We have a leghorn hen, Gracie, who has been clucky, and therefore demoted to the bottom of the pecking order by the rest of the big chooks.
She is just starting to break out of her broodiness, and has attempted several times to integrate back into the flock. Her integration is causing lots of fights, because Bunty and her groupies won’t have a bar of it.
So to escape the pecking and fights, Gracie has discovered that her flight feathers have grown back, and that she can escape by flying over the 7 foot fence. Late yesterday afternoon she must have escaped for the second time that day, and led me on a merry chase around the yard. Up on top of the Bantams cage, then a quick flap to the top of Cluckingham Palace, which is right on the fence line to our nice neighbours.
It was too close for comfort, so I grabbed a long stick and coaxed her down and managed to corner her and popped her back into the chook house. The others were roosting so there were no fighting issues.
There is only one real solution and that is for the girls to duke it out and re-establish the pecking order. To do that Gracie needs to stop escaping. So we decided to show Megan how to clip her wings, so that she stays put for a while (until the next moult at least).
All you need is a steady pair of hands, some sharp scissors and a willing participant. Well two out of three anyway!
Whilst Megan took the photos, I held out one of Gracie’s wings, whilst Kim cut off about 5 cm (2 inches) of her flight feathers. You only need to cut the tips of one wing to throw her off balance. There are no nerves or blood vessels in these feathers, so the chicken does not experience pain. Think of it as a chook haircut.
It was all over in less than a minute. Consider it another valuable skill learned, and the disaster of a lost chicken avoided.
Gracie will integrate back into the flock in the next few days. Some times you have to be cruel to be kind.
Have you ever had to clip your chook’s wings?