How to Clip a Chicken’s Wings

Easy tips for clipping your chicken's wings so they can't fly over your fence.

We have been having fun raising chickens for the first time this year. We bought two different batches of chicks and watched them grow into entertaining young chickens. Our first batch of chickens didn’t try to fly much, but several in our second batch sure did so we needed to find a way to keep them in their pen. Here is how we clipped our chicken’s wings, you too can learn how to clip a chicken’s wings!

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Clipping chicken wings is a very common practice and does not cause any harm at all to your chicken. It just keeps them from being able to fly.

Some people don’t like clipping their chicken’s wings because then they can’t fly to get away from predators.

If your chickens roam around a big area, then this could potentially be an issue, but it can also become an issue if your chicken is flying over a fence to get into the neighbor’s yard.

In our case we raised these chickens from babies along with some baby ducks, and when we separated them outside, the chickens decided to fly over a 6 foot fence to get into the same pen with our ducks.

This isn’t really a big deal, however, they could just as easily get out into the yard. We have two big dogs that would love to get a hold of our chickens (or ducks), so we need to do whatever is necessary to keep the dogs away from our birds.

So all of our birds have their own fenced in area, and the dogs have their own area. We decided that clipping the wings of our chickens would solve the problem of them getting out of their pen.

(Click on the video below to see how easy it is to clip a chicken’s wings!)

It turns out it is really easy to clip a chicken’s wings. All you need is a pair of sharp scissors, and possibly another set of hands to help hold the chicken for you. Have someone hold the chicken for you so that you can spread out one of its wings.

Gently spread out the wing (see video). You will see that the wing is actually separated into two parts, with a smaller feather in the middle separating them. All you have to do is cut the upper wing (farthest away from the body) and the chicken will not be able to fly.

About half way up the wing are some smaller feathers. Trim from the smaller feather in the middle of the wing and trim along the smaller feathers all the way to the outside of the wing.

Some people clip the wings on both sides of the chicken’s body, and some people just clip on one side. Some people think that if you clip only on one side it will cause the chicken to be more unbalanced so that it cannot fly. I decided to only clip on one side and sure enough they quit flying over to visit their duck friends.

If you are worried about what the wing will look like after you cut it, there is no need to worry. After the chicken folds its wing back down you can’t even tell where the feathers are missing. And it doesn’t hurt the chicken at all, there is no blood supply at that point in the feathers. It’s just like cutting your finger nails.

The feathers will grow back eventually, so at some point you will have to clip them again.

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Like this article? Find out how to care for baby ducks.

Complete guide to clipping a chicken's wings to keep your chickens in your backyard.

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