Remember that beautiful chicken run that we built a few weeks ago? It's still lovely. The honeysuckle is growing. The chickens are sun bathing. The gardens aren't being eaten.
But there are three…four…or five gangsters that refuse to play by the rules.
They come out. I throw them back in. They come out again. I throw them back and scowl at them. They come out again again. And then I catch them in my salmon net, shout at them for being gangsters, drink a beer, and contemplate my decision to have chickens.
I've waited patiently for them to learn the rules – heck, it's not that hard ladies. Stay inside the chicken run so that the neighbor's dog doesn't eat you. Stay inside so that I don't have to spray you with the water hose to get you out of my tomatoes. Stay inside so that I can find your eggs. Stay inside so that I can eat my first dang homegrown strawberry in two years!
Gangsters. The whole lot of 'em.
So as much as I don't like to alter an animal's… ya know… stuff, I didn't have a choice. I had to clip their wings.
Clipping Chicken Wings
You will need:
– Gloves, if you hate touching poultry
– A gangster chicken
1. Catch the chicken.
This can be the hardest part of the entire ordeal. These chickens, after all, are fast little boogers. And they know when they're being jerks because they'll run away and get all stupid and stuff. Which is when I bust out my salmon net and run around like a crazy drunk person, tripping over sage brush and bashing into the side of the greenhouse while I frantically throw my net out in their general direction. Whatever chicken. You've got it comin to ya.
2. Stick the chicken's head under your armpit.
Make her take a big, deep breath of your armpit and realize just how much trouble she's in. Bah ha. Just kidding. But for reals, stick her head/neck under there.
3. Pull out her wing.
See the big long flight feathers at the end? Those are the feathers that we're going to trim. Just enough so that she can't fly. This doesn't hurt her one bit, at least physically. It might do some sort of psychological damage to her since she can no longer be a unruly vagabond, but I don't really care about that. I care about my cucumbers not having pecked holes in them.
The flight feathers are easy to identify in that their the long feathers on the end, under the line of smaller feathers. Right under those small feathers is where we want to cut, like so:
Ten seconds of work just saved my gardens, and even possibly, the chicken's life. An escaped neighbor dog can do serious damage to a laying hen in no time. And I've become so frustrated with these leghorns that I dare to think what will happen if I catch them in my beans again.
Trimming a chicken's wings: A flock management technique that's taming gangster chickens all over the world.