Cutting Flight Feathers

Those are the flight feathers from the left wings of 64 poulets – 32 Araucana chickens which lay the colorful blue eggs, 29 Rhode Island Reds, two Buff Orpingtons and one White Oprington. They are now six weeks old and we disassembled their brooder so they could have the run of the garden shed. In the process we clipped the flight feathers so they will not learn to fly. I find that if we cut the feathers once or twice, basically keeping them flightless for the first year, they never learn to fly. When the feathers grow back in after their first adult molt they are too big to fly well so I don’t have to keep clipping.

This is an effective and painless way of controlling where poultry can and can not go. It keeps the chickens in the garden corals for the winter and early spring until I’m ready to let them out on pasture. It keeps them out of the gardens once our seeds are planted and tender seedlings are growing. The garden corrals have 3′ and 4′ fences of woven wire or chicken wire around them which is too high for the birds to jump without some serious wing work.

“My goal in life is to be the person my dog thinks I am.” -?

30°F/15°F, 3″ Snow, Partly Sunny


About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Cutting Flight Feathers

  1. P.V. says:

    That is a beautiful pic! How do you ever get so many great ones!??!? I bought the fujifilm camera you wrote about but I still dont get the wonderful pics you get. Youre reallly good.

  2. A big part of getting great photos is simply being there and having a camera handy. That is part of what I love about the Fuji FinePix E900 – It is so tiny that I can take it with me everywhere (except in the shower).

    For every great shot I get there are a dozen or more okay shots and then a bunch of junk shots. You hopefully never see my junk. :) This is the beauty of digital – I can just throw away the junk, it doesn’t cost film or developing. It doesn’t waste resources and I get to learn from my mistakes with rapid feedback.

    Every day after you have taken shots go through them and look at the images with a critical eye. Notice what settings in the camera and lighting conditions caused good and bad shots. In time you learn to do better. I use GraphicConverter on the Mac which lets me easily flip through the images looking at the EXIM data as well as the image on screen. There are many other programs that work for this too.

    Play with the camera, explore the settings, discover what works and what doesn’t. Have fun and congrats on your new camera!



  3. Urban Agrarian says:

    All those feathers look like the beginnings of an arts and crafts project or next years Halloween costume or something else interesting.

  4. patina says:

    what do you do with the feathers? the first thought that came to mind was how wonderful they would be as a trade item with native american artisans. i picked up a roadkill roaster (beautiful fighting cock) and plucked it, traded the feathers. i keep my eye open for good pelts and feathers on the road. hate to see them rot and go to waste.

  5. I don’t clip feathers, but if I did, I would only clip one wing. That way they could only fly in a circle — but it would be enough to potentially allow them to escape a predator.

    We don’t have LGDs and in the warm months sometimes have wolves or other predators attack during the day.

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