We spent a few minutes clipping wings this morning. It is an insurance measure since we have been letting the girls out to forage in the yard after our big rain storm hit and they had been spending so much time standing around in the mud. Since they love foraging out in the yard, I worry that they might try to get back in there even when they are closed in the run. The vast majority of the roof of the run is covered in chicken wire but there are a few small spaces where the young ones might be able to get out. Just in case, we clipped all of their wings except the girls who are still in molt.
I have posted a link on how to clip wings previously but this time we had the 10 year old take pictures. This is something that can be done by one person but since Dave was available, I had him do the holding while I did the clipping. It is easiest to do while sitting as your legs can support the chicken underneath while your hands can restrain the rest of the body.
Dave holding Hedwig.
Gabrielle's wing extended. You can see the primary flight feathers are easy to distinguish. They are those first six or so long feathers.
Simply trim the primary flight feathers back using a sharp pair of scissors. This doesn't hurt the chicken at all. Some people only clip one wing but I clip both as I have had birds figure out how to deal with only having one side clipped but none of them have been able to fly well with both sides clipped.
The finished wing.
When the bird is sitting or standing as they normally do with their wings folded, you can't tell that they have been clipped. You only see the clipped feathers when they have their wings extended.
I feel that clipping wings makes our girls safer since they won't be able to fly out into the yard where the dogs would be waiting to eat them. If your birds free-range, clipping wings may not be a great idea as you want them to be able to get away from any predators that they may encounter and having clipped wings will impeded their ability to get away.