Chickens generally can’t really fly. They can however use their wings to jump and flap up over fences to gain the freedom they so long for. The longest time and distance of chicken flight was 301.5 ft for 13 seconds, which is a remarkable distance. Your average chicken probably won’t manage this, but we still clip our chickens’ wings to prevent them escaping.
Stephanie Croft's Gingernut Ranger loves to hop up onto her Eglu Runs
- You don’t need to worry about clipping your chickens wings, as it's very easy to do and it doesn’t hurt your hens. Just follow our step by step guide and you should be able to foil any escape plans.
- Hold your chicken firmly and stretch out the wing so all the feather are spread. You only want to cut the feathers on one wing to unbalance your chicken when she tries to fly.
- Cut the primary feathers. The primary feathers are the first ten or so feathers on the wing. The diagram below shows where to cut. You only want to cut about 50% of the feathers.
Top Tips: The quills are white where you can cut the feather without hurting the chicken. If the quill is dark this indicates blood vessels. Your chickens’ wings will need clipping every time they moult.
Learn how to safely clip your chickens wings in this tutorial
Stacie, 25 April 2021
Will it hurt them if they are accidentally cut too short? Also will it work if I just trim the ends? I'd hate to cause any pain!
Jamie, 4 April 2016
Has the wing clipping diagram gone somewhere - its not on this page
Martin, 5 January 2012
Very good & easy advice as are all your tips