Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Clipping wings

I feel like I have done something horrible. Today I clipped the wings of my 4 chooky girls. They are free-range in daylight hours and spend the whole day eating grass and digging for grubs and slaters. I think they have a good life.

But today I decided to limit their freedom somewhat. I decided to do the 'operation' because, despite the fact that the fence to my veggie patch - Fortress Wallaby - is high enough to keep the bounding, browsing wallaby population away from my veggies, it isn't high enough to exclude chookies.

I had resigned myself to losing produce in my inadequately fenced temporary beds to the probing beaks of my chookies (I reckon I have lost a cabbage, 4 Purple caulis and a Romanesco Broccoli so far), but not prepared to lose produce from the permanent beds in Fortress Wallaby, so, I umm'ed and ahh'ed and today I did the deed.

I took instructions from  a new Organic Gardener mag on chookies, the Lad held the girlies one by one and I did the sniping.

It didn't seem right to take photos of the procedure.

They didn't seemed bothered at all really, aside from the indignity of being  held by a human! I guess they might seem bothered when they try to fly.

I apologised to them all (just like I thank them each individually each day for their cackleberries)  but feel like I am a bad chook mother.

As some kind of apologetic act, I picked a wombok and gave them a generous number of outer leaves.

They will get lots of produce from the garden but I guess now it will be when I chose. I still feel like I have done something bad to them.

Have you clipped the wings of your chookies?  How did you feel about it?


  1. We had a huge circus the one night we brought new chickies home - as they have not establish that the coop is safe and we had to chase the one out of the tree when it was already dark. So the next day, wings were promptly clipped. We haven't clipped any of our chickies wings since as they don't really have a reason to fly and I don't think they have figured out to fly over the wall into our vegie patch yet! Thank goodness! We have one coming through the cat door though, but the installation of a flap has ended the destruction for now :)

  2. I watched a YouTube clip to work out how to clip my girls' wings. My son and I gave it a bash when they started flinging themselves around the garden. We clipped only one wing (as recommended) I guess it sort of worked as they flew in circles rather than straight. But it didn't seem to be overly effective for long and I haven't bothered doing them since.

    I remember reading that you need to monitor the cut feathers when it comes time to moulting and you may need to 'help' them to moult. Don't know how true that is - I didn't need to.

    I didn't like doing it at all, I've gotta say. I felt a little like I was mutilating them (though I know it's not at all painful). Instead, I've modified my garden to suit having chooks. Not pretty! I'm not sure if I'll replace them when they have lived their long and happy life. But maybe I will, I do enjoy having them around.



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