We’re visiting my wife’s family in the city. They have a few chooks which enjoy the odd escape attempt. Not good when the suburban fences are only 4-5ft high. The answer, which is sometimes controvsial, is to clip their wings… or build higher fences. 

Clipping the chooks wings doesn’t hurt them at all, however some people still don’t like the idea of cutting away naturally growing parts of a live animal. I don’t clip our chooks, not because I am against it but simply because it’s unnecessary in our backyard chook run where there are plenty high enough fences. 

And if you want to know how to do it, here is how: 

  

Using 2 people, one to hold the chook and wing, the other to cut the feathers, cut away around half the length of the first 10 flight feathers using sharp scissors, nail scissors/clippers or another suitable cutting tool. You can cut only one wing, with the theory that the bird will be unstable and unable to fly, or both wings to make sure they won’t escape. And that’s it! It is an easy job which takes seconds. 

  

When the wing is cut, the bird naturally tucks the cut feathers under the wing when it is folded so that it is barely noticeable. But you may need to keep an eye on those feathers when they start to moult and trim the new feathers again when they re grow. 

– Jono

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