoy.

Try providing your chickens with enough food and space to keep them content. 

Sometimes, even chickens that are provided plenty of food and space will still try to jump their fence and seek adventure. Chickens are curious creatures and when they get bored, they’ll want to explore new areas.

But when we simply clip the feathers on one of our chickens’ wings, we can prevent this.

Read more: Chickens can develop bad habits, and it’s up to you to train them right.

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Clipping Keeps Things Calm

The only equipment that we need for this chore is a pair of sharp scissors and perhaps a helper. The job will be a bit easier with a second set of hands to hold the chicken while you work, or to help to catch the chicken if it tries to escape!

You’ll be trimming the larger, primary feathers on one of their wings. This causes the chicken’s flight to be off balance, making it far more difficult for them to fly over fences and other barriers. 

Snipping Is a Snap

It’s easier to clip chickens’ wings at dusk, after the birds have roosted for the night. You can just pick them up, trim the feathers and set them right back onto their roost. 

Simply fan the wing out to expose the feathers. Then cut along the primary feathers in a straight line, following the natural angle of the wing. Watch the video for a demonstration of the technique.

Chickens’ feathers are made of keratin, the same material as human hair and fingernails. Trimming their feather doesn’t hurt the chickens at all, so don’t worry!

A quick trim of their primary wing feathers and the chicken is ready to head back into the run with the rest of the birds.

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