The time had come, these ladies needed a trim. Which reminds me, I probably need a hair cut too….but that’s beside the point.
I want to let our hens free range, and since we’re only on a third of an acre, and have neighbors every which way, I really wanted to eliminate the risk of these birds flying over fences and into trees…because really, how would I explain that to my 70-something Vietnam Vet neighbor??
Those flight feathers had to go. If I’m going to reap the free-ranging, pest-control benefits of these chickens, that is.
Thanks to Pinterest I found a great post from City Boy Hens, that informed me that the flight feathers are the first 10 feathers on each wing. You only have to trim them once a year – when they molt and grow new feathers this must be done again. All you need are scissors and cornstarch. Scissors for obvious reasons, and cornstarch to stop any bleeding if you trim too much.
I convinced my brother to help me with the task, and my sister-in-law to take pictures, thanks guys!
So, with a pair of scissors and corn starch in hand, we took care o’ business.
These chickens are not used to being handled, and they get stressed out by it. So to aid my brother in holding them, we elected to loosely wrap them in a towel and pull out each wing as needed. It worked really well. We were able to cover their heads with the towel too, which really helps birds in general to calm down.
Next step was to take a wing and hold it firmly, because they try to yank it back. And that could potentially cause problems. Spread out the feathers and…
Start trimming! What I suggest, if you’ve never done this before, is to trim the first feather before just going full blast through the rest. This way, if you’ve trimmed too far up and there is bleeding, you only have to deal with one feather. Luckily, we had no problems, but it’s a practice I think I’ll continue as a precaution.
Once you’ve cut the first ten (I did eleven to be safe!) you’re all done! You do have the option to trim on only one wing, as this will make it very difficult to fly. But I wasn’t taking any chances and trimmed on both wings. These ladies are staying grounded!
This post was shared at…
The Homestead Barn Hop