Friday, June 11, 2010

the first wing clipping

Graphic courtesy of A Guide to Raising Chickens by, Gail Damerow

Today my daughter assisted me with clipping the chickens' wings. Our silkies can only get a couple feet off the ground with their special ornamental feathers, but the buff orpingtons grow the standard flight feathers, and unless we want them running in traffic we need to trim those flight feathers to take away the balance needed to fly. Chickens don't fly much anyway, so I like to believe we aren't taking away a big part of their life when we do this.

We picked them up and pet them until they were nice and relaxed and then pulled the wing out like a fan. I pinched around in the area we were supposed to cut just to test for sensitivity. If done right wing clipping is not supposed to hurt. The primary flight feathers are tucked up under the wing when they walk around, when the wing is spread out you can see a difference in length and color - we follow along this line when we cut.

I think it went well, the chickens don't seem traumatized, and only time will tell whether we have prevented them from flying too high.

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