Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

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Mo
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by Mo »

Some people are very much against any sort of wing clipping. The theory is that you shorten the feathers on one wing to make them lopsided and it discourages them. You would have to do it every year as new feathers grow after the moult. I've never heard of pulling feathers out but I assume you are aiming for the same lopsidedness.Pictures here. If you cut too much off it quill might bleed.
I found that with most hens I didn't need to trim them. But I had some that would jump out even if I did. A crouch, a jump and over the 4' flocknet.
The other thing to beware of is if there is something firm that they can jump onto then jump down the other side.
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wendy
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by wendy »

Aww, wings are the very essence of being a bird. So please don't touch them
Chickens don't fly as such. But they do go up and over. So make sure there is nothing for them to jump up onto and then fly down into, say, next doors garden.
Plus the fact that wing power can help them get away faster from a danger.
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by JMcElroy »

Trust me, I'd prefer not to touch their wings. I recall though my dads hens in trees around the garden where he had to leave them out all night as they wouldn't come down.
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Mo
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

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Some breeds are more flighty than others. I had a White Star (which I think is similar to a Leghorn?) that liked to roost high until I put a top on the run.
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Gwenoakes
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by Gwenoakes »

My chickens would have been in the next county had we not put a lid on the run. Remember it not only keeps chickens in, but helps keep unwanted foxes etc and you can cover with tarpaulin should there be another bird flu outbreak, so win, win in my opinion.
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by KarenE »

Don't pull feathers out, that would be painful and cruel. I've never heard of anyone recommending that. Wing clipping as has been said is more what is recommended if you have birds who really are a flight risk although most are quite happy staying in their own gardens and on the ground. I've never done mine, mine free range around my garden and I want them to be able to fly if they are in danger. They are ferocious jumpers though and will boing around from surface to surface. I've only ever had 1 bird escape my garden - that was Casper, she was a leghorn and very flighty, and she startled easily.She only did it once so I've never felt the need to wing clip. I think as long as the birds are used to going into their coop for bed, and they feel safe there, you shouldn't have a problem with roosting out overnight.
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Mo
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by Mo »

As you can see chickens vary and so do the opinions of poultry keepers. Good luck. I think I would agree with Karen, wouldn't like someone pulling my hair our, and feathers have a blood supply so they must be part of them IYSWIM
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by bikesandbirdsbob »

Hi , my hens would explore up the road with half a chance , but they do not seem to want to leave the garden . Plenty in garden for them to dig and look around. They need a chance to escape be it up a tree or cover some where. Once they know where to sleep and it is safe for them they should not need to go further away.
I would wait and see . Should they find greener grass over the fence they will need to be boxed in.
Let us know how you get on and what you do .
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by Freeranger »

Trust me, I'd prefer not to touch their wings. I recall though my dads hens in trees around the garden where he had to leave them out all night as they wouldn't come down.

So don't, imho. They felt safe up there and probably were. 'Manda, one of our esteemed and experienced laners,has a smallholding in NZ and reports that many of theirs always roost outdoors. It's natural behaviour. I can also say that when our free-ranging ones were attacked by a neighbour's dogs, it was the ones that flew that escaped. They can fly well enough not to bump into things, but tend to up and over by habit as the others describe, so agree a top to the run is also effective if you constrain them.
More of a problem from their point of view is hunkering down on the ground, but counting ours in at the end of the day, I've just carried the missing ones back and put them indoors.
The free-est ranging ones I know wander off during the day into surrounding fields, then come back to the coop to roost and lay. They don't wander off or get stuck anywhere.
I'm with the others on this. I personally wouldn't touch the wings, but if you do decide to then please trim rather than pluck the feathers. They, like the claws, have a blood supply, so clip back with caution.
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by JMcElroy »

Thank you all. I will give it a few weeks and decide. I think you are right not to pull the feathers, didn't really feel that was a good idea. I will give it time and clip one wing if they get a bit flighty. Thanks all.
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by GalebG4M »

I've never clipped the chickens' wings either, my family relied on simply having some chain link netting atop the chicken pen as well as on the sides. This way, they could fly to their heart's content without causing any issues; they even had small trees in their pen where they could climb if they wanted.
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Mo
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Re: Removing Feathers to prevent chickens taking off.

Post by Mo »

Must have been a big run.
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