9 Guidelines to Clip Chicken Wings (with Pictures)

Are you wondering about how to clip chicken wings but uncertain if you need to do so? Sometimes, it may be essential to restrict a chicken’s capacity to fly, and wing clipping is one method of accomplishing it.

You should first carefully evaluate your decision since the drawbacks are significant. But when performed correctly, wing clipping is a painless and straightforward procedure.

This article will cover

  • How To Clip Chicken Wings?
  • Is Clipping Chicken Wings Necessary?
  • The Right Way To Clip Chicken Wings
  • Why You Should Clip your Chicken’s Wings?
  • Tips How to Clip Chicken Wings

How To Clip Chicken Wings?

When raising a flock, many decisions takes some time to think, and one of those hard decisions is either to clip or not to clip the wings of your chicken. Though clipping the wings is neither harmful nor painful to your chicken, how to clip chicken wings is usually the last option to solve an issue.

While many chicken owners know how to clip chicken wings, most of them still believe in preserving as much of the chicken’s original condition as possible. Chicken wings may occasionally require clipping. Whichever ideology you follow, here are a few things to ponder as you select the best choice for your chickens.

clip chicken wings

Is Clipping Chicken Wings Necessary?

The reason behind this is because chickens fly. They do not fly like other birds; high, fast, and can stay mid-air for a couple of minutes, but they can fly. They are capable of crossing fences, which is where they sometimes get themselves into trouble or danger.

For many flock owners, a fence serves the dual purpose of keeping predators and other hazards outside and chickens inside. Furthermore, if the chickens escape over the barrier and out of the secure area, the fence is rendered ineffective in protecting them.

Some chicken housing techniques eliminate the need to clip the wings. For instance, some structures are enclosed. It inhibits air and ground predators from entering the fence and stops the chickens from fleeing. There is no reason to contemplate cutting your chickens’ wings if kept in a protected enclosure.

Another possibility chickens’ wings might not require clipping; if they are not confined at all. If they are free-range — if they are let out of the chicken coop at dawn and permitted to enjoy their days wandering anywhere their hearts want — there is no logical need to prevent them from a flight.

Indeed, free-range chickens benefit from having both wings functioning since this enables them to fly away from harm to nearby trees and other tall structures when attacked. Additionally, chickens kept inside unless directly supervised by people do not require wing clipping.

There is no natural explanation for why chickens should not fly. Nature has endowed them with robust and compact bones that are uniquely linked together for added power and suited to their needs.

The Right Way To Clip Chicken Wings

Once you’ve captured your chicken, carefully turn it sideways for a bit of time to assist with its relaxation. Keep it firmly beneath your arm; make sure the feet and beaks are facing outward from you. Wrapping them securely with a towel can help to calm the chicken and prevent you from getting scratches. Below are some straightforward procedures on how to clip chicken wings.

First, ensure you have these types of equipment before the procedure:

  1. Towel: to help secure the chicken comfortably
  2. Scissors: with a rounded tip and must have sharp blades
  3. First Aid Kit: in case you accidentally went too far on the wings
  4. Cornstarch: this can also aid to stop the bleeding

Spread and expose the wing feathers

how to clip chickens wings

Select one wing of each chicken, either left or right, to make it easy to recognize which chicken has already clipped. Any side of the chicken is alright; pick one for your entire flock. Gently spread the wing out to locate the primary feathers.

Ensure that you clip only the wings. You want to avoid severing any bone, skin, or blood artery. Make sure to prevent causing harm to the chicken. Clip the feathers along the entire length of the wing.

One at a time till you finish all the primary feathers. You’ll be clipping around ten primary feathers. It may seem not very comforting at first, but with experience, you will feel a lot more comfortable. It is not required to clip both wings of your chicken. It will redistribute their weight evenly, and they may be capable of flying, although briefly.

Clip the wing feathers gently with sharp scissors

how to clip a chicken's wings

Clip only the primary wing feathers all the way down to the point where the secondary feathers begin. Allow the chicken to calm down for a minute before gently releasing. Proceed with the remaining chickens, clipping the same side each round.

how do you clip a chicken's wings

This condition will persist just until the chicken’s next molt, where the feathers start to grow again. At that point, the majority of chickens will abandon their attempts to fly. But, if you have a very obstinate chicken, you may feel the need to redo this procedure each time to ensure their safety.

Why You Should Clip your Chicken’s Wings?

Keeping a backyard flock ensures that you get delicious fresh eggs. They need minimal maintenance; all they want is clean water, nutritious food, and a secure and comfortable spot to sleep and lay eggs.

Sadly for some chicken owners, maintaining chickens in their proper habitat may not frequently be simple. Chickens, being usually curious creatures, are unaware of the laws of the fence and even other boundaries. Flying out over the fence may appear to them to be a brilliant idea.

When chickens are fully feathered, they are capable of flying.  They can fly for approximately 13 ft. long and about 6 ft. or higher above the ground. It’s not that long and high, but it is enough to cross a six-foot fence.

how do you clip chicken wings

One approach to resolve this issue is learning how to clip chicken wings. Chicken wings are composed of a variety of feathers, ranging from primary to secondary. Chickens with one wing cut are incapable of balancing correctly off-ground.

This process won’t hurt them. It’s comparable to when you cut your nails or hair. Unless you get it too far into their wings, there will be no discomfort or blood loss, including a fully matured hen.

While you may begin trimming chicken wings anytime you want, it is generally preferable to do so before the flying skill grows to an issue. It implies that it is preferable to clip a non-flying chicken under six months old before it attempts to fly over the fence. They will adjust more quickly as they get older.

Assess the breed first before deciding to clip its wings. Heavier chicken breeds, like Orpingtons, Brahma, or Jersey Giants, may not require any wing clipping at all. They may be unable to get themselves off the ground and cross fences by flying due to their weight and size.

Your best prospects will be the smaller and lighter breeds. Any chicken that regularly escapes by flying, regardless of its breed, and causes any trouble to neighbors’ property or puts itself at risk is likewise a potential candidate for wing clipping.

Tips How to Clip Chicken Wings

how to clip a chickens wings

Numerous backyard flock owners do clip chicken wings to restrict them from flying and maintain group cohesion. You probably witnessed that one special chicken fly away joyfully, looking more like a migratory bird than your favorite fowl.

Although this prospect of cutting may seem intimidating, with appropriate knowledge and proper handling, you can easily accomplish this. Here are some simple tips that can guide you and your chicken throughout the procedure.

  • Do not be concerned that you are cruel to your beloved fowl – your chicken shall feel no pain.  It’s like you trim your hair or nails.
  • Hold your chicken gently, you might not hurt them by clipping, but you can squeeze and hurt them if you hold them too tight and roughly.
  • Look for assistance. It is advantageous and easier to have somebody hold your chicken as you clip the wing feather since your feathery buddy is likely to be wiggling and want to be free.
  • Please don’t be too nervous, as it might cause accidents during the procedure and could injure your chicken.
  • What feathers are alright to clip? Open one of your bird’s wings, ultimately spread. Clip only the primary flight feathers; the primary flight feathers are the wing’s thickest and longest feathers. Usually, chickens possess ten or more of them, each of which has a distinct color.
  • It is not good to clip both wings, just one. Clipping both wings is pointless since cutting one puts your chicken at a significant deficit due to its imbalanced state when it attempts to take off.
  • Bear in mind that clipping your birds’ wings is a temporary remedy. Whenever they molt again, your feathered buddy will develop an entirely fresh batch of flight feathers! However, do not worry; next time you need to perform the procedure again, you will undoubtedly be an expert.
  • After releasing them, give them delicious treats as a reward for a successful wing clipping procedure.
  • Clip only the primary wing feathers; about 2½ centimeters form the tips of the short feathers at the bottom of the wing. Do not include the secondary wing feathers.


Now you know how to clip chicken wings, the whys, the reasons, and the tips. You must also know that you must only do this to your chickens that consistently tend to fly. It is not necessary for well-behaved birds. This process is straightforward and requires just a couple of minutes.


clipping chicken wings

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