German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,151 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone trim wings/feathers? if so how much? A friend trimmed them back in September, however my neighbor texted me at work today to inform us that they had to return one to my side of the fence. When I looked them over the previous trim was still evident so I only trimmed about .5-1" .

On a side note I had no idea how tame chickens can be and can see why so many people get hooked on them. My son and daughter have interacted with them often and they're more like regular pets vs farm type animals, weird, but cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Does anyone trim wings/feathers? if so how much? A friend trimmed them back in September, however my neighbor texted me at work today to inform us that they had to return one to my side of the fence. When I looked them over the previous trim was still evident so I only trimmed about .5-1" .

On a side note I had no idea how tame chickens can be and can see why so many people get hooked on them. My son and daughter have interacted with them often and they're more like regular pets vs farm type animals, weird, but cool.
Yes, you can have pet chickens, I have a pile of sweeties. My favourites are my roosters. One guy gets carried to and from the barn every day because the bigger boys pick on him. Nobody picks on me or anyone I'm carrying around. ;)

I personally never pinion my chickens, but I can explain how it's done, I've done many times for friends with escaping birds.

The first 3 longest feathers of the wing--the Primary feathers, need to be cut short, almost to the live part of the wing, where it attaches to the upper wing. Will take at least 6 weeks to grow out. You must make sure the bird isn't moulting, because when feathers are growing they are full of blood in the quill, a bird can bleed to death is that is cut too short at the right time. Then, you have to pull the actual quill, which is like an open straw, where the blood is fed to the growing feather. Once pulled, it will stop bleeding. It doesn't hurt.

Some people leave the first primary feather so it doesn't spoil the chicken's wing shape, others cut that one too. If you only pinion one side, the bird can still go up, but can't fly straight with one short wing, this is usually all that's needed. But 2 is easier. I'll upload a picture in a few minutes to show where you cut. The feather once grown out, is dead like a fingernail so it doesn't hurt. Remember, you have to do this regularly, as feathers grow out quickly. Every 6 weeks is best.

Hang on, will find a picture of someone I own...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Ok, this isn't obviously a chicken, this is Stormy the canary. But feathers are feathers, she's white and I can't draw well on computer, so use some imagination.

The longest feathers on the wings are the primaries and secondaries. They attach at the lower wing. I drew where the upper and lower wing attach. The cross wise line shows how short they primaries need to be cut.

To open the wing, you can easily rub them open like you are opening a ladies fan, with 2 fingers.

Stormy would prefer I not pinion her, she likes being out of the aviary more than in. Trimming her wings would spoil her fun.

Hope that helps--I'm probably the most hands on chicken owner you'll ever hear, if it has feathers, they are my friends. ;) Any questions, shoot me a PM or post here.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,699 Posts
With our chickens, when I was a kid, if we had to trim feathers to keep them in their pen we only trimmed one side. It quickly convinces the chicken that flying is unstable LOL! Believe me, they stop trying quickly!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,151 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm definitely not cutting them short enough, but I was afraid id injure them. We have 5 hens and only one of them is a little uncooperative the others are easy. With the kids handling and hand feeding them they seemed to have grown accustomed to being picked up, they practically mug us when we enter the run.

We had a rooster, however they're not allowed in town so he now resides with a family member. He is not attractive, but he is a character, he reminds me of the rooster from Moana.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
With our chickens, when I was a kid, if we had to trim feathers to keep them in their pen we only trimmed one side. It quickly convinces the chicken that flying is unstable LOL! Believe me, they stop trying quickly!
That AND it causes them to be like a boomerang, with only one side trimmed- they will come around in a circle, ending back where they came from. So, it's a loss for them.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,334 Posts
I also only clip one wing, and even then I only do it when really necessary - new birds that try to go on field trips, broody hens determined to start a family in dangerous places, etc.

These aren’t my photos, they’re from a homesteading website, but this is how I clip wings. Flight primaries only, one wing only, though YMMV if they’re ambitious or stubborn. :)
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,100 Posts
I just got my pullets in May, and I am definintely hooked. Wish I had gotten them sooner! Around half started laying their first eggs about 3 weeks ago...so much fun. I have so many pictures of eggs, it's kind of embarassing if anyone sees them on my phone. It's a good thing I don't have the inclination to build coops, or I'd probably have another 15 chicks on order (or eggs because wouldn't it be fun for the "kids" to get to incubate and hatch eggs). I knew I would enjoy having chickens, but I didn't know quite how much. I thought I was a crazy dog lady. I guess now I am a crazy chicken lady too. :)

My original plan was to clip wings and let the flock free range part of the day, but I ended up having a 62 ft x 20 ft fence built for them and putting bird netting over the top. I don't really trust the GSDs completey around the chickens, and don't yet have a fence around the garden to keep the chickens out, so I prefer to keep them in the run for now.

I don't know if it's true, but I have read (I asked on a backyard chicken forum) that eventually chickens with clipped wings get used to not flying and don't try anymore. Other folks said that their chickens could still flutter over their fences with clipped wings--but I figure that must depend on breed and how the wings are clipped. I used to have parrots when I was young, and we'd clip the wings for safety. There was no way those birds (better flyers than chickens) would get over a fence, but we clipped both wings, which doesn't seem to be as commonly done with chickens. Maybe it's not recommended for parrots anymore either. It's been (cough, cough) some 20 years since I've been up-to-date on parrot keeping.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,151 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the information. By those images I can see I got the correct feathers, but did not remove enough so I will try again.

Coop question, I built my coop on the inside of my garage. I built a 3 walled structure and attached it to an exterior wall with a “doggie “ door for them to access the run. We close them in at night, but I am not using a heat lamp, is a heat source necessary? My chickens are supposed to be cold hardy, Wyandotte’s and Ameracaunas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,100 Posts
From my understanding, chickens don't usually need extra heat if the coop is well-ventilated. But I'm a novice, and our winters are relatively mild, so I'll let the more experienced folks weigh in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
Poultry is awesome! They really add a whole new cool element to your property. I don’t have chickens but have ducks and they are entertaining to watch for sure. I’d definitely miss them if they weren’t around. I’ve never clipped wings, the ducks aren’t good fliers and they know where it’s good. Lol! They’re locked up at night but free range all day. I also have an African grey, I adopted him six years ago and he was accustomed to a life of always having his wings clipped. As a result, he never really learned how to fly and while he prefers to walk around, when he DOES fly it’s scary lol! He has gotten better over the years to where now instead of crash landing every time 9/10 he can land on the perch on top of his cage. But beware even with clipped wings, if a wind gust gets them just right they can still “fly” away out of reach.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Thanks for the information. By those images I can see I got the correct feathers, but did not remove enough so I will try again.

Coop question, I built my coop on the inside of my garage. I built a 3 walled structure and attached it to an exterior wall with a “doggie “ door for them to access the run. We close them in at night, but I am not using a heat lamp, is a heat source necessary? My chickens are supposed to be cold hardy, Wyandotte’s and Ameracaunas.
They hate winter but as long as the coop isn't humid in winter--it needs some ventilation, usually you have to watch big combs and toes to make sure they don't get frostbitten. With Wyandottes and Ameraucanas, they have nice tight pea combs making them good birds in winter. It's those poor layers and the roosters with single combs (leghorns, etc) that tend to really suffer. Putting vaseline or bag balm on wattles and combs when it's super severely cold, will prevent frost bite. But that said, I have a brooder lamp on over the water, and lights on all winter.

I have some very, very ancient Araucanas--12+ years old, that need a little extra to get through the hard cold winter here.

Ensure their perches/roosts are wide enough--like a 2X4 laid on it's side, so they can sit on their feet comfortably in winter.

They will fluff their feathers up, trapping a layer of warm air between body and feathers.

Seriously, when I take the dogs for a walk, I have a train of the geese and chickens behind us, going down the driveway. Brahmas are the biggest sweetest sucky chickens in the world. Super easy to turn into lap chickens, if you're so inclined. I found Wyandottes lovely but bitchy, and never kept Ameraucanas because their very rare parental creators, Araucanas, must never ever be mixed, or it will totally screw up both breeds. Araucanas are tailless, have ear tufts in the Americas (they are allowed beards AND tails in the UK), where in all other places Ameraucanas have tails and beards. Helps prevent that tricky annoying lethal gene that Araucanas have with ear tufts...

Gees you asked what time it was, I told you how to make a watch! Sorry, I love chickens and talking about them. :) lol...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Poultry is awesome! They really add a whole new cool element to your property. I don’t have chickens but have ducks and they are entertaining to watch for sure. I’d definitely miss them if they weren’t around. I’ve never clipped wings, the ducks aren’t good fliers and they know where it’s good. Lol! They’re locked up at night but free range all day. I also have an African grey, I adopted him six years ago and he was accustomed to a life of always having his wings clipped. As a result, he never really learned how to fly and while he prefers to walk around, when he DOES fly it’s scary lol! He has gotten better over the years to where now instead of crash landing every time 9/10 he can land on the perch on top of his cage. But beware even with clipped wings, if a wind gust gets them just right they can still “fly” away out of reach.

I love ducks, we kept a flock of Khaki Campbells for about 10 years, till the foxes got out of control. After there was only one girl left, I got our geese. (And hunted the foxes to extinction)
The geese will take on two German Shepherds if so inclined. The dogs know to stay away from the Great Wall of Goose. Well, Ellie does, Daisy's a determined pup, she keeps going nose to nose with old Alex, but he's sweet, a very old, wise goose. Bruce, Frank and Hank will chase the snot out of her! She knows who to say Hi to and who to avoid. Geese are such a trip...mine are really special because they were my only goslings, really bonded to me, still whisper in a baby-talk voice to me though they are 5 now. But they can be super aggressive during mating season (now and spring).


These are my Brahmas piling on me, the big combed guy flew out of the jaws of a fox twice, got renamed Lucky.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,151 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
They hate winter but as long as the coop isn't humid in winter--it needs some ventilation, usually you have to watch big combs and toes to make sure they don't get frostbitten. With Wyandottes and Ameraucanas, they have nice tight pea combs making them good birds in winter. It's those poor layers and the roosters with single combs (leghorns, etc) that tend to really suffer. Putting vaseline or bag balm on wattles and combs when it's super severely cold, will prevent frost bite. But that said, I have a brooder lamp on over the water, and lights on all winter.

I have some very, very ancient Araucanas--12+ years old, that need a little extra to get through the hard cold winter here.

Ensure their perches/roosts are wide enough--like a 2X4 laid on it's side, so they can sit on their feet comfortably in winter.

They will fluff their feathers up, trapping a layer of warm air between body and feathers.

Seriously, when I take the dogs for a walk, I have a train of the geese and chickens behind us, going down the driveway. Brahmas are the biggest sweetest sucky chickens in the world. Super easy to turn into lap chickens, if you're so inclined. I found Wyandottes lovely but bitchy, and never kept Ameraucanas because their very rare parental creators, Araucanas, must never ever be mixed, or it will totally screw up both breeds. Araucanas are tailless, have ear tufts in the Americas (they are allowed beards AND tails in the UK), where in all other places Ameraucanas have tails and beards. Helps prevent that tricky annoying lethal gene that Araucanas have with ear tufts...

Gees you asked what time it was, I told you how to make a watch! Sorry, I love chickens and talking about them. :) lol...
I think its great that you and others share your knowledge and experiance on these threads. I only have one coworker with "some" knowledge of chickens and they view theirs more from a "livestock" perspective.

We picked up our chickens from a place called north 40 and the selection was somewhat limited. There was a chicken thread from earlier this year and Brahmas were mentioned by several posters, we looked for them, however we came up empty. One of ours is Cochin (?), it's smaller, has feathers on its feet, but still resembles the same color scheme as the Wyandottes. I've considered getting a couple more in spring, however we already have more eggs than we can use, lol!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
I think its great that you and others share your knowledge and experiance on these threads. I only have one coworker with "some" knowledge of chickens and they view theirs more from a "livestock" perspective.

We picked up our chickens from a place called north 40 and the selection was somewhat limited. There was a chicken thread from earlier this year and Brahmas were mentioned by several posters, we looked for them, however we came up empty. One of ours is Cochin (?), it's smaller, has feathers on its feet, but still resembles the same color scheme as the Wyandottes. I've considered getting a couple more in spring, however we already have more eggs than we can use, lol!

The beauty of chickens is they come in sooo many patterns and colours. My friend's Dad had the best Cochins probably in Canada, a well respected and beloved judge, a good Cochin sort of resembles a ball with a head on it. ;)

I'm a feathered foot fanatic, so Silkies and Brahmas have been here for years. Brahmas are awesome but I've found they have short lives compared to my very tough, old Araucanas and Old English Game birds, my oldest died at 14. My Brahmas aren't show quality at all, they are simply good pets and great mothers. We'll always have German Shepherds and I'll always have Brahmas...

I lost my oldest male Brahma this year, he was only 5. 3 of his sisters died before they were 4. To me, that's a short life. I have most of the chicks in the photo still, (they are 4 now) but my 2nd favourite guy didn't survive the winter last year. Almost, but not quite. It's his brother that I carry around, because he's just a cool, funny guy. Waits for me on the doorstep, shows me food like I'm his hen, chuckles and burbles...if you read a thread mentioning Brahmas this year, I might have been involved in it. I get lyrical about chickens.

Extra eggs make good raw food for dogs (make sure they are washed in hot water), and cooked eggs will save any bird that is needing extra protein. I scramble a bunch and feed them back to the birds.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,151 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Wish Daisy was as patient, compliant and laisse faire (leave alone) as Ellie is. We have our work cut out for us...
Ellie just doesn't care who touches her back, me or a chicken taking a ride.
Good girl Ellie! what a great pic! Only Ranger would be that nonchalant around our chickens and even then I doubt he'd stand still for a hitch hiker. Zoey does well, but her "restraint" is a respect thing, she knows they're off limits and leaves them be, however the intrest is still there. Tuke, I'll just say she needs to stay behind the fence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
I have one khaki Campbell, my neighbors had a bunch of ducklings (that they left outside. In the open.) and she was the last one left that didn’t get picked off. I told them I would take her since my pen is part of my barn and totally predator proofed, plus I had my other ducks. She partnered up with my sweet magpie little girl and been doing great since. I also have a saxony and two Pekins, one being a huge drake. I’ve found that the real downside to keeping these critters is their mortality. One duck I raised had his leg ripped clean out of his body from inside the pen, I didn’t think anything could get their “hands” through the opening but I was wrong. I watched the poor thing die, I couldn’t do anything about it. I immediately went out and recovered the pen in three feet high chicken wire.

I also had another saxony duck and not 30 feet in front of us, sitting in the front yard dogs right by us, a hawk dive bombed her. The hawk wasn’t much bigger than she was, I’m not sure exactly what he was thinking. She got up after it (and my Dobe ran down the driveway barking and jumping up at the hawks heels) but the damage was done. She passed a few days later.

Then my other sweet magpie (ive found they are my favorite breed) got hit by a car. Despite these unfortunate events I still can’t imagine not having them. It is such a part of my routine to tend them I’d feel empty without it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
I have one khaki Campbell, my neighbors had a bunch of ducklings (that they left outside. In the open.) and she was the last one left that didn’t get picked off. I told them I would take her since my pen is part of my barn and totally predator proofed, plus I had my other ducks. She partnered up with my sweet magpie little girl and been doing great since. I also have a saxony and two Pekins, one being a huge drake. I’ve found that the real downside to keeping these critters is their mortality. One duck I raised had his leg ripped clean out of his body from inside the pen, I didn’t think anything could get their “hands” through the opening but I was wrong. I watched the poor thing die, I couldn’t do anything about it. I immediately went out and recovered the pen in three feet high chicken wire.

I also had another saxony duck and not 30 feet in front of us, sitting in the front yard dogs right by us, a hawk dive bombed her. The hawk wasn’t much bigger than she was, I’m not sure exactly what he was thinking. She got up after it (and my Dobe ran down the driveway barking and jumping up at the hawks heels) but the damage was done. She passed a few days later.

Then my other sweet magpie (ive found they are my favorite breed) got hit by a car. Despite these unfortunate events I still can’t imagine not having them. It is such a part of my routine to tend them I’d feel empty without it.
I hear you, oh so much. Honestly, the amount of tears I've cried, the graves I've dug and the lengths I went to keep mine all safe...it's the absolutely worst part, how easily they will die. Disease is bad enough--predators are worse. Mama Duck--my last Khaki, was so heartbroken when Papa Duck was killed. I got the goslings right away, but she mourned so hard, she left the property and walked overland to a pond 2 lots over where a wild mallard hung out. :( So, I found the people that took her kids a few years earlier and gave her to them. Hope she lived a fox free life...

But aerial attacks, there's little you can do unless you cover your runs.

I heard a shriek one night--opened the door to see a Great horned owl (freaking HUGE!) by our the house door, with a hen in his talons who got caught outside laying an egg, and came to the house door light--he looked me right in the eye and flew away with her! I felt so helpless. But in a freakish twist--2 days later, she came hopping home, with a broken leg, dragging a wing and talon rakes on her side, he must have dropped her some distance away. I put her back together, and she recovered. But the wins are few when it comes to winged predators. Usually they win.

Some hawks will leave a grisly calling card--they'll leave the breastbone and wings attached, somewhere, we found them once on a fence post. Had to ask the trapper about that one.
We actually feed the crows and ravens, they get all the left over eggs-- in return, the crows and ravens will scream alarm if another predator is seen, and they'll harass hawks and eagles right out of the area.
Be nice to the Corvids (crows and ravens both), they'll be nice to you. ;) (Ducklings being the exception. Hard to prevent them from wanting to take wiggly baby ducks, I never let them raise any.)

The biggest problem here is usually the 4 legged variety, foxes, dogs, coyotes, cats, raccoon, weasels, even the occasional fisher--everything wants to kill chickens and ducks. It's the worst part of poultry ownership.

While looking through my photos, I came upon 2 chicks--who became and are, 2 favourites. Left foot is "Shoey", so named because she spent so much time on my feet. On the right shoe's my boy Flopsy as a little gaffer. They are still the same, only older and much bigger.

This particular batch of chicks were incubated by me, but my broody Mother-of-Millions (RIP this summer) sat in a blue tub- like this one, clucking to the eggs beside the incubator for 3 days, while they pipped the aircells and started to hatch in my office. As they hatched, got inspected and dried up, I gave them to her. She couldn't have covered 33 eggs and I didn't want to lose any. She and I successfully hatched all 33 chicks, she brooded every one till about 10 weeks later.

Same adolescent birds, when given the opportunity, would hop in another blue tub and smoosh themselves in, after they were weaned from her, but not from me. Comfort I guess.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
I actually adore crows/ravens. I know they have tight knit families and are very smart. Id never shoot one of them.

My duck pen is covered top to bottom, no open canopies here. But that’s just at night, I let them free range during the day.

Your chickens are adorable, I wish mine were as friendly!
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top