Earlier this week, we discovered one of our hens was missing. Her name is Faster, a name given to her by our oldest son. He choose this name because of how the hen runs. She’s much faster than our other birds and when she runs, she looks like a Road Runner. Our birds have a lot room to range. Their coop is open during the day and inside of our goat pasture, giving them plenty of safe space to free range. At night, all of the birds are led back into the coop and the door is closed for the night. A few nights ago though, we couldn’t find Faster.
Some of the younger hens had recently begun perching on the livestock gate and before long, flying out of the pasture. Because they would always come back at night, we weren’t too worried. Sure, predators are always a concern, but the hens usually stuck pretty close to the pasture and in sight. When it was discovered that Faster was missing, a frantic search began. Luckily we have Smoke, our bird dog. Unfortunately, Smoke wasn’t very interested in finding a chicken so it was up to the family to find her. By the time night came, Faster was still missing and two young boys were sad.
After two long nights, Faster finally returned. She was put back in the coop and we thought all was good. Then the next morning when the chickens were let out to free range, Faster jumped the fence and headed towards the weeds. She was making another break for it. This time we knew she was gone much sooner, giving us an advantage at finding her. After a quick search we found Faster sitting on a nest with ten eggs in it. Faster was brooding, and wanted to do it by herself. I carefully scooped her up and got her back to the pasture. Then we picked up her eggs, put them in the coop, and brought Faster to them.
Now that Faster was home safe, we had to make sure she didn’t fly out again. To do this, we clipped her flight feathers. Chickens have flight feathers and warming feathers. The flight feathers are larger and stick out past the warming feathers. Clipping the flight feathers does not hurt the bird.
To clip the flight feathers, you need a sharp pair of scissors and it’s helpful to have two people. Firmly hold the bird down and spread one of its wings out. You can see the flight feathers sticking out past the warming feathers.
Cut the flight feathers off about halfway. Now the bird will not be able to create lift with that wing. With two people, the entire process takes less than two minutes per bird.
The bird being clipped in these pictures is named Lovey. Peter and Kaley were also there to offer their expertise. As you can see, there’s no trauma to the bird from this experience.
Now that Faster has been clipped, she stays in the pasture and is safe from predators. Hopefully her brooding is successful and her eggs hatch. We have those eggs separated from the others and will be monitoring them and Faster closely. If you have a chicken that keeps flying the coop, you should try clipping their flight feathers. It’s a simple process that anyone can do.
Thank you for visiting this website and for reading this blog. Be sure to check out the other ones too. You can also find Grey Dog Maple Farm on Facebook and Pinterest as well. Share, like, tag, and tell your friends about us. We’re growing and hope you’ll grow with us.